I was commissioned to paint Bella from a photograph taken of her inside.  My initial plan was to include the red sofa behind her, but you’ll see from my progress that I changed my mind on the background quite late in the portrait.  I just didn’t think the perspective worked as I had to use some other photos for Bella’s body and sometimes when piecing a few photos together it can look awkward.  I was glad to be able to go over the sofa and tone it down to a nice warm gradient instead.  Hope you enjoy Bella’s progress.  She has such a friendly goofy expression so I hope I captured this.
The finished portrait of Bella 16″x12″ pastel


 This was the original layout of the background.
My feeling was that if Bella were really sitting
in front of this chair’s arm then she would be much
taller.  Her body in the actual photo reference was
coming in from the side and was a strange pose
so I decided to use her face from one image and her
body from another showing her sitting.
 At this point I know I have issues with the
background but I worked on as I was still
not quite sure why it wasn’t working.
 Using lovely purples and blues on the sheen
of Bella’s coat.  I use very small marks running
in the direction of Bella’s hair.


At this point I made the decision to change the
background.  It was easy enough to cover over and
I made sure to go around Bella again making all the
small hairs feathered around her outline.
Hope you enjoyed Bella’s progress.  I think it’s always interesting to see the journey of a painting even when it doesn’t go to plan!  The beautiful thing about pastel is how you can re-work something and change direction midway without too much hassle.