This is where I am with my latest piece of dog art, a beautiful dog named Josh who has sadly passed away. I am honoured to be asked by returning clients to create a memorial of Josh for their daughter.
I’ve added lots of work in progress images below.
This is how my blurry backgrounds begin! It looks such a mess but it works for me! I use various tools to blend the colours together to create a lovely soft tonal effect which sets off my dog art.
As you all probably know by now, I feel the eyes are very important, they are the focus of most of my pet portraits so I usually begin with them. I like to make them glossy and shiny bringing the subject to life long before the piece is completed.
This is a bit of a sneaky look at my easel, giving you an idea of how I work. I use a tablet for my reference images, I find it so useful as I can zoom in and out for details and to ensure I have everything in proportion. I use an empty derwent pencil tray to keep all of the pastels in I am using so I don’t mix them up with my thousands of others! I use an off cut of pastelmat in the correct shade to test my colours so I know which ones to use before I make a mark on my support.
The ‘professional’ looking arm rest is a piece of beading left over from my studio renovations! I stuck a couple of blocks of wood to each end so it makes a bridge and doesn’t touch the pastelmat anywhere so I can’t smudge anything (I do have a habit of doing this!)
As you can see I’ve started mapping out the darker undertones and noting where the very lightest of highlights are. Sadly I am not at all organised and bop about all over the place although I use all the right methods, they are always in a funny messed up order! So long as the end result is the same I’ve given up trying to be more restrained!
I noticed Josh had a light ginger/brown shade to his muzzle so a very light layer was added as an undertone. I could add more if required or dampen it down by adding other colours on top.
Here I’ve started to add the darkest areas around the mouth area, I like to do this as it gives me an idea of where everything sits.
So after building up many more layers using the same techniques (if you can call it that) you can see how the colours of the muzzle have been rectified by adding a few darker shades. I’ve also worked the mouth area almost to completion so Josh is now looking more real.
Feel free to visit my gallery where you will find lots of completed dog portraits but if you like to see how they are made, visit my dog art blog posts where I show step by step updates from the beginning to end of each piece and don’t forget I offer worldwide pet portraits commissions.