This is the very magnificent Carlos, what a hunk!!! I love creating rottweiler pet portraits, their fabulous dark fur is so luscious and shiny, I get lost in them! You can see another Rottweiler portrait here.
I am now in love with my panpastels and Carlos’ rich fur gave me another excuse to get them out and stuck in! You can see above all the blocking in was done with panpastels using their sofft tools. They are like plastic trowels you put little foam sleeves on. These tools are gently swirled around the pan collecting the very heavily pigmented pastel. With a few swipes of the sofft tools the colour is laid down very richly. Due to the high pigment ratio, not much panpastel is actually needed to build up a very solid block of colour but it also means little nap is filled so lots of layers of pastel pencils can be added on top for details.
I do confess I’m not brave enough to try tiny, tiny details with the sofft tools so I used pastel pencils for those. I like to work on the the eyes very near the beginning of a portrait. The eyes are vital to ensure the character shines through in a portrait. I also like the way the eyes follow me around the room, it brings the pet to life as I’m working.
Here you see how the pastel pencils sit on top of the panpastel. I was able to begin building up fur look. Rotties generally have short but very shiny fur so it took many, many short layers of pencil strokes to recreate it. I then added pale greys, lilacs and whites on top to create the sheen.
You can see here how the shine of Carlos’ fur is beginning to build. I was also able to touch up some of the underlayers for more depth by simply adding panpastels on top of the pencil layers.
I used more panpastel to start defining Carlos’ muzzle, I did wonder if I would still be able to add lots of pastel pencil layers on top at this point….
… but amazingly I could still add lots of layers for all that lovely detail. Here you can see the muzzle being built up to give shape and definition.
I alternated between layers of panpastel and pastel pencils easily. As the darker layers of shadow built up they became really rich which was fabulous on such a dark furry dog.
Almost there. At this point I stand back to check I have tonal values right and where I need to up the detail and tidy up. I’m so pleased to reach this point, finally I feel as though things are going in the right direction. It takes a long time and the majority of a portrait being completed before I realise things are going well! Until this point I usually worry something is awry.
As you can see I decided some more detail was needed, it was simply a matter of adding more pastel pencil layers lightly, one layer at a time. Sometimes I can add up to 20 layers to achieve the fur detail I want.
At this point I send my clients a final scan for them to approve (generally I send about 6 updates to each client, I find too many in the very early stages can look scary and messy so I wait until a fair layer is down so they can see where things are going!)
Carlos here got approval and so was mounted and packed up safely to wend his way home along country lanes and motorways!
Behind the scenes…
Here is the most iconic view of my local area. This is from the viewpoint of Symonds Yat overlooking the River Wye. Well known for it’s nesting peregrine falcons, you can visit and use the telescopes loaned by the RSPB. The actual viewpoint has 360 degree views which on a clear day are just stunning and highly recommended.
And just because he is very cute and has such a great character, here is Butt the goat. Butt is like a little dog. He wags his tail when my husband calls him and gives him a brush but he is also very naughty breaking into the vegetable patch to steal the runner beans! He wanders around the orchard with about 80 chickens, ducks and geese for company, and demands being fed by hand every day!
I am completely inundated with portraits at the moment (always happy to take more though!) so it’s back to the easel for me!