Stage 1

I decided to do this painting in Acrylics simply for the faster drying time over oils. I first sketched out my basic drawing then applied a thin ground of yellow ochre and burnt umber and rubbed it back with a cloth so I could still see the under drawing but leave a warm background for the paint to interact with.

Where to begin?

I started on the eye and nose first for the simple reason that this will be the focus area and I always need a main focus when I paint.
I then began to flesh out the head with a mix of Prussian Blue, Burn Umber and Cadmium red. By by varying the amounts and adding some Titanium White and Cerulean Blue I was able to create a series of tones

So far so good but there is still time to screw it up

Stage 2

Ok, time to flesh out all the rest of the body and begin adding the long fur and paler colours. I used a variation of ultramarine blue, titanium white and tiny touch of Cad red to start adding the paler highlights (being careful not to use the brightest highlights to soon) although difficult to show these subtler tones in a photograph .

Stage 3

Once the body and overall tones were in and dry, it was time to start working the image up by glazing shadows and highlights.

I used an oil glazing and scumbling technique and an acrylic glazing medium to deepen the shadows and tweak the highlights as well as giving more depth in general.

I was persuaded to change the background to shades of blue. I feel that was a mistake as I prefered the original earth colours which to me gave more impact to the subject.

My summing up

When I first planned the painting I thought about placing the dog in a landscape setting fitting for a working sheepdog. However, the dog was rather old and I was working from photographs which were not very detailed. So I decided to play safe and place him on a simple background. Anyway the recipients of the painting came to collect and were really pleased with it.
I apparently captured the dog perfectly (always a relief), so it was a success in the end but if doing it again I would use a landscape setting. I would probally also underpaint in Acrylics and finish in Oils