Winter sledding- capturing movement.

I’m having a bit of a snow theme lately with my commission work! My client asked me to capture the excitement and movement in this winter sledding scene.  It was a bit of a challenge for me as I’ve only ever painted dogs once before….but then that’s one of the reasons I do commission work– for the challenge of subjects outside my usual comfort zone!

Creating movement

As with any painting I can see areas that are less than perfect but there are also passages I’m quietly pleased with. I like the sense of movement from the different leg positions of the running dogs, the way the fur on the lead dog is being swept back by the wind and the lolling tongues that suggest they’ve been running hard. The lead husky looks a bit wolf like but that’s really how he looked in the reference photos!

Huskies in harness
Huskies in harness

Research always helps

I did a bit of research on husky sled harnesses so I could understand how the harness wrapped around their bodies as it was difficult to tell in the reference photo – this really made it easier to paint the fur as it moved around and over the harness.

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I was saved the problem of painting facial likeness by the fantastic reflective visors! I like the way the man is leaning as they round the corner – it helps that feeling of movement. I added the flakes of falling snow for another touch of movement and a feeling of cold and fun as they sled through the swirling snow.

Practice makes perfect

So now I’m going to practice some dog portraits – I’m determined to get better! A workmate has clumber spaniels and St Bernards so I’ve offered her a portrait if she will give me an honest critique. I wonder how that will go?

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