This portrait was completed from the client’s own photo reference which made life very easy for me as the photo was lovely.  I just had to remove a human and crop a little!

The finished painting, pastel on velour 14″x18″


View of my studio with my light yellow velour mounted onto
xtra tak mount board, sketch transferred onto the paper.  I like to
clean the pastels after use and put them away so I know where
everything is when starting something new.  Spending the time
colour organising pays off in the long run! My desk is something
I get asked about all the time.  It’s IKEA, not expensive and so
perfect for pastelling with that under glass top storage.


The background is quite simple, blurry bits
are quicker to do!  I can paint quite loosely filling
in the darkest areas first with the lighter colours
going on top.



Starting to lay down some shadows and areas of
colour.  I’m so unsure about horse portraits as I don’t
do them all the time like dogs, so I spend more time
just looking and figuring out what is going on
under that coat!  The coat itself is an array of
different browns and I use the ears as a place
to try out different shades until I get a few that
look right.


Still lots of trial and error on the colour.  I’m trying to see
the lower layers of the coat and put that down first.


Starting to join those areas between the muscles up.
Still working with the darker shades and moving
things around.


Finally some of my highlights start to give form to
the face.


Velour is a lovely surface for animal portraits and
especially horses I think as it feels quite
like a horse’s soft muzzle.



Onto the detailing on the straps.  Pastel pencil is
great for defining these areas and I use the bigger
Unison pastels for the main colours.  I can neaten it up
after with a pastel pencil or blender.


Hope you enjoyed the progress of this.  I feel I learned a lot from this commission so I hope I get to put it into practise with some more horses in the near future!