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Dog portraits in pastel

dog portraits in pastel

I’ve gotten a little behind with my blog lately but I have produced some art so I will need to blog-on!!!

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.

nelly the border terrier painted in pastel

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.

border terrier painting on the easel

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.

border terrier pastel painting

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.

border terrier pet portrait

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.

pet portrait of border terrier

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.

close up of border terrier pet painting

I added many colours of pastel pencil to create the mottled mixed fur on Nelly’s head.

border terrier in pastel on the easel

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!

border terrier pastel drawing

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.

panpastel pet portrait

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.

finished pet portrait

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!

dog portraits in pastel

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.

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2 thoughts on “Dog portraits in pastel

  1. So love seeing your pastel painting and how you do them. Just wondering, is it necessary for you to put all the hairs in before you start covering with color or would it be easier to just add the
    directions of the hairs as you go along. Another, what kind of canvas are you using to do your
    paintings?
    Love your dogs too, I have a GP also. You weather is like ours here and right now we are wondering if we will get any of the weather from the hurricanes that are going on. The heater came on for the first time this morning. Just a little chilly.
    Keep up the great work, you are good and I am learning from you. Thank you.

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      I block in first then add the details with fine pointed pastel pencils and I always use pastelmat.

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