This is the lovely Mutley. He’s had a bit of a rough time of late and had to have major surgery which thankfully he pulled through and so deserves his very own springer spaniel pet portrait.
Mutley is also the Christmas Tree King. His owners grow them and every day as they go to work on them (yes it is a year round job!) he inspects their vast tree orchard and searches out bunnies and generally romps around having a wonderful time (lucky dog)
Mutley’s portrait is 12 x 16 inches and as usual, pastel on pastelmat which as you all now know is my favourite combination.
Don’t forget to subscribe here for the latest news, exclusive offers and giveaways (previous subscribers will need to resubscribe due to new EU regulations as I will no longer be able to contact you after 25th May 2018)
As you can see Mutley was firmly attached to my easel using low tack framers tape, this kept him under control as I did my pastel magic. I used a white pencil to sketch out my lines and began by using panpastels to block the background in and various brands of pastel pencils for the finer detailed areas.
The image above gives you an idea of my layering technique, I tend to add the darker areas underneath with fine light coloured details on top, this helps gives the impression of fur.
The chest area now shows how those layers build up in a fur like manner, it’s just a case of repeatedly adding pencil strokes in the direction of fur. You can see Mutley has an almost pinky shade underneath his chin.
And now you really see how those layers pay off, the fur on the leg looks really dense thanks to lots of layers underneath but also by using pencil strokes similar to the fur so this is short repetitive lines.
So here is Mutley fixed to my easel. I use it at an almost upright angle, the loose pastel falls off and I use a bridge to prevent any smudging from my arm as I work. The bridge means I can jump about the portrait rather than having to work from one side to another. I find it helps with back and neck ache working in this position too. Previously I had worked over a desk which really did hurt after a short time, but this way means I can continue working for longer sessions before the ache takes over!
So almost getting there with Mutley now, and then it’s the background to put in.
I used panpastels for the softer focus background at the top and pastel pencils for all that grass.
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.