“Grateful Rescues”

"Grateful Rescues"
by Robert Leedy
watercolor on Fabriano Artistico 300 lb. Cold Press paper
18 3/4" x 18 3/4"

Private Collection
Santa Rosa, California

Here's a recent commission I just finished. I worked from an iPhone photo sent by the client. The dogs - Greyhounds, or Sighthounds, as I was told -  were in cool foreground light and backlit by warm, late afternoon sunlight. I eliminated extraneous detail such as separate collared leashes and buildings in the background.

My goal was to work with a limited palette and play up the temperature differences that might suggest a cool, winter afternoon. In the end, though I limited my palette somewhat (very hard for me to do), I wanted to celebrate the dogs and I did it with color. My version of the dogs might be a bit more colorful than the real ones but I had so much fun glazing the pinks of the dogs' ears and their bellies. I also played with complementary colors. 

The choke collars they wore seemed very unique to me so, I went onto Pinterest and searched "greyhound collars". My hunch was confirmed and apparently, there are special collars available. I thought the designs would add to the interest of the painting and searched collar designs until I found patterns I liked. The danger here is that too much attention to the detail of the collars can take away from the overall painting though including them is a nice nod to Greyhound owners who I am sure are very familiar with them.

I am a dog lover. As I painted these sweet dogs, I felt their personalities come through. I imagined what their names might be and I even made a bet with myself that the older one in the middle was the alpha of the three.  The middle dog is also the largest - and most likely male - but I felt a female presence. I would love to meet these pups one day...

The painting was a joy to create. And the client was thrilled. 
Here is a progressive video of the painting. There are only 12 sequences to it – it is terribly hard to interrupt oneself while deeply ensconced in a painting!

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