I started by applying a base made by mixing a little bit of burnt umber with titanium white, yellow, and a tiny amount of purple, just so the yellow wouldn't be too bright. Then I sketched the design for my eye with a charcoal pencil.
It was at this point that I my attention was drawn to what looked like some big white patches in the dog's fur.
,I didn't want to add patches of pure white, but the leaving the fur as it was didn't feel right either. I mixed
burnt umber with a little bit of titanium white to see how that would look,
and I was very pleased with the results. I used burnt sienna as a base for his eye and mixed that with burnt umber for my shadows.
In the reference photo, I think you can see there's a high gloss shine to the eye. I achieved this with a combination of titanium white and zinc white from the Amsterdam line. Unlike titanium white, which is opaque, zinc white is translucent. For the big highlight on his pupil, I used ultramarine and a touch of cyan blue in addition to the two different whites. I was also careful to keep my wrist loose so I could paint a smooth, continuous line, which was also essential to achieve this look.
I've used yellow mixed with a bit of burnt sienna for the highlights on his eye and glazed over his rim with some ultramarine blue. It was important to me that the gray underneath still show through.
I used titanium white to paint the fur lines above his eye, being careful to follow the direction of my reference photo. I went over these lines with my yellow and burnt sienna mixture. Having the titanium white underneath, meant that the lines would now show up over the black.
And that is how I would paint a labrador retriever's eye.
Painter of portraits and wildlife