Ellie came to my house for photographing so I got a real sense of her lively character and loving nature.  I sat her side on to a window so that I would get some nice colourful shadows on the white side of her face, otherwise it just came out as a bright white flat area.  Her owner fancied a blurry green background, which I forgot to make a note of at the time.  This is why I started with a different background which I don’t normally do.  But I got there in the end!
The finished painting of Ellie 10″x12″ pastel on velour
The main photo I worked from.  I’ve lightened the shadow
side of her face a good bit and added a lot of green to her
sheen to tie in better with the background.


Thankfully I was going with minty yellows and
greens anyway so changing the background to
more green was simple enough.  This shows me
blending the pastel into the paper using different degrees
of strength depending on how much you want the
layers of colour to mix.


I love painting black dogs as I can start off with
the very contrasted dark areas and add bright colours
on top for the reflections.



At this stage with the eyes in I’m thinking about what
shades to use on the right shadow side.  Where I took
her photo created a lovely warm glow reflecting on her
white muzzle.  I want that warmth in the painting
but will need to rethink this area when I change the background.


The background changed and I’ve gone around all my
dark edges again feathering them out over the new
background colours.


Back on that shadow side of the face.  I’ve used
pretty vibrant pink and mixed short strokes of
green over that.  I’m also using some cool
grey blue for the highlights on this side of the face.
You could really pick any colours here if the tonality
is correct.  I’m always trying to choose bright contrasts
in these areas and as long as I have a dark, mid and light
tone here it works.  The pink is my dark, the green is
my mid and the icy blue and peach tones are my
shadowed highlights.  The three colours are actually pretty
close in tonality, the way colours representing shades of white
should be.  You can see this better in the close up at the
bottom of the post.



Almost there…just lots of fine hairs to do so looking
for sharp or broken edges of my Unison to do this.
A pastel pencil doesn’t show well over black pastel, but
an edge of a soft pastel makes the marks bright and clean.


Close up of the scan showing the colours
I’ve used on the right of her face.

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