I was asked to paint this gorgeous boy who passed away and I hope I’ve managed to create something special to remember him by.  The photo reference was a lovely shot but only available at low quality so I used other photos of Kona to work the detail.  It also required a bit of squinting at the photo and judging what was there as it was quite grainy when I zoomed in.
We were touring around Connemara in Galway at the time of painting him so I’ve included some shots from the back of the motorhome where I was working as my view most days was pretty spectacular.

The finished painting 20″x16″ pastel on velour
The photo reference.  A lovely shot with great light but only
available at low res.  I added the tips of his ears on to improve
the composition and made the background a bit more plain.
Kona sketched onto the sandy colour velour and the background
being worked in.  I rub in these lower layers quite a lot to make
sure any excess dust is well attached to the paper.  I also tip
my work upside down outside at the end and give it a good knock
from behind to knock excess dust off before framing.


Using the harder Faber Castell black stick for the first layer of fur.
I love painting brindles and short coats with black speckled through.
I start with the black as a way to get the direction of the fur and
build up some tonality first.


I love the lighting in this image.  I’m saving the Grey 27 (a lovely
yellowy white from Unison) for the very brightest highlights.  It’s
really important to decide where the darkest and lightest areas are
early on so you can accurately see all the tones in between.
I’m using the grey 10 (a blue grey Unison) on the shadow side
of his face.


My setting for today’s work…parked up on Mweenish Island
off the coast of Galway.  Beautiful views of the Connemara
mountains while I work.


The sunset that evening was gorgeous and turned the
landscape pink!  This is us parked at the end of a very
long narrow lane.


This is BE6 I’m using.  All the colours I used in Kona
are from my Animal 36 Unison set.  It was the perfect
choice of colours for Kona.  I use Red 2 and Yellow 15
dotted through the fur to give real warmth to his coat.
I also used Grey 8 and Dark 18 from the set for the cooler
shadow areas.  To see the set and these colours check out
my post about the full set and how it can be used here >


Using smaller shards of pastel for the smaller areas


A piece of BE9 from the set.  A nice dull orange
for this shadowed side.


Showing some of the pastels I’m using laid out in front of me.
Brocci reluctantly woke up for a progress shot 🙂

Hope you enjoyed Kona’s portrait coming together.  Check back soon for more work in progress.