This is little Nelly and her dog portraits in pastel was a birthday gift from son to father as it seems Nelly is very adored by her human.
Just recently I’ve been looking at my panpastels and wondering if it was worth paying so much for them! I decided to give them more of a go on this dog portraits in pastel and rather than just using them for backgrounds I thought I’d give them a go at underlayers as well. Here I’ve just used the large oval sofft sponges designed for panpastels to create a smooth and blended background.
Here you can see my easel and some of the tools I used to create the smooth background and for adding the blocks of colour. I used the smaller sponge to work up to the edges of Nelly, the panpastel was easy to push around the pastelmat once a decent layer was put down. The sofft knives (with pale blue handle) were really good to get into tight areas.
Here;s a close up of the panpastel layers with the start of pastel pencils. Nelly has some very ginger areas as well as some blonde longer fur and I found the panpastels had the perfect colours.
Here you can see more blocking with panpastels, then pastel pencils on top for the details. Due to the high pigment level of panpastels it didn’t take much to get the colour strength required so the pastel pencils just glided over the top without going muddy.
Here you can see more pastel pencil layers being added to Nelly’s head. The important thing to do was keep those pencil points quite sharp.
I added many colours of pastel pencil to create the mottled mixed fur on Nelly’s head.
Here you can see the number of pastel pencils increasing! Nelly has so many colours in her fur I had to dig deep into my pencil drawer to find all the shades!
Here you can see I had a bit of a purple patch and really got to grips with the texture of longer fur on Nelly’s back. It was simply a matter of making the pastel pencil strokes longer so each stroke looked like an individual dog hair.
I touched up the panpastel edges with the sofft knife. They come in quite a few different shapes such as a triangle to get into tight corners and a flatter square so you can cover large areas with an easy sweep.
So here is Nelly just before she left the easel. At this stage I send another update to the client to ensure everything is as it should be, thankfully it was!
And finally I add whiskers, sign and scan for one more update before packing up and sending off my commissions.
Behind the scenes…
As regular readers of my not so regular blog know, I am the proud owner of these two beauties, Willow (black) and Stan. Every day we go on epic adventures around the Forest of Dean in the wonderful woodlands and forests there. Although it’s only just turning from August to September, the typical British weather isn’t too reliable. This was Thursday when the sky was cloudy and we had quite a few showers. It looked decidedly autumnal out in my local woodlands of Harrow Hill.
But by Friday we were back to full summer mode when we ventured out to Woorgreen Nature Reserve. The weather was magnificent and we came across a lovely fallow doe hiding out under the trees.
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.