Happy New Year!

This was my Christmas creation for this year sent to everyone on my email list, inspired by the unseasonably warm weather and the appearance of daffs in the beds around my studio, and sung to the tune of...

Rudolph the red nosed reindeer

Had his share of Christmas chills

This year with global warming

He's even sprouting daffodils!

Wishing you a healthy, prosperous and creative 2016!

Pastel Portrait of Bingo

A very cute pose of a beloved dog called Bingo, sitting up for his owner. His portrait needs to be ready so he can join them again for Christmas as he recently passed away. He already has a place reserved for him on a pillar and the final framed size needs to be 30 x 40cm, which means the portrait size is in between A4 and A3. I chose a warm neutral brown Ingres Pastel Paper and sketched the main proportions of the head and body. I started to put in the highlighted areas with my soft pastels and then decided to work with the shadows to create the shape of the fur. Because of the texture of Bingo's fur I chose to use pastel pencils for the majority of the portrait, using each layer of colour to be blended by the tip of my pencil rather than my finger or a blending stick. For the finishing touches I sharpened my pastel pencils and emphasized the outline with flicking out stray hairs and making sure the overall portrait balanced tonally and had the right amount of texture, also that I captured that little spark of personality!

Pastel Portrait of Saffy the Siamese

Another Christmas portrait from a past customer is being worked on in my studio. This is Saffy - a sleek Siamese with a wry smile. I chose a blue/grey midtone Murano pastel paper to sketch her onto before choosing the lighter tones to apply and blend as a base coat. Then I applied the darks and golden colours and pushed the pastel into the tooth of the paper which has a honeycomb texture if left unblended. Next I worked on the ears and the main part of the face adding in some subtle colours and tones. With these blended using a silicone tipped shaper I started work on the texture of the coat. I switched to pastel pencils as it's a relatively small A4 size portrait, and flicked in greys, creams, whites and yellows into the lighter areas. These were blended using the lighter pencils so the marks remain. I put some golden colours into the face and added some darks on top. Finally I have gone darker on the face as the other photos show her slightly older and this is how the owner wanted to remember her. I have also widened her eyes so you get transfixed by her blue stare and added whiskers!