Monday 25 February 2013

25/02: MY COVER IS BLOWN ....

Well not exactly ... I'd been quite sparing with the WIP updates sent to my client as I prefer to wait till portraits (particularly multiple subjects) are a little more advanced to avoid giving the client palpitations .... most of my 'artist friends' will know of the 'ugly stages' that drawings/paintings go through till they start to come together ....

The family group portrait has been approved and my client told me tonight that he'd been secretly following my Blog and seeing the updates that I thought I'd spared him.     I had purposefully posted the portrait photos as secondary items as its always the first photo on a Blog post that shows on searches and I never 'name names' for the same reason - they might just show up on a Google search. 

For that very reason I'll just pop this picture in first.    Whilst waiting for feedback on the family portrait I switched back to pastels to start on this commission which will be winging its way to Singapore.   Its one of three portraits I'll be undertaking for the same lady.  This one probably has the poorest references as the main ref. photo is very small.  I have other supporting ref. pictures showing eye/coat colour but they are photographed looking down on the dog which isn't the best angle.

Here's where I ended tonight:   I'm working on light grey pastelmat and using a selection of pastel pencils.  The photograph is a bit dark, partly because I'm using the old camera and also because I photographed it just as we were losing the daylight at home.

As usual, I started with the eyes.   In the ref. photo I can't really see the dog's left eye clearly so will be improving on this as I progress.   Just a case of marking the darkest/lightest areas of the coat at the moment and blocking in the nose area.

The other 2 portraits for this client have better refs.  One is a grey horse and the other a beautiful dog (with excellent ref photos so I'm saving that as a treat for last)!

Anyway, the family group portrait will be lightly sprayed with fixative tomorrow and then any minor adjustments made.  I'll be getting the mount cut by local framer in the week and the portrait will be off as a surprise for 'mum' very soon. 

S*d's law ... my new camera's battery charger stopped working a couple of days ago.  I now have two very dead batteries and am unable to use my camera until the manufacturer sends me a replacement.    I've had to use the old camera for recent update photos and its been a struggle remembering how it works .... Both cameras are Pansonics but the new one is SO much better.

This was the final update sent to my client but I had to adjust the colours in Paint.Net.   The end result is a little darker than the original but I think the colours are pretty true otherwise.

Tomorrow afternoon/evening I have to hang pictures at the local Gallery where they will be on exhibition as part of the 'Made in Whitstable' Spring Showcase.    I haven't decided yet which ones will go ... tomorrow when adrenaline kicks in I'll be laying lots of them out on the floor working out a hanging plan and dusting the ones that have been hanging in my studio for a while.   The plan is to have a 'mini sale' and clear a bit of space to make room for newer works.   Fingers crossed for a good exhibition!


  1. the portrait looks great, will be such a wonderful gift :)

    great eyes on the dog :D very lifelike :)

  2. Yeah, I want to pat the doggy. It is certainly coming on well. You are very good with eyes Sue.

    Portrait looks good too. Interesting he has been following your blog.

  3. Great finish on the portrait, Sue, but your "ugly stages" are never really ugly! That portrait is very touching and I'm sure the mum will be very pleased.

    Great start on the dog. Too bad the ref isn't better but you're doing a super job in spite of it.

  4. It is a lovely portrait and I have looked back to see how it came together. At least your client didn't tell you and had the good patience to watch from afar. Every one I have every done where the client knew, I have had comments about something, somewhere not being right which freaks me out let alone them. For that reason I stopped doing work in progress until I have actually finished...I work better when I am truly relaxed. Lovely skin tones, fabulous texture to the jumper and you have caught that wonderful element of tenderness between them all :)

  5. Thanks Jennifer. I believe the plan is to present the portrait as a Mother's Day gift .... hope mum is happy with the portrait.

    Cheers Jo.
    Working with pastels is much faster than coloured pencil and is better suited to pics like this where I haven't got as much detail to work from.

    I enjoy switching from one medium and subject to another as it stops me getting stale.

  6. thanks Chrissy.
    For some reason I had a few comments arrive in my inbox tonight that are out of sequence.

    I wasn't ignoring you, just that your message only showed up at 9pm this evening - stuck in cyberspace somewhere.

    I feel I need to show WIP photos to prove I'm getting on with the job but I know just what you mean.

  7. LOL to your cover being blown and that he has secretly been following the progress. You have captured a very special moment and I know it will be treasured for ever!
    Beautiful start on a beautiful dog as well :)

  8. Thanks Peggy. I will be working on the dog again Thursday and Friday so will have more progress pics then.


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