Flint was the second of two portraits created for one family and gifted this Christmas. Both pieces were done from older photo reference as the dogs have passed away. But I sometimes like the challenge of finding something within the photos to create a lasting memory for them.
I hope you enjoy his progression and a little of our travels from before Christmas.

Flint’s finished portrait. 12″ x 12″ soft pastel on velour.

The photo reference I worked from for Flint. I also had a range of other photos to see his eyes more clearly.

As always I’ve got my line sketch onto the velour. Because of the darkness of the background in the photo I suggested going with a neutral background on this one to have Flint really stand out. Here I’ve started to block in some of the darks and work on that left ear. It helps me to decide on some of the colours I’ll use throughout his coat.

There are lots of lovely dusky blues and lilacs to create his highlights and some lighter yellowy whites and blues for the very brightest highlights on the coat. I’ve also strengthened up the outline of his eyes here ready for working those. Although the shape of them is clear in the photo, the light reflection in his eyes is something I’ll have to work around.

I could see from the other photos he had really rich chocolatey brown eyes. I always start with tones a little more vibrant as they will dull slightly with the next layers.Both eyes in and I’ve kept the reflections quite simple as if they are coming from one light source. I think it’s enough to give them life but show more of the brown tones.

As I continue to build up the fur my marks get smaller and more refined.

We have been camped out down by Tariffa’s long beach at Valdevaqueros.  We love it here, as do the dogs. There are a variety of places to park up, sometimes with other campers like here.  We spent Christmas day here and lots of us brought our tables and chairs together beside the beach to eat our Christmas dinner. Unfortunately it rained on us, not these glorious blue skies as it was on the run up to Christmas!

Both Hairy Maclary and Brocci love it here too. The beach and other campers to explore and meet. It’s the perfect dog’s life!

The waves and sunsets are a constant entertainment. Lots of pictures for future inspiration!

The last keen kite surfer off home for the day. I’m so impressed by the people who do this but also quite terrified by the sight of them all in their dozens, slicing through the waves metres from eachother. Accidents do happen often here apparently, it’s an extreme sport for sure. Think I’ll stick to slightly safer activities!

I get back onto Flint and I always love to get the nose in as it gives a real 3D element to the piece now.

The more I darken in, the more Flint takes shape. There is a lot of darkness down below his chin and on his chest, however I use Photoshop to lighten the photograph to pick out a little more detail on the fur in there. A mixture of Unison Grey8 and some lilac purples create the lovely tones around his muzzle. The client asked that I made him look a little less grey around the mouth, but I wanted to allow enough hightlights here to give that velvety texture.

Using Grey 8 here for the first layer of fur after the bottom layer of black. These first marks are big and loose but in the same grain and direction of the fur.

When it comes to adding the smaller marks over these, I use much smaller pieces of pastel. After a few layers like this with blending in between, the fur builds up depth.

Here is a picture of both finished pieces together with the best model. The pieces are both 12″ and this size looks so lovely when framed up.

Many thanks for visiting my blog. If you have a commission in mind, have a look on http://www.emmacolbertart.com/art-portraits-pricing/ for more information. If you’re after some more tuition in pastel, check out my Youtube channel www.youtube.com.emmacolbertart for real time tutorials.