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Here is a painting I did of my little dog, Tucker. I did create this fully from life. Oh my what a task. I just wanted to see if I could do it. It took two evenings, of course, because he kept moving. The first night I followed him around and gestured all the different poses in. Did you know that dogs assume the same positions over and over again and that all I needed to do was be patient and he’d sit or lay down the same way again?  So, the next night, I just had to wait for him and keep misting my paints until I could quickly describe his form.

The other thing I wanted to do was design the white spaces so this would be a vignette like Judi Whitton describes in her book, Loosen up your Watercolours.  A vignette is a piece where you don’t paint  all the white.  The white space that the artist leaves should enhance the piece and be part of the design. The artist is supposed to make sure that several of the edges have paint contacting a portion of them as I have done here. I would like to do more of these. Another artist that does a really good job of fading his paintings into white space is John Lovett. It’s not that easy to do.


  1. Oh, how I envy your patience…cool concept, worked out well, as usual..

  2. Nice Leslie – I like your project approach to developing your skills – It seems you read and test concepts – Your insight about dogs assuming the same positions is neat – that’s what you get for looking – thanks for sharing

    • Hi Stephen. Yes. I have to explore all interesting techniques and I believe in trying them out before introducing them to my students. They constantly challenge me to be receptive to different approaches, visions, and supplies. I wouldn’t be much of a teacher if I only taught “my way or the highway”. Thank-you for the compliment!

  3. Tucker is a cutie! It’s amazing how you got the four poses to work in the vignette style. Very nice!!!! (now please give Tucker a cookie for me)

    • I gave him a cookie for you. Funny you should say that about him. Of my three little dogs, he’s always the hungriest! ALWAYS STARVING!

  4. it’s a wonderful painting and great exercise!

  5. This is wonderful! I used to have a cat named Tucker. I do like that technique very much, with the white. You did it very well.

    • Thanks, Beth. Have you ever tried a vignette? Some people can just whip them off and they look great every time. I think they are challenging.

      • No, I haven’t…. but today may be the day. I’m off to go google vignette.

  6. Love the white highlghts; Winslow Homer was another watercolorist who employed that technique.

    Years ago, I drew a friend’s dog and got him to pose quietly by setting a bowl of popcorn next to me. (And yes, I did reward him!)

    • Thanks, Tom. I did not know that about Homer but he is one of my favorites. Popcorn.I’d have little Tucker in the same pose the whole time (the begging one ).

  7. I love that you are always challenging yourself, and therefore your students. Trying new things and encouraging them to do so as well. You must be a wonderful teacher.

    I am quite the sucker for dogs. I have 4, myself. Tucker is such a cutie pie.

    • Thank-you for this compliment. Slowly in the past four years, the teaching and the creating have begun to work together. It has been a very rewarding journey, so far.

      I know about your Dakota! That prompted me to contact you. I felt so bad for the two of you!

  8. Oh these are very good Leslie – please do some more vignettes! The way the colours run into each other gives the poses a fluffiness and softeness. I never knew about dogs resuming the same position – the patient artist is well rewarded!

    • Thank-you, Lynda. I do need to do more of these vignette type paintings. They are fun and would develop my composition skills . I don’t know why I haven’t done more of them.

  9. How the h-e. double L tooth picks did I ever miss this post. Oops! sorry I see why now. is was back in 2009 before I knew you. But I’m so glad you linked this post to me. I would love to do a watercolor of my little one.
    I love the way you got all these positions of her. You have so much patients, which I need more of, but am almost chicken to pray for….you know what He will do if I…God will try me regularly.
    I love the choice of colors you used in this too. And the painting as a whole looks as though Tucker is in motion. I love everything about it!

    • I think I was working on something else, also, Debbie. I would set this up on something and grab it whenever he held a position for awhile. If I sat with the paper, constant, I couldn’t have fooled him. He would have known I was concentrating on him and be trying to get in my lap. He is an all white dog. I don’t think I ruined that by giving him color. I think you can paint anything the colors you choose to. Thank you for your comment! …and have fun when you do try this. It took me several attempts to get one I liked.

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By I Love Lucy « Leslie White on 18 Mar 2010 at 10:05 am

    […] my room mate, Lucy. You have met the other two already. They are Tucker found here and Payton found here. You might say I live in the dogs’ house most […]

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