Sunday, 11 December 2011


Two weeks today till Christmas Day ............... OK that's over with then :-)

Three weeks today till we fly off to our house on Sunny Fuerteventura for some R&R after the hectic couple of months we've had in the run up to Christmas (portrait work and voluntary jobs).

I'm happy with how my Christmas portrait workload has gone, especially as I slotted an extra one in at short notice! 

Although I've shown some Work-In-Progress photos on my blog I'm reluctant to add the subjects' names in case they show in a Google search ... so just to say that the portrait of the  beautiful rescue dog shown in my last Blog, has been approved and packaged up today ready to be posted next week.   I use Royal Mail Special Delivery service which guarantees delivery before noon the day after despatch (and provides insurance)

The 'daughter & dog' portrait finally got signed,  framed and packaged today ready for delivery to the local seafront Hotel who will hold it for my client till he visits Kent with his family in January.   Unfortunately I will be away (in the sunshine) so won't get to meet him on this occasion although he has hinted at another project in the future so we'll no doubt meet up then :-)  

Here's the photo of the cocker spaniel I emailed for critique/approval today.

I've been asked to remove the brown colour from her chest fur (no longer there following a bath today) and to remove the collar and brighten one of the white areas ... these are all minor 'tweaks'  and easy to do before the pastel is 'fixed' but I'll wait till tomorrow and make the adjustments when the light is better.

Whilst waiting to hear back regarding the spaniel's portrait I made a start on the next dog portrait (not necessarily required for Christmas).     I received a  photograph in the post showing the dog in the pose my client wants me to use but the photo  is bleached and its not possible to see much detail in eyes/nose/mouth etc .. I've also been provided with some digital photos by email from which I can extract the details I need.

I sketched the dog in graphite on Fisher 400 sanded paper then realised the fur/hair colour really wasn't going to stand out very well against the colour of the support so I have coloured the background slightly using Pan Pastels (generously supplied by Colorfin for me to trial)  this will be adjusted as necessary as the portrait progresses.

Very early days yet ... but as usual I needed to see some features (eyes in particular) which to me gives the portrait personality as I work on it ...  its a very basic sketch but I'm happy with the sizes/measurements/placement of the major features

I've started adding some colour to the ears and nose but at this stage I'm sitting next to my computer flitting between the various emailed  reference photos to check detail.    In the hard copy photo showing the required pose, the dog has his Winter Coat and locks of stray hairs are obscuring one of his eyes, so there's a lot of artistic licence being used in this portrait .... I'm enjoying the challenge.

He is another rescue dog ... so nice to hear the happy endings for these lovely dogs/cats/horses who haven't had the best starts in life.


Kyla Marie Hynes said...

looking great!, lots of personality in their faces :)

Jennifer Rose said...

always a struggle when you have to use photos that are not very good. love the fur on his ears :D

and don't remind me of xmas :p ba humbug :p

sue said...

Thanks Kyla ... early days yet :-)

Hi Jennifer. Whilst the main 'pose' photo isn't very clear its good enough for me to outline the dog and I've got several additional photos (digital pics) which show the important features clearly ... its quite nice to work this way sometimes so I'm not slavishly copying a photo - makes me think more about what I'm doing :-)

Jan/ said...

Wonderful, Sue! I especially like the Rottie mix (?) and the little rescue with the fly-away fur! Can't wait to see it finished.

Have a wonderful time in Fuerte but don't forget us all shivering away here in the cold! Know the internet there is iffy but check in when you can!

sue said...

Thanks Jan. My first thought was Rottie mix when I saw the refs but her owner feels she is some sort of Collie mix with Gordon Setter thrown in - whatever her breeding she was apparently a wonderful character and will be sorely missed.

Looking forward to getting some sunshine Jan - The first few weeks of the new year are always a bit depressing in England I think ... till the snowdrops and daffodils start to come through

Bev said...

Hi Sue, Have you ever had a disaster with a framed picture in the post? I send mine unframed as I am worried that the glass will break during transit....or do you frame with perspex (or similar)?

Have a good rest in the sun, you lucky thing!

sue said...

Hi Bev.

Yes I had the glass smashed on a framed Christmas Commission (2009) and found out the hard way that despite paying increased insurance no carrier covers glass breakage (just damage caused as a result of breakage)

Although that was the first 'disaster' in several years I will now only frame pictures that can be delivered or collected. My portraits are all supplied in mounts which will fit standard 'off the shelf' frames should the client not want to have a frame specially made.

I also had the glass broken on one of my exhibits for the Birmingham UKCPS exhibition - I do pack very carefully but obviously some carriers aren't as careful as they should be. I know some of my 'fellow bloggers' have similar experiences.

I don't like the appearance of perspex so don't use it.

Yep ... I'm looking forward to some sunshine and warmth :-)