A portrait of the artist’s dog

Close up image of Miss Maggie's face in her portrait showing the textures of the products used to create her cute little shi-tzu face.
“Miss Maggie Moo” 10″ square cradled wood panel assemblage

I’d like to introduce you to today to the love of my life and my best friend, Miss Maggie Moo. Maggie rescued me in September 2010 at the Humane Society Shelter, here in Topeka Kansas. We’ve been inseparable ever since!

The Crafter’s Workshop provided me with some product to create this project. The opinions I share are solely my own.

I must admit, I had started to feel kind of guilty that I was creating portraits of other dogs, rather than my own. Also, Miss Maggie has a mean side eye, which wandered my way on more than one occasion as I was giggling with glee at Sir Pugsly Pugsworth the Steampug and McDougal the Basset Hound portraits. So yes, she successfully guilted me into painting her portrait!

I began Maggie’s portrait with 10″ square cradled wood panel (my new substrate love!). I used cadmium yellow medium hue acrylic paint for the background of the wall behind Maggie, and TCW9002 Black Gesso for the background of the floor.

For the wall design, I used stencil TCW882 Fantasy Tile with TCW9065 Fuschia stencil butter which I applied with the TCW9025 Plastic Palette Knife.

For the floor design, I used stencil TCW889 Dash V with TCW9064 Turquoise Stencil Butter which I also applied with the TCW9025 Plastic Palette Knife.

I did have a slight bleeding issue with the stencil butter because I applied it a little too thickly. I covered up the bleeds with my uni-posca paint pens later.

Close up image of the right side of the panel's background, showing the wall and the floor stencils.
Close up image showing the wall and floor backgrounds created using stencils and stencil butters.

Next, it was time to create Miss Maggie’s face and hair. To create a three dimensional head and hair, I used TCW9005 White Modeling paste which I put into a piping bag to apply. Yep, just like icing a cake. Super messy and super fun! Using this method allows me to build up the nose, and give her hair individual waves with peaks and valleys to capture the light and shadows more effectively. It really helps her face literally stand out of the wood panel.

It’s important to note here, that it’s a real challenge to use modeling paste in this method because if you use too much modeling paste, it will crack as it dries. It’s best to let the modeling paste dry naturally for a few days after applying it, rather than using a heat gun to dry it. After I applied her face to the panel, I let it dry for a few days. You can also do multiple layers and slowly build it up over days to help prevent cracking as well.

Please note that air humidity can also affect the drying process of thick modeling paste applications. If it’s rather humid, it will take longer to dry. If the air is too dry, it will cause the modeling paste to crack more as it dries. I have a home humidifier that I use to help control the temperature and humidity in my studio, so this really helps a lot!

For Maggie’s eyes and nose, I used our TCW9052 Super Thick Gel which dries clear and shiny. I left both of these mediums to dry fully for a few days, before proceeding.

Photo showing the complete wood panel with the modeling paste and super thick clear gel applied and now left to dry for a few days.
TCW9005 White Modeling Paste was used in a piping bag to create the hair. TCW9052 Super Thick Gel was used to create eyes.

Now that Maggie’s modeling paste and super thick gel medium were dry, it was time to begin under painting her face, ears, and neck. I used heavy body acrylic paints mixed with TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium to block in the colors and help seal the modeling paste. I also used the TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium to affix her plastic flower embellishments to the tops of her ears.

Close up image showing acrylic underpainting on the face, Plastic flower embellishments have been attached to the ears.
TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium was used to affix the hair flowers, and was mixed with acrylic paints for the features.

I used TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium to attach Maggie’s shirt, sweater, and plastic flower embellishment. Ironically, I used some of Maggie’s actual clothing items to cut up for her outfit. The shirt was created using a bandana, the corners made the perfect collar, and the sweater heart came out of an actual sweater she hated and refused to wear. When I used to put it on her, she’d lay on the floor refusing to move until I took it off her. (Princess much? Lol).

Close up image showing Maggie's clothes and plastic flower embellishment.
Maggie’s clothing and flower were applied using TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium.

To finish the portrait, I hand painted Maggie’s features and fur using acrylic paints mixed with the TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium to seal the under painting. Maggie’s whiskers were created with embroidery thread affixed with the TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium. I added some finishing touches using black Stayz-On ink, acrylic paints, and water soluble aquarelles sealed with our TCW9011 Matte Gel Medium.

Close up image of Maggie showing her completed portrait.
Close up image showing the whiskers, painted features, and finishing touches.

To help preserve the elements of the portrait, I used a UV Resistant Varnish spray to finish. Here’s a close up image of her completed face.

Image showing Maggie's completed features,
Maggie’s finished face.

If you’d like to see my other portraits and works, please hop on over to my social media accounts and my blog.

Michaela Butterworth
The Crafter’s Workshop Design Team Member

PS: I’m really trying to build my following. Will you please hop on over and follow me on my blog and social media accounts?
Thank you so much!
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