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


Jan said...

You've done your usual magnificent finish from such a mediocre reference! The owners better like this!

Jennifer Rose Phillip said...

the mount really finishes it nicely and you have done a good job with an odd angle to draw for a pet portrait :)

Sue Clinker said...

Thank you Jan and Jennifer.
Haven't heard back from my client but just about to turn in for the night now so hopefully will get an email tomorrow.

Can't believe how much I struggled with this one. Need a straightforward picture now to restore the confidence!!