Just finished this 9x12" dog portrait for a customer who called me a few weeks ago but we ended up meeting just last Friday. He asked if I could do a portrait of his recently deceased Yellow Lab named Bentley. The portrait is going to be a surprise for his wife for Christmas. I was really nervous about this commission for two reasons: first I had never met the dog. If possible I like to try to see the pet in person but of course this wasn't an option. Second, I only had a week to work on the portrait along with all of my other holiday preparations. I suppose I can say that I work good under pressure because I finished the portrait and met with the customer yesterday and he was very happy with the finished piece and the likeness of his dog. I breathed a sigh of relief.
The portrait is on 9x12" 3/4-cradled Ampersand Gessobord. The customer requested that I add the colored pencil to the sides in the event he and his wife didn't want to frame it. I applied gesso to all of the sides of the Gessobord, then coated the top and sides with light blue/green color of Art Spectrum Colourfix primer (which it appears they don't make anymore) mixed with Ultramarine Blue Art Spectrum Concentrated Ink to achieve the background color I'm looking for. I worked on the surface with colored pencil and solvent (odorless mineral spirits) so the pencil will adhere like paint and I can move it around and remove surface texture.
After the holidays, the customer is returning the piece to be varnished. He is asking for a flat matt finish in a varnish with no sheen on the surface. The varnishes I use are somewhat shiny and have a little bit of a sheen so my next step is to find another varnishing product to use. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.