These pair were such a fun challenge.  There are always challenges to working with white dogs and they also gave me a good run around a very large garden when I went to photograph them.  But after they had tired out a bit, and the soft hazy sun we had was just right I managed to get a few in focus photos.  Well all in focus but Snowie’s tail which was wagging!

Hope you enjoy the progress…

‘Snowie and Toby’ Pastel on velour 14″x18″


I pieced together 2 individual photos to create this composition and
now my outline is transferred from my sketch onto the yellow velour.
I chose yellow velour as there is a lot of green and it will give the dogs
a nice warm underglow.


The background is going to be very dark blurry foliage so I’ve
darkened down the top section and added some loose green
and purple marks to hint at a hedge.



Working forward from dark to light in tone I’m trying to bring
the foreground grass more into focus as we come forward in
the composition.  This use of blur really creates a nice bokeh
photographic effect but also allows some nice looser marks
to the piece where there is a lot of detail elsewhere.


Using a selection of off-white colours as well as a deep fleshy pink
and shades of light purples I build up what will be the shadow side
of the dog.  The tail was a few loose marks which I’ve rubbed round in
that circular motion dragging it into the background.  Velour is so
perfect for this effect but you need to have quite a few layers down to
work it in this way.


I use Faber Castell sticks and pastel pencils for smaller detail.
I’ve just put the coat markings down loosely with the big soft
Unison pastels.  I’ll go back later and neaten their edges.


Working down the body I’m constantly re-highlighting the right
side of the dog.  I want this side to gleam the way it does when
sun hits it.  The shadow side can have more of the purples showing
the definition of the curls.


I’ve made it the whole way down but need to go back and loosen
up areas while neatening up others.  I will also re-do the highlight
side again, always bringing it a step brighter than the rest.
When working with so much light pastel in front of a dark background
I find I constantly have to clean light dust off it.  But this is easily done
and rubbing the dark areas again just smudges them more making
them look more distant so it’s fine.


Snowie is finished.  Onto Toby.  I’ve now got the colours I’ve used
for Snowie sitting out so I’m probably quicker on Toby.  His wee face
is quite different to Snowie and he’s got that tongue just poking
out which is so cute and something he does all the time.


Like with Snowie I want to really make the highlighted side


This area of Toby’s back which you can see in my photo reference
to the left is what makes the two white dogs look really white in the
picture.  Because of it their shadow areas make more sense.


You can really see the lovely shades from Unison in the fronts of
Toby’s legs.  Little hints of green here and there as they’re reflecting
that green grass as well as the sky.


Close up of finished portrait.  This is Snowie and you can really
see all the shades that go into painting a white dog.