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painting step by step : advices, tips and tricks by a professional

"Study of Whites in watercolor"
Author: Cyrille_Jubert,

"Study of Whites: The Pack of Hounds"

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The dog in the middle was a problem for me because I could not paint just the head.. I had to paint the head and the body at the same time, wet on wet. I waited to do it that my confidence in me was strong enough. The front part of the body was full of light, and the side rather dark. So the light was painted very wet with my clearest "juice", and the shadows with the most concentrated paint on a just humid paper.


To paint the back paws, I add to my previous juice a new color, burnt umber. I used the exact formula as before, a light watery juice and a dense one. I dampened my paper on the back paws, but not too much, and waited until the paper started to dry on the darker parts. If I want to go darker and darker,
I can paint again on the same parts many times. It is possible if the precedent layer is perfectly dry. Wet the part to painted again, and a bit of the surrounding lighter areas before you add an additional glaze. If you are attentive, you will notice on the edge a rustle of pigments on the line of your wet edge. This is not a problem. You can use one of your large sharp-pointed paint brushes, a #3, dampen it in your limpid water glass, aspirate the brush so it will suck the paint up and just erase the line.

With this dark juice, I painted the mouths, using cobalt blue for the reflection on the lips. I strengthened the shade of the ears, and then drew a few details.
To give a laying to the subjects, I used ochre on the soil to stay in the same palette. The shadows are painted over the ochre layer, with the darker juice of the dog's paws. I painted a few details of the feet. It is always important to tie the dogs to the soil by their claws. You don't need to paint all the subject with the same realism. A few details could be enough.
When you have painted details dry on dry, if you move backwards to have a general look on your picture, these details will often be too sharp, too evident. To avoid this, when all the details are painted and very dry, you can take a very large paintbrush, size 5, and delicately add water on the surface. It will give the light necessary blur to tighten the whole subject.
My purpose here was not to be hyper-realistic. I wanted to be true but sober, mainly decorative. So I did not paint the shadows of the furs in details. The soil is sober too, just indicating the sense of the light.
I used golden ink for the background. This golden background, for me, moves the dogs away from the realm of the hunting universe and brings them into pure painting research. It could be viewed as an "Art-deco" or Japanese style.
This gold ink is not so easy to use. I damped my paper to lay the gold, but waited until my paper was nearly dry to paint. I was very carefull to have horizontal lines with my paint-brush, using very little water in my brush. If you have too much water, the golden pigments float and fall on the external side of the drops, making golden lines outside and empty brush-strokes in between. This took me a lot of practice to get the technique down.
When my grandmother was a young girl around 1910, she heard one of her mother's maids, standing in ecstasy in front of a photo of Nicolas II, saying : " Oh Madame, the beard is really the frame of a man's face " The truth of that time is not today's truth, don't you think?

I just wanted to introduce the subject of framing. Most of the artists don't make an effort with framing. Many feel that a minimalist frame will not divert from the painting itself. If this was true, women would never buy a dress and never go to the hair-dresser. Think about that! Before my very first exhibition, I worked a lot on each painting, searching for the best color of mat to surround the paintings. I also looked for filets and coloured wooden frames. At the end, it was terrible to mix them on the same wall.
On the varnishing day, my god-father, who was the chief inspector of historical monuments in France, gave me an advice: "Frame your painting so your customer will think your picture had always been in their grandfather's house" (He meant castle... don't forget we have a lot of them in France ). After a while, I followed his advice.
Nowaday, my frames are more sober in color, but (I hope) elegant. For important paintings, I choose "white glass", the glass that do not show reflections. It is 10 times the price of regular glass, but I don't mind if it is expensive. I want the best for the happy few that honor me by being my clients. I framed these dogs with a large indigo-grey (10cm wide ) paper-frame with a golden bevel-edge. I painted a double golden filet, large & thin around doing frogged loops in each corner (I am crazy about brandeburgs !) and a large black wooden frame.

I exhibited this painting in the famous "Salon d'Automne" in Paris. For their century anniversary, they edited a very big catalog with all the main painters of the last century : Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, ... and Cyrille Jubert,... you know what I mean
Looking at the two last photos, you can see how this golden background plays with the light. The picture has it's own life. Imagine it with flames crackling in the fireplace.
I hope you enjoyed this work in progress.

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