Monday, 17 June 2013


Although Midsummer is a little 'tongue in cheek' given the grim weather we've been experiencing this month....

Friday is the longest day of the year so surely Summer will arrive soon?

Anyway,    Happy Birthday to special friends Di and Jenni who have just had birthdays ... mine is on Thursday.  In the past we've had a joint celebration BBQ or similar but I don't think that will happen this year as we all seem to be busy with different projects ..... Gemini Ladies all of us!

The cat portrait has been approved and I've now sprayed it lightly with fixative so it will be packed up tomorrow and mailed on Wednesday for delivery Thursday.   The recipient's birthday is at the end of June so I hope she likes her surprise.  My client is hoping for plenty of Brownie points   :-)

This is an early stage photo of one of the current dog commissions.    Basic outline sketched out and, as usual, I made a start on the eyes.    As this is pastel on sanded paper the pastel dust tends to travel a little and dull the early stages of work ... but I'll be tweaking and updating throughout.   

I love Fisher 400 sanded paper but it is very cruel on the fingertips for artists like me that like to blend pastel manually - but I guess you could say we 'suffer for our art' and at least I don't have to amputate parts of my anatomy (poor Van Gogh)

Not much to see at the moment but just wanted to show that I've made a start.   In case you hadn't worked it out yet, this is a handsome spaniel and I'm looking forward to the challenge of those beautiful ears!


  1. I've always wished I could handle pastels, but every time I try, they smudge so awfully. You make it look so easy and it seems the perfect medium for drawing animals. I love those eyes you've got on this dog. I'm excited to see it progress!

  2. Glad the puss cats were accepted. I will be interested to watch the progression of this spaniel. They do have lovely ears don't they?

    Pity you won't be celebrating together. Always fun to do.

    By the way, let me know how your lamb turned out.

  3. Great start, Sue and you do make it look easy!

  4. Thanks Katherine. I do enjoy working with pastels but agree you get much finer detail with coloured pencil or graphite ... just that coloured pencil takes me so much longer!

  5. Hi Jo
    Yes I'm looking forward to starting on the ears. I sketch a few hairs in at the beginning but then 'go with the flow' as it were.

  6. Hello Jan
    What's happened to your profile picture? I nearly missed your post :-) Invisible lady?

  7. its now thought he lost his ear in a dual, that he didnt cut it off.
    either way, ouch

  8. Either way Jennifer, you'll sympathise about suffering for your art .... how many times have you slipped with the knife when doing linocut prints ???

  9. lol many many times :p can't even say using pencils is safer since i have pieces of lead stuck in my hand :p

  10. As long as you don't bleed on your work! Beautiful eyes already. Oooo can't wait to watch the ears unfold :)

  11. Hi Peggy
    Thanks for commenting. I alternate 'blending' fingers as much as possible but always need a break after finishing a portrait on Fisher 400 paper to allow fingertips to recover. I've tried gloves, blending tools, brushes etc but nothing works the same way as fingertips!

  12. I commented but something went wrong so hopefully you won't get two! LOL
    I absolutely love this painting so far and truly look forward to seeing the progression of this painting, Sue!! Also, Happy Birthday!!! My birthday is June 20th !!! Enjoy your day!!!

  13. Hi Hilda
    What a coincidence!!!

    Happy Birthday to both of us. Hope you have a wonderful day.

  14. I saw your painting...OMGosh, I can see why it was Best in show....You did an amazing portrait, Sue!!!
    Congratulations! What's the size of that painting?

  15. Hi Hilda
    It isn't huge ... around 12" x 16". The pictures on the right of my Blog are in 'Gallery' mode, a programme I stumbled across a couple of years back 'just for fun'

    I like to see how different people interpret the same ref. photo. Even more so when different media is used as the pastel gives a softer overall finish that cps doesn't it.


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