If you have never painted people (figures, NOT portraits) it adds a lot of interest to your paintings! Statistics show that paintings with people sell faster and often for more money!  It personalizes the painting so that viewers feel a connection, especially if the figures are doing something the buyers have done in their life.  Examples are fishing, walking in the rain, eating, playing with animals, etc.  The figures don't even need to be recognizable, just a suggestion of people is often all that's needed to make a big difference in your painting.

     I am working on paintings for an Art Show in Kentucky coming up mid September. Most of the paintings I am doing are nostalgic.  These paintings are well liked and many remind me of Kentucky where I lived for many years.  It is a beautiful state and of course they are known for their horses!  Yes, I do have horse paintings that I am taking, but mostly they are farm scenes, people and fishing!

     The painting I am working on is of a little boy and his dog heading down to the farm pond to do some fishing.  He is wearing a big straw hat for the sun, and his pole and bait bucket are in his hands.  The background is impressionistic while he and the dog are more realistic,  but overall I want the scene to look  nostalgic.  I am working on an 11 x 14 canvas as these are more likely to sell, and for much less than very large paintings obviously.  I will be taking a couple large ones, but the majority will be smaller in size.  The series of photos are below.  Enjoy!

finished painting

I painted in the background and the pond and roughed in the boy and dog.  I played with his hair giving him curls.  I realized later that my pond is too small and not level, a big NO-NO!  I do like the general shape of my dog and the hat though.

I started refining the dog, boy and hat and adding highlights on his hair. Shadows are needed for the dog and refine the ones for the trees and the boy. And, I still need to fix that water!

I added the shadow of the dog but after I looked at it for a while it didn't look right to me.  On that note, I realized I was tired so put down my brushes until the next day.  Never paint tired!  Yes, the water still needs fixed...

Yay, I fixed the water!  It is now level and larger.  I also worked on the dog's shadow and added the boy's fishing pole.  The grass is looking better as well as all the shadows for the trees and the boy.  At this point, I usually let a painting set for a few days to see if I need to make any more corrections, but I can already see a few things that need to be worked on... tomorrow!

Ok, I have finally finished this painting.  I had to decide just what details I would have in the foreground.  Once I made up my mind it was much faster going.  I added grass, pebbles, and a fence on the left.  Oh, and I fixed the water making it look more watery, and for fun I added a couple of worms trying to get out of the bucket!  There is a close up photo of the pebbles and worms.  You will notice that the background is impressionistic and from the boy forward is very realistic.  I like the look!  If you do this, be sure you create a smooth transition.

14 x 11

It is easy to get these pebbles.  You don't have to paint each one.  Instead dip an old toothbrush into 2 or 3 colors (very watery) and splatter onto the desired area being careful not to get splatter on unwanted areas. (I held a sheet of paper over the boy and dog) Then I went in with a script liner brush and darkened a few spots to make some of the splatters look like larger rocks!  So easy, BUT, I would practice this a few times before trying it on a good painting!  Also, I'd splatter once or twice on a practice board in case any large lumps are on the toothbrush.  Have fun trying this technique,  you'll love it!  Oh, and you can use this the same technique for falling snow too!

     Below is another painting that I added figures to.  These are more suggestions like I mentioned at the first.  It is really just a touch of color with a script liner and the viewer's eye will finish it!

11 x 14

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