I was asked to paint Clancy the spaniel and Bolt the retriever as a special birthday surprise.  I went to meet and photograph them on a beautiful hazy morning perfect for photographing in the garden.  Hope you enjoy their progress.


The finished painting, pastel on velour 20″x18″
A few of the reference photos I took.  I’ve used a selection to
work from which is quite normal with a group portrait.  It’s
very rare to get one photo of dogs together and I quite like being
able to choose the strongest elements from several images.
Using the yellow velour here is my sketch of the two dogs
marked out.  I initially had Bolt the retriever slightly too high
in the composition and having noticed that at this stage
I redraw him slightly lower.  Luckily I didn’t lean heavily on the
velour initially and could still move things around.


My background is very simple to draw more attention to the dogs.
Their darkness will stand out lovely against the muted background


The first bit of blocking in with black.  A lot of the dog is done
in black first marking in the darkest areas and the flow of the hair.


Using smaller shards of pastel in blues, oranges
and yellows I’ve begun marking in the highlighted
areas.  Because it was such a bright day the sheen
off the coat of a black dog is so contrasted.



Working this day with my own girl on my knee.
She was very unwell during this piece and needed
a bit of attention while recuperating!  Luckily
with pastel I have no colour mixing to do and
can quite easily work with one arm when in the flow
as all my colours are out in front of me.


Using a nice sharp edge on a Unison pastel
to get some small highlights.




Once I get his paws done and the grass up around
them it gives a proper sense of where he’s sitting.




Some pastel pencils are useful for nostrils and
smaller detail around the eyes but it’s very minimal
use as the main colour and strong marks come from
the Unison pastels.







Last bits of grass in the foreground.
Beautifully framed in Art & Home Holywood.
I think this is my favourite use of this frame yet, it just
suits them perfectly!
I really enjoyed these pair.  They were as fun to meet as they were to paint!
For commission info please visit my website www.EmmaColbertArt.com.