Friday, 25 November 2011


I had the pleasure of meeting these girls recently as they live just half hour's drive from me so I'd agreed to take my camera and try to get some photos from which we could compose a portrait as a birthday present for their grandmother.    They are absolutely lovely girls.   The youngest was very lively ... bit like trying to photograph a playful puppy but I managed to get a few usable photos.

I photographed them in pretty dresses/cardigans and then in 'royal blue party frocks' at the request of their Nan who likes the way the dresses bring out the lovely colour of their eyes. So the composition is based on two separate photos of the girls in their 'day clothes' and I'll then draw in the blue dresses.

I'm working to a fairly tight deadline but tomorrow I'll have a break (usual round of visiting the 'Old Ladies' plus my horse is having her feet trimmed so I need to be there to pay the farrier).   Its always a good idea to leave a portrait for a while anyway and come back with fresh eyes and  pick up areas that need tweaking ... I'll do some measuring/gridding to check that I've got all the features in place and the right size etc

Oh ... I should add that I'm using pastel pencils on light grey Clairefontaine Pastelmat.    I've decided I prefer the light grey as it means that white highlights/eyes etc show up more than on the white Fabriano paper I used to favour.   Pastelmat is a heavyweight paper with a ground cork surface which gives a slightly 'soft' finish and takes the pastel well.

These 'work in progress' stages are photographed at different times of day in differing light conditions so the colours aren't true but this will be remedied as I get closer to completing the portrait.

OK ... Stage One.   This is big sister .... 

Stage Two ... little sister added

and a little more advanced .... a 'wash' of blue pastel for the dresses.

Lots more to do ... but just an sample of what I've been working on recently .... I still have the dog on my easel looking accusingly at me but I'll get back to her later next week ...

David decided to start the weekend early by opening a bottle of red wine .... but it was HORRIBLE.    During our recent daytrip to France to stock up on 'essential supplies' he was very pleased to find a particular red wine he loves at a very good discounted price.   We bought quite a lot.   Tonight we realised the wine had been discounted because the corks weren't good and crumbled easily.  The wine wasn't very nice.   We don't have enough of this 'poor' wine to justify another trip to return it to the retailer ... so David's idea is to 'boil' - sorry 'reduce' it down  into a usable quantity for inclusion in  the gourmet meals he expects me to produce ...... first pan full has just been bottled ... watch this space !


Vicki Holdwick said...

This is coming along nicely. What a lovely gift it will make.


Jan/ said...

Sue, your portraits are always outstanding and this is no exception.

Sorry about your wine! I'm sure that was a low blow!

sue said...

Thank you Vicki - its kind of you to comment.

Hi Jan - 'flattery will get you everywhere' .... seriously thanks for your support. and yes, it was definitely a 'low blow' but at least we have some bottled red wine for use in cooking when required. Better than using the good stuff!