Monday, 10 October 2016

Mini Wirehaired Dachshund - Pastels on Fisher 400 - update

I don't know what's going on with Blogger tonight ... this is my third attempt to publish a post ... first the picture wouldn't upload, then it uploaded but was giant sized and then all my text disappeared

Third time lucky !!!! fingers crossed ...

Briefly, my client and her husband popped round to my house on Friday to look at the portrait  and comment on the dog's colouring.    They both recalled that the dog's coat is darker (more golden/brown in places) than it appears in the photos so this afternoon I've been doing some tweaking, and putting in a subtle, blurry background to make the dog stand out a little more from the gold coloured paper (Fisher 400 sanded).

Once again, I left it late to take a photo and the light was poor but hopefully I'll be able to work on it a little more on Wednesday and will get a better photo (we're out and about tomorrow having lunch with friends so I don't think I'll have any 'art' time)

Monday, 3 October 2016

Mini Wire Haired Dachshund ... WIP II

I think I have to call a halt to this now until my client can visit and comment on the hair/fur colour.   In each picture the dog's coat looks different - I believe this is fairly accurate but will leave it to my client to decide

I think she has only met the dog once though .. and she can't recall its name so ... fingers crossed ... I can get some guidance and then I can finish the portrait and move on.

Oh .. and also need to know if a (very simple) background colour is required.   

Pastels on Fisher 400 sanded paper

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Mini Wire Haired Dachshund - Pastels on Fisher 400 (Sanded Paper)

Its ages since I've posted or visited Blogger - we were away for 3 weeks and on our return had no landline telephones or internet connection for 5 days - thanks to our Provider, Talk Talk.

But we're back to normal(ish) now and catching up with events.

I realise I didn't photograph or post the final picture of the Doberman - however, it was very well received by the recipient (tears were shed) and she posted a very nice 'thank you' on Facebook so all ended well.

With all our commitments for the rest of the year I decided not to take on any commissions .... but, a lady living 5 mins walk from me, contacted me to ask if I could portray a friends little dog as a surprise 50th birthday present.    Unfortunately, the photos had to be taken surreptitiously on a phone camera and I've got an interesting selection including the dog's tail (as the dog zooms out of camera shot) and lots of blurry action ones.     The main reference picture we've agreed on is the best pose, but its very dark and I can't make out eyes or nose details - so this is pieced together from all the refs I have and with a little help from breed photos I've found online.

The lady commissioning the portrait will visit me next week to look at the work and decide if I've got the coat/eye colours right - she's seen the dog, I haven't.

So this is where I'm at after a few hours yesterday and today working in pastels on Fisher 400 sanded paper.

I'm drawing this to fit an 18" x 14" mount (13" x 9") inner size.   Normally I supply double mounts with all my pastel commissions and the sizes are slightly smaller or larger than this - this is a 'gutter mount' from SAA (Society of All Artists) which I'm trialling.   From the front it looks like a single mount but it has second (hidden) mount behind so stands proud of the drawing and provides a 'gutter' area where pieces of stray pastel can fall safely.

Variations in the colours are due to photographing the work at different times of the day (in poor light)

Wednesday, 24 August 2016


I've really struggled to finish this portrait.    I think I'd kind of taken against the ref/pose and so once I started working on the nose (which isn't terribly clear in the ref) I had lots of problems

I put pastel down, lifted it off with BluTack and just couldn't find the right balance - generally I love eyes and noses but ... I ended up really stressed and had to leave the portrait alone for a day.   I came back to it today which was 'make or break' as it needs to be done by the weekend and I really didn't fancy re-starting it.

I'm now reasonably happy with the likeness and have emailed these 2 pics to my client for comment/approval ... fingers crossed he'll like it.    In anticipation of a good result I've just tidied all my pastels away and dusted the tops in my room - how far can pastel dust travel I wonder?  Certainly over the entire desk, most of the floor area and I notice black fingerprints on doorhandles and light switches ...

In the ref photo, the dog's body is twisted around to his right side (our left as we look at this) and there was one hind leg, some body and tail showing.   I cropped these out to concentrate on the neck/chest area with no distractions.  

I used to do just head/shoulder portraits with no body but a wonderful artist ' Peter Barker' contacted me to ask why I 'truncated' my models ... he didn't understand/like 'floating heads' in portraits.   Since then I've always tried to bring the animal to the bottom/side of the portrait even if its just a faded out/suggestion of body so I don't have a isolated chopped off head ... hence the bit of chest and the orange patches at the top of the legs.

The portrait 'as is'

and with an old (single) mount loosely laid on top to show how the portrait will sit in the picture.     I always supply double mounts with my pastel portraits but didn't want to get one out of its cellophane till its needed.   This will fit a 20" x 16" frame

Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Just a quickie
This is a commission I agreed to take on (despite saying no commission work this year) ... and I'm using pastels on Fisher 400 sanded paper so already getting sore fingers .. I always have to blend with my fingers and usually end up with 'bloody' fingertips when using this paper.

Its a long time since I've used this combination so having an interesting time ...

Its A3 in size so approx 16" x 12"

End of first session

Another hour today

both times I've photographed the work in evening/dull light so the colours are a little 'off' - in reality the Fisher 400 sandpaper is a little more 'golden' in colour.

I'm still at the stage where I'm trying to get all the base colours in but trying very hard not to lose sight of the contours/lines in his face ....

I should be able to do another couple of hours work on this tomorrow so will certainly get all the base colour in and  start reworking the finer detail ...  there will be a very simple background added but haven't decided exactly what to do yet.