I often get sent great qualtiy photos of my client’s pets for their portraits and Bailey’s is no exception.  I’m not always a fan of this view point as the foreshortening can look odd in a painting.  But in some cases it’s a really cute way to fit a big dog into a small picture!  Bailey is a German Pointer cross and those eyes are so soulful.

I hope you enjoy his progress and little of our travels from this week.  We are also in Germany and have been spending the week on the Rhine with some friends we met on our way through Germany last year.

Bailey’s finished portrait 12″x12″ soft pastel

The reference photo sent by my client.  Great detail in his face!

Once I get Bailey drawn out on the light grey velour I start to block in the background.  I have cropped Bailey’s photo to a square and simplified the background to just the grass.  I will also keep this quite loose and distant as I want the detail in Bailey to really pop out at the end.

Building up some texture in the grass.

I start at the top left corner of Bailey and work out some of these oranges and brown tones on his ear.  There are so many shades of orange both coral tones and yellow oranges.  It seems they would clash normally but together the dots and different colours give the impression of his colour.

I use some pastel pencil for the finer detail in the eyes, especially the black areas which I constantly strengthen.  But much of the light marks are done with small shards of the soft pastel.

This week we have been so lucky to enjoy a few days of good weather and great company.  Our friend who has a small boat here took us out for a few days on the Rhine.  It’s a mixture of calm bobbing about, and high speed waves when big ships go past.  Brocci seems to enjoy all modes of transport as long as she’s along for the ride!

The best part of boat life is being able to pull up on small beaches only accessable from the water.  Seems like quite a luxury!

Brocci also got to spend time with Brutus, possibly one of the best dogs I’ve ever met.  Gentle and intelligent, him and Brocci got along quite harmoniously.  This is unusual for Brocci, she’s more of a people person!

But his charms won her over 🙂

I get back to Bailey and work in the other eye.  The eyes are at such a strange angle.  It took me a while when drawing this out to get them angled correctly.

Working in some of the light orange spots on his face.  I put these down darker than required knowing that the light layers will tone them down a bit.

A lovely vibrant blue adds another splash of colour to an already colourful piece.

In the photo Bailey’s nose is very prominent as it’s the closest thing to the viewer.  I want to get lots of detail in the nose so it really seems it is in the foreground. I start by blocking in some of the warm brown tones as a base.

Darkest areas are done in black pastel pencil and I add more colour marks of orange, red and deep purple/brown.  I also use blue for those wet highlights just under the nostrils.

Next some of the lighter dots on the nose start to give it some texture. I also use the darker pastel pencils to push some of the pigment into little straight edged shapes.

Now I work up his muzzle area again putting all the orange/brown areas in first a little darker than required.

I save all the white and Unison grey27 for the left side as we look as that is where the sunlight seems to hit him.  A lot of the muzzle on the right side is a very pale lilac white.  This adds more of a shadow on that side.  Subtle use of cool and warm tones are great for capturing directional light.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog.  Call back soon for more arty travels.  If you’d like more info on commissioning me please have a look on http://www.emmacolbertart.com/art-portraits-pricing/