I’ve got a little bit behind with my blog, I seem to be swimming in commissions at the moment so it’s all about the easel rather than the blog! Meet the very handsome Jake, a commission I finished and hand delivered a month or so ago now. He is to be a surprise Christmas present from parents to daughter.
So I’ve really been getting into my panpastels lately, they are fabulous for underlayering my pet portraits. Here is the very first stage of Jake’s collie pet portraits. Here I’ve just used two panpastels to begin, the black for the very darkest shadows but also a blue for the midtones. The soft tools are particularly good for getting into tight areas when used on the side.
I also used panpastel to start blocking in the patio slabs. Jake’s reference photo was taken in his garden and I simply removed the patio furniture and a bird table to leave Jake the centre of attention.
I used umber panpastel as the base layer for Jakes whiter fur. Although it’s a dark colour it does provide the contrast needed for the shadows between the individual hairs. I used pastel pencils for the fine fur details but using the panpastels has definitely sped up my work times!
You can see above I was really getting to grips with Jake’s lovely chest fur, it looked so touchable which I needed to recreate using lots of pastel pencil layers building up the texture. You can see the umber underneath served as shadows to give Jake some form.
Here you can see my easel where I work my pencils to death! I select all the panpastels and pencils I want to use at the start of each portrait (I always end up using more as I add to them as I go along!) My easel is huge (it’s rehomed so isn’t in perfect condition but I love it) so I can have everything to hand as I work away.
Jake is getting his legs here, although I work all over the place I do seem to work an area almost to completion every now and then so it was good to see Jake being able to almost sit properly! Here you can see a closer shot of the patio slabs where I’ve started to build up the texture of the surface. It took quite a bit of ‘stippling’ just to get this far!
Here is a close up of me working on Jake’s leg using my trusty ‘mahl’ stick! (Made from a door frame!)
More stipling! I used the point of one of the soft tools to create all the dots. I went back over some areas to show a change in the patio surface but I still had many more layers to add so lots more stipling!
Here you can see the stipling in progress, it was pretty laborious but I got there in the end!
Here I’ve started to add the little tufts of grass between the slabs, not far to go now!
And here is Jake all completed, my latest collie pet portraits. He was a bit of a traveller, having been my display piece I worked on at Kington Show and then being handed over at the Malvern Autumn Show so he’d done a few miles by the time he arrived back at base!
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Behind the scenes…..
Autumn is well and truly on the way in England now and leaves are starting to drop from the trees so when it’s a nice day it really is appreciated at this time of year. This is from one of my favourite little woodlands near where I live, the lovely named Hope Wood. The track is starting to become too muddy now so I will have to find dryer tracks and places to visit.
I very often post pictures of Stan and Willow as they come to work with me everyday but we also have two little terriers who stay home with hubby as he fixes lots of tractors. We have a few acres of land which has become a smallholding come farm machinery repair yard. Luckily our two little terriers get to explore and dig to their hearts content everyday. Hubby has put in a wood burner in his work shed so they are often curled up in front of it warming their paws on wet cold days, not too spoilt are they!!!
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