Dog Eyes in Watercolor

I have been busy working on a series of water view paintings using wonderful washes which I will share here as soon as I am finished. I needed a break from my latest project so I set aside some time to paint more eyes. It was refreshing to revisit these delightful images filled with simple shapes & colors.

Without drawing, using only paint, I made the shape of the eye leaving a small white area for the reflection.

Dog Eye 101A


A second color was dropped in before the entire area dried. I allow these colors to mingle on the paper

Dog Eye 101B

When the eye area has lost its shine I drop in a darker color to create the ‘pupil’ Using the same darker color I paint around the eye slightly touching the outline allowing it to blend & soften the edge. The dog’s eye has a drooping lower lid so I left some white showing below the iris of the eye.

Dog Eye 101C

Now I start to build up some of the darks. I also add some brush strokes to add the fur around the eye. When doing this think about petting the dog’s face. Use your fingers to follow the growth direction of the fur. This is how I then place my brush strokes.

Dog Eye 101D

Using an even darker color I detail the shape of the eye and finally I darken the pupil. I find that this darkest color is essential to bring the eyes to life.

Dog Eye 101E

Here is another example of dog eyes

First I paint the eye shape using 2 colors. Using a damp clean brush, I wet the surrounding area allowing the paint to bleed away from the eye. This breaks up the hard outline of the eye making it appear softer.

Dog Eye 101F

Using a light wash I start to define the eye area, remembering to leave some white areas below the eye.

Dog Eye 101G

Now I add the darker colors using the process described above.

Dog Eye 101H

To complete the portrait I add the illusion of a nose & an ear.

Dog Eye 101I

Anyone viewing this will automatically fill in the blanks, meaning, they will know that the dog has 2 eyes, 2 ears and a big shiny nose. I do not have to give them all the parts for them to know this is a dog. I am allowed to have fun and take artistic license with my paintings. So can you!

Find a photo and have fun painting your favorite animal’s face. Remember you choose what to add or subtract from your paintings. You decide what colors you want your painting to contain. Why can’t a cat have violet eyes? Why not try painting a dog using only red in many different values. This is only the start of an amusing & entertaining journey. 


Paint with Me


~ by Lorraine Rimmelin on June 14, 2016.

2 Responses to “Dog Eyes in Watercolor”

  1. Thank you for this detailed post. Very beautifully done, I love how you suggest the dog, so much better than all the details.

  2. Thanks Laura 🙂

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