One of the best parts about being in this transition is that I am finally getting “free time” after all of the preparations and packing that dominated my time the past couple of months. I’ve been doing restful things like watching TV, finishing some knitting projects, and doing lots of drawing and painting. I just have a small rental house to take care of, so I have been a lady of leisure! Well, I’m still working, but my work is enjoyable and I’ve been able to have a lot more flexibility in how I spend my time. That means I’m getting around to painting subjects that have been in my “to paint” file for a long time. Pictures from the beach, landscapes I’ve done sketches of but never painted, and master studies. One of the master studies I have been itching to paint is Head Study of an American Pointer by Maud Earl, 1932.
I haven’t painted many dogs, but I’ve wanted to paint Sebastian for a while and I’m often asked about pet portraits. I love Maud Earl’s style and this American pointer is a handsome fellow that I wouldn’t mind hanging in my house. The muted colors are also a perfect study for me.
I started with a sketch and then an underpainting on a linen board. I started him a little late in the day, so I had to stop at this stage, which was difficult because I was eager to finish! It’s sometimes nice to slow down, though, to notice places in the drawing that need to be adjusted.
You can see my painting process for this Maud Earl American pointer study in this time-lapse video I shared on Instagram…
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And here is the final painting…
I call these studies instead of copies because I always end up putting my own style on the painting and my goal isn’t to make an exact replica. The point of a study is to learn from artists you admire who are no longer around to teach their methods. It’s amazing how much you can learn. In this Maud Earl American pointer study, I learned so much about mixing colorful whites that don’t overpower. I also learned a lot about capturing an animal’s expression. I just enjoyed every minute of it and went straight into painting portraits of my own animals. My mom, who is keeping Sebastian through our move, told me he was very put off that I was painting other dogs. (I’ll share those in another post.)
For now, this Maud Earl American pointer study is a keeper for me. I hope to find him a gilt frame and hang him in our new house, but I’m sure I will paint more Maud Earl studies. If you’re interested in hanging her work in your home, you can find vintage and antique Maud Earl prints on Etsy.
I don’t see myself being a pet portrait artist, but I’ve taken on a couple of practice portraits while I’m in this time of flux. It’ll just be a fun little project and who knows which direction I might go as an artist in the future.
For now, it’s just fun having the time to explore…