Chiaroscuro (English pronunciation: /kiˌɑːrəˈskjʊəroʊ/; Italian: [kjarosˈkuːro]; Italian for light-dark) in art is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition.
I've always admired Italian Renaissance and Baroque paintings which have strong chiaroscuro lighting, especially the works by Caravaggio. This was my small experiment to imitate that play of light and dark.
I usually work with quite bold lines and painting without them has always been a bit difficult for me. With this one I first painted the whole canvas pitch black with gouache and then brought the character to light layer by layer using gouaches and watercolors. It could have been better but I'm satisfied and planning to try this again sometime.
And this one is old. From fall 2012 maybe.
The character is Chazaqiel, my Afghan hound character, who certainly is not Italian but Chinese with Afghan roots. If I had a comic or a graphic novel, he would be the main antagonist. As an anthro he's a warlord that rules a big part of the East of Asia. He used to co-operate with three other warlords, but quickly became greedy and began to use them to gain more power for himself. When the others started to notice his selfish puppeteering and tried to join forces against him, Chazaqiel sent one to exile and arranged the other one to end up in an accident which resulted brain damage. The last one of the three didn't dare to rebel alone and became his minion.
But Chazaqiel is old, over 60 in human years. He doesn't have any close relatives nor a heir to pursue his dynasty. His health and reflexes aren't what they used to be, and it angers him enormously how weak he has become. The stealthy mind that helped him to rise to the top of the hierarchy is all he has left, and that connected to the great power he holds and the fact that he suspects everyone of treachery makes him very dangerous.
Gouache and watercolor.
Artwork, character ©GhoulShoe