Readers of my blog will know I lost my beautiful Stan not so long ago. Rather stupidly I’ve created pet portraits of all our other dogs but just hadn’t managed to paint Stan.
I was quite bereft and thought that getting it done would help me (I can tell you it was horrendously painful and probably wouldn’t recommend it) anyway after many hours (a couple of hundred) I finally completed Stan, my first white German shepherd pet portrait.
As this was for my lovely Stan I decided to go big, when completed the portrait measures 16 x 24 inches unmounted and unframed (now you can probably see why it took over 200 hours – most of which were spent sobbing, there are a few tear stained areas) I used anthracite pastelmat as my support and the guidelines were drawn in using a white stabilo coloured pencil. Mostly I add the background first but I was desperate to see Stan again so started work on him straight away.
Once Stan had been put in I began to get stuck into that mammoth background. As you can see from the guidelines the background was going to take a lot of work but once more I’m back working on lovely leaves. I used panpastels to block in the underlayers using the smallest Sofft applicator to get into those tiny areas
Here you can see where I’ve started to add some leaf detail. I used pastel pencils for this task so I could really get all those tiny highlights and shadows to show up. I used a combination of Derwents, Stabilos and Pitts kept very sharp. Read how to sharpen pastel pencils
Again you can see where I moved back to using Panpastels for those underlayers, they really do cover big areas very quickly which is helpful for a huge piece like this. I felt as though I was getting somewhere!
More foreground foliage, it took so long and I almost wanted to give up but I had to finish it to take Stan with me for the first show of the year. No going back now! See another german shepherd pet portrait in pastel
After most of the foreground was put in I added the tree to the right. I loved adding the ivy!
Again, using Panpastels for a base I started working on the left hand side, still a very long way to go!!!
Here you can see some of the pastels and tools I used. Also the pencil box gives you an idea of how really big it was. I had to stand at my easel to work a lot of it as I couldn’t reach from chair even on it’s highest setting!
Almost done, one last pass to tidy everything up.
Finally the finished piece, my first white german shepherd pet portrait. In all well over 200 hours of hard work but worth every second of pain to have my Stan completed. Now I join the majority of my clients, those who commission me after their beloved pet has passed away and is desperately waiting for the finished portrait to arrive. I will say that in future I’ll definitely complete portraits before they pass away.
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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.