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.


Jan said...

He looks so sad, Sue! Also, here in the US, Doberman ears are cropped which I think is a cruel practice so nice to see real Dobbie ears!

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

looks good, lovely eyes :)

why do you not use paper stumps or blenders with the paper? I love the paper, but I use coloured pencils on it so maybe you can't use blenders with pastel?

Sue Clinker said...

Hi Jan
In the UK we don't tend to crop ears (and thankfully we're also moving away from cropping tails on some breeds)but I agree that the relaxed ears make the dogs look a little sad, or at least less alert. The client's refs are taken looking down on the dog slightly but they like this angle, despite my misgivings, so that's how I'm portraying him. I feel it makes the face look a bit too long and the nose too big but ... hey/ho ... I'll do as asked LOL

Hi Jennifer
I use paper stumps/sponge blenders on pastelmat and other surfaces but they get ripped up pretty quickly on Fisher 400/sandpaper I find - doesn't that happen to you? It may be because I'm mainly working with pastel pencils rather than soft pastels so progress is slower and the pigment isn't being laid down so thickly?

But I can cope with 'bloody stumps' every now and then so long as I don't bleed onto the artwork.. Suex

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

I use the cheap stumps so if they don't last long that is ok lol also use hardish plastic modelling brushes that I find work well if I put down a lot of pigemnt. haven't actually used pastels on the paper lol, prob should try it when I by some again.

If I used my fingers, the art work would be more blood then art blagh :p TMI :p

Jan said...

Sue, I use the pastel 'shapers'( to blend with too. They're like hard-ish rubber or something and can be wiped off. (I don't have the double ended ones but they look intriguing!) But mostly I learned to blend with a hard pastel instead of anything else. I just use the pastel pencils too so know all methods work with them.

There's so much available that you don't need to rub off your fingerprints unless you just want to!

Sue Clinker said...

Do they work on sandpaper though Jan? Fisher 400 is quite abrasive and it shreds paper/sponge shapers. I will take a look at the link you supplied and see if we can buy similar products here.

I use an old paintbrush to help spread the colour but that also lifts a lot from the paper and makes a lot of dust - hence I usually revert to using my fingers (very gingerly)

Jo said...

Coming along nicely Sue. Isn't there something else you can use instead of your finger tips?

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

those colour shapers do work on fisher but you need a lot of pigemt down for them to work well

Bev said...

Hi Sue, he is taking shape very nicely. I know what you mean about the angle, still....if that's what they want!
I also use Fisher 400 and use my fingers, I try not to press too hard when blending but maybe I just have tough skin on my finger tips as the sand paper doesn't really bother me too much. I have tried every blending tool that I know about and then some, nothing works like fingers for larger areas such as the background, many tools just end up removing the pastel rather than blending. I do use harder, paler colours (pencils) for detail blending if required.

Sue Clinker said...

Hi Bev. Thanks for commenting.
The ref. photos are reasonably clear but its the angle they're taken at that bothers me. I asked for more photos taken from eye level or even below the dog slightly but this is what they want.

Apparently the dog is very ill so I don't want to keep pressing them ... I've explained my concerns that 'what looks OK in a photo may look a little odd in a portrait' and they're quite happy with that.

Sadly, I'm finding it hard to stay motivated though but will make a big effort to finish it today ... or tomorrow.

Now I've had a couple of days away from it the fingertips are ready for another session .... fingerprints are much over-rated anyway!

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

and you could rob an art store and they wouldn't find any finger prints :p

CrimsonLeaves said...

How gorgeous, Sue! I really love the spaniel too!