I want to introduce you to our new dog, and my new painting. This is Elska Chinook. Her official name from the breeder is Runway’s Elska Chinook, from the Autumn Spirit litter, from Adele and Jacob (her parents). To us she is just Elska. That is her “call name”. Elska is a silken windhound, a relatively new breed of dog from the sighthound family. Her closest ancestors are Borzoi or Russian Wolfhounds and long haired whippets. She can run like a greyhound, snuggles like a teddy bear, and sleeps like a spud. She became part of our family in December of 2020. Her name Elska means love in Danish, spelled phonetically for ease of pronunciation. For a history of the Silken Windhound breed you can visit this link:
We chose to get a silken rather than a rescue for many reasons. Mainly I need a reliably gentle support dog, and she may even become my official service dog with some future training. Here’s a few puppy pictures to make you smile.
Elska came from Silken Windhound breeder Cathie Leloff in Delhi, Ontario. Her kennel is called Runway. She has a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1582515175218855/
Cathie is now the owner of my new painting called “Silken Wavehounds”. The painting is acrylic on canvas, 24×36 inches.
I pulled out all the stops on this special project. The image of silken windhounds (or in this case WAVEhounds) spilling out of the surf onto a west coast beach is intended to predict the surge of new silkens coming to Vancouver Island. The breed is relatively rare to see in North America, so many silken windhound owners know each other and eagerly try to track down the lineage of any silken they may spot in their communities. I wanted to celebrate the breed, and send Cathie a small part of the wild west coast to enjoy in her home.
I decided I wanted to challenge myself to make the very best painting I possibly could. When I’m teaching my students how to paint I encourage them to follow a process of image research, rough idea sketching, small drawings and colour studies, then work up the large canvas. I decided that if I ask my students to do such a thorough job then I should go through the same process. I also wanted to try a new painting technique that I was introduced to by my artist friend Robin LeDrew. I believe it’s called glazing. Layers of transparent pure colour are painted over top of a fully rendered monochromatic version of the image. That means I paint the image twice, first in black, white and one other colour, then in transparent layers of coloured glazes. This method makes the painting really glow with colour. The image includes a sunset so I wanted the whole painting to be suffused with a warm light. The photos below show the stages I went through from sketch to colour studies to canvas. I’m also preparing a time-lapse video of the whole process, but there’s hours and hours of video to edit so it’s going to take me a while to complete that project. I will post it here when it is finished.
I hope you enjoyed this look at my process as I worked on an acrylic painting from idea to canvas completion. The painting is showing some new development in my style, approach and subject matter. It was an adventure making it.