Acrylic on 20X24' stretched canvas.  This is my painting of "Charley The Toy Poodle" This is a commission (my first) of this lovable little pooch.  It's a departure from my regular landscapes and seascapes as I venture into new territory for me...animal portraits. My palette: Liquitex Heavy Body Cerulean Blue, Raw Umber, Brown Umber, Burnt Sienna, Ecru, Mars Black, and of course, Titanium White.  And Glaze.

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Nice job Mike!

The fur looks soft. I just want to pet his little head! You did a great job and I'm sure your collector will be very happy with it!

Here's a couple of things I noticed.

Its a tough image with the pillow like thing in the front. It's hard to know what that is to the viewer. I do like that you gave it some cool color to add some color interest. I probably would have left it out and just continued the curtain to the ground

The curtain is the same colors as the dog, what do you think, does that compete a bit too much? I do see in the photo that the right edge of the curtain is more in shadow. That makes a softer transition so you don't have that strong line of light curtain against dark background that is so near to the dog's nose.

If that edge of the curtain were darker, gradating to light and then back to dark at the left edge it might be more interesting?

Your shadow colors on the dog are pretty warm, a cooler tone might read more like shadows. To me the brownish areas look like markings in the fur instead of shadows.... Remember - warm light, cool shadows.

I also think you could push those shadows a bit darker, especially on the back. See how close in value that background is to the back of the dog? This creates a softer, more integrated feel of the dog to the background. You did that down toward his tail as the background gets lighter there, nice!

That large blank area in the upper right is tough! You did great with the strokes of red to try to make some interest back there. With so little color overall in the image, I probably would not have chosen black back there. The dark value is great though! Maybe some dark blues or purples? I'm not sure.

Overall you don't want the other elements to compete with the puppy, and you did a great job keeping those elements more loose and sketchy.

Hope that helps! Thanks for posting Mike! I always enjoy seeing your projects and watching you grow!

Thanks for the tips Karen.  I couldn't remove the "pillow" but I did diminish it somewhat.  I made backdrop more "interesting" by using a mix of ultrmarine blue, red, and diox purple to make a "blackish" backdrop.  I like it a lot better.  I also gradated the lacy curtains with different colors than poochie's.  Oh, and I melded the dog's back into the backdrop too.  I like it a lot better.

I didn't expect a critique so soon as I know how busy you are with gallery shows.  I hope it went well for you and you managed to make it worth your while.  Take care.

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