Hi.  I just started painting 2 days ago with my first attempt at an acrylic painting.  With the help of my mom, I found that I was able to work through a few difficulties, but there is so much to learn!  I look forward to learning as much as I can!  Thank you for any comments or advice! This is a 9 x 9 inch acrylic on paper.  Here is my reference photo:

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Ken - welcome to Karen's site!

I would have been very pleased had my first attempt at painting looked as nice as this.  Just shows the value of a good teacher and mentor!  There are two things I would note;  Mom may already have mentioned them.

The red collar matches the disc and ties the two together, but also serves to emphasize the proportions of the head and neck relative to the rest of the body, the latter being somewhat undersized.

Along the edges, there are a few areas where the paint has seeped under the tape and left a "smudge".  If you seal the inner edge of the tape with gloss or matte medium before starting to paint, the leakage will be prevented and a nice straight line will result. 

I like your choice of background colour, and you have done a very fine job overall.  Thanks for sharing, and I hope we will see lots more in the future. 


Hi Ken, You are on your way to an excellent painting first one or otherwise. Impressed!  You have come to the right place for good advice. I hope you are able to get all the dog in, needs a bit more detail around the face to make it come alive. 

Hi Ken!

And welcome! You are very lucky to have such a talented and thoughtful mom! And she must be very excited to see that you are showing interest in painting! What a great thing to have in common :)

You have done a really excellent job with your textures here, your shadow work is lovely. I can tell you have a bold approach to your brushwork. Just starting out you already have an eye for values. Such a great first painting! I can't wait to see more from you :)

I wouldn't be worried about perfection on your first painting, you will have lots of time to master the skills! You have captured his excitement and personality!

I would say you might benefit from taking some time to really study your proportions. Get yourself a sketch pad and draw, draw, draw.  Some things that help with drawing are to always compare. Compare relative sizes. His front leg to his back leg. The length of his neck to the length of his head. The width of his head to the length of his head - like that. Artists like to use their brush or pencil - hold it up to one element - say your front leg - put the tip on one end, hold your thumb to denote the distance to the other end. Now compare that distance to the length of your back leg. Is the front leg the same length? Twice as long? 1.5 times as long? Do this on the photo and on the painting. Do you see how your front leg is proportionally too long in your painting?

Hold your brush vertically - note where the legs end in comparison to the nose, where the chest is on a vertical to his ear. That kind of thing - you can do that with horizontals as well.

You can establish a unit of measurement - say the length of his ear. Now you can compare - how many ear lengths should his leg be? How many ear lengths should the width of his neck be?

Another tool is to compare the angles and shapes formed by the elements - the negative space. Look at the shapes of the space around the object. For example the shape formed by the bottom of his head, his chest, and his front leg.

Anyway, awesome job Ken! Such a great first attempt :) Hope to see more soon!

Thank you Charles and John for the great advice.  Karen your advice is really true, the amount of time spent calculating the correct distance and scale was a little lacking.  This was kind of done fast and loose in other words.  I kind of have to get the drawing skills sharpened up.  I'm looking forward to implementing your advice in my next painting.

Wow Ken this painting is awesome! I would never even believe it was your first one! i can say that you have a very observing eye your painting has so many details, great job.The only negative thing that I see is the size of the head it is slightly bigger than it should be. But who cares this is your first panting and it s a great one! 


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