Right now, I'm working on a large triple portrait made up of two spaniels and a boxer; if you follow my Facebook or Instagram, you will have seen the WIP photos. The boxer is a glorious colour, a mix of russet, chestnut and *ahem* ginger and I've spent quite a bit of time layering lots of different shades up to recreate the glossy coat. I have to admit, after drawing about a quarter of his face, I began to feel unhappy with the effect the colours had produced. I had to step back and have an umm and ahh for a few minutes before I decided that the fur was coming across too yellow-it needed a red tone to balance things out.
I had been using these three shades as my main colours up until that point and had planned on the Burnt Siena (right) being red enough to make it work.
So I decided to break in a brand new shade (pause for gasps of excitment!) Yes folks, I'm living on the edge! I got a new tin of Polychromos for Christmas which, as well as containing my tried and tested favourites, had lots of new colours to try out too and it was one of these that ended up being my saviour in this case.
The pencil on the right again is called Venetian Red (what a lovely name, don't you think?!) and I initially thought it looked a little too pink to work, but it turns out that's exactly what was needed. One I started working that into my layers, the overall colour of the fur came to look exactly as I wanted; a much more realistic interpretation of the original photo. I do so love it when a plan comes together :-)
It's always a pleasant surprise when colours I wouldn't have considered using at the beginning suddenly turn everything around and heading in the right direction. Layering deep blues and violets underneath brown and black to create a really glossy black coat or adding a little pale blue to the twinkle in the eye, they're all things I'm picking up constantly and applying other pieces. You never stop learning; that's what is so exciting about being an artist!