Scroll down to see the process of creating a small format painting.
I use a grid technique to transfer what I see in the digital photo to the painting surface. In this case I have primed a canvas panel with gesso and an abstract color mixture that sets up the background tones and texture.
For small paintings it's enough to use two grid lines, for larger works I would make as many divisions as necessary to make it easier to accurately reproduce my reference image or drawing onto the painting surface. I use a simple block in with charcoal to define the subject.
Here the painting is completely blocked in and I'm beginning to add detail to eyes, scarf and feet. Since the reference photo I'm using for the pose is not in focus, is of low resolution and the color is skewed by indoor lighting, I am using additional references to help me fill in the blanks.
Here the painting is nearly finished.
A note about references for small paintings.....
Especially when painting an animal that has passed away, it's rare for me to have excellent photo references to work from. In most cases images are small, out of focus and off color due to flash or inside lighting. While this is not ideal, I have found that trusting my artistic instincts to fill in the blanks can be remarkably successful in capturing the living spirit of the animal. I often ask my client to describe the subject to me in words. Knowing what they remember most about looks and also about personality is extremely helpful as I paint. The truth is that for posthumous works, I'm really painting a memory as much as the actual subject.
Here is a color correct version of the painting.
8"x6" acrylic on canvas panel.
For examples of small format paintings, click on my Daily Paintworks Gallery.