This is a special Christmas commission of a gorgeous couple of collies.  Painted from a mixture of photo reference belonging to the client as one dog has passed away.

Although my preference is to have the clearest possible photo reference to work from, some of my favourite pieces have been produced from limited photos.  I think the idea that a painting can produce a memory that exists but not quite in the photos, is the reason I like the challenge of a difficult job. Perhaps it takes away the possible mundanity of merely painting a photo for like.

The finished painting 20″x14″ pastel on velour.


My initial line sketch of the collies and the trees transferred onto the
yellow velour.  I don’t plan to use any white in this so the yellow
paper will keep it nice and warm and add to the lush greenery.


Working from dark to light and using the softness
of the velour to create the soft edges in the background
trees and foliage as the light shines through.


Lots of shadows on the floor of the forest
and using a mixture of Unison with a few from the dark
range of my new Terry Ludwig set.  I’m often asked to
compare these two brands and now I’ve tried them both
I can see the appeal!  The Terry Ludwigs are rich in pigment,
square edged, and come in a beautiful selection of colours.
I am so pleased to have them as part of my collection!
My Unison are still my trusty tools though.  Also rich
in pigment, a lot of stick for your money, superb range of
colours, they still come out on top for me as a resident
in the UK.



Working from background to foreground often
from left to right.  Sometimes I work an image
in a more flowing way, but when there are such
definite planes of field, I like to tackle them
individually and layer them up.







Because the photographs of the two dogs were
not very detailed I tried to make them a part of the
landscape as opposed to my usual portrait setting
showing the animal in detail.  I’ve used the same colours
in the coats of the collies as I used in the rest of the
surroundings, especially the rich dark purples.



Unison Grey 27 is my favourite white highlight
these days.  A lovely buttery yellow white perfect
for keeping that warmth.






Almost there…just to work the foreground.



Beautifully framed at Art & Home Holywood
with Clarity glass giving the glass an invisible appearance.


Close up of the collies