Saturday, October 15, 2016

QK Puppy Mural #8: How to Get “Un-Stuck”

I got stuck and frustrated during the process; perseverance is essential! For example, the glorious idea I could see in my mind’s eye was the see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-speak-no-evil trio, dubbed "the evil trio" for short. This composition was very difficult and I almost gave up on it. It was difficult to get the puppies in the proper poses where they looked right. I made many sketches I didn’t like. I was about to give up and I step away from it. I was doodling in my journal while sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room and suddenly I was drawing a hear-no-evil puppy. It just came out of my pencil without even trying. That was the key. The result was the evil trio coming to life. 

The second difficulty with the "Evil Trio" was establishing the breeds and colors for the trio. Test canvases were essential as changes were made to establish the final configuration as illustrated by the following photos. It is interesting to note that these were the first puppies to be painted on the wall. I worked on the portion of the wall that could not be viewed through the kennel's viewing window. In hindsight I believe I needed to work up my confidence to create art "in public".

My original trio did not work. I determined that the brown poodle would look better as a black poodle. I used the black Lab test canvas to determine how the color palette would work before repainting.


The Springer Spaniel would not work: the white blended into the wall behind it. You can also observe how I changed the ears on the original speak-no-evil pup.

 Changing the Springer Spaniel to an Irish Setter brought the trio into balance as demonstrated by the test canvases.

The final "Evil Trio" wall painting. 


My other "problem child" was on the opposite side of the display window from the "Evil Trio". This "pile of puppies" was the last group to be created and painted. Getting the puppies to overlap properly and choosing the correct color palette were the biggest challenges.  Because they were in a darker area of the room, I needed to have good contrast between the pups or they would look like a big blob. I had problems with sizing and I needed to face them in the opposite direction to accommodate the way the door opened into the room. The stencils were lifesavers and I redid them several times. Another consideration was the need to coordinate the colors with the evil trio on the other side of the window. Photoshop, the stencils, and the test canvas were essential to making this work. My perseverance and willingness to make changes was also essential. The following photos illustrate part of the process. 

Original Sketch

Test canvas - working out color palette and positioning.

Final wall painting with changes prompted by test canvas & wall stencils.

Final redone test canvas (4 complete re-works).


It was very interesting how some of the pups were difficult and others easy. I did the south wall Golden Retriever pup on the first try without a test canvas; I mixed the colors on site. At times I thought I would never execute some of the other pup images in a successful way. I had lots of “make it work” moments.

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