I was asked to create a painting from a client’s photo and what a photo
it was!  I just loved the pose of this pair and although the photo
reference had a slight bit of blur I thought it would be possible to get
enough detail to make the painting work.  I also love portraits that
are set on a sofa as it creates texture and colour in the backdrop. Hope
you enjoy their progress.
The finished painting 18″x14″ Pastel on velour


This is my line drawing transferred onto the light yellow velour which I’ve mounted as always on Xtra tak self adhesive Daler Rowney board.

Working on the sofa backdrop adding in the darkest areas first.  I will go back over these darks again and again throughout the painting to make them really contrasted and dark.  Many artists avoid using black.  I like using it at times like this in areas of extreme darkness.  I will often overlay other colours on black to add more depth and richness but there are times when dense black is very useful.

I start to add more colour and reflection to the sofa.  Lots of blues and purples for where the daylight is hitting the shiny seat and also warm browns and orange where Mishka’s warmth is reflected.


Working on Mishka now.  With the background already in I can make all her edges soft and feathery using small edges of the pastels to create the short hairs.  There are so many colours in a German Shepherd.  From navy blue to many shades of vibrant orange.

This pair have such sweet expressions as they eye eachother up.  I want to capture this moment they shared and I imagine it didn’t last long in reality!  I love photos like this that capture a wee moment and what a moment this was to preserve!

Using lots of yellows which will contrast so lovely against the purple of the sofa.  In this one painting the main contrasts I’m using are the blue/orange and purple/yellow combinations.  Unison pastels work so well as a palette and all their colours just sing together!

Working on down Mishka keeping the same palette as in her face.  I’m also using bits of the blues and purples I used in the sofa.  It’s good to keep using the same colours in the background as it ties the whole image together nicely.

Getting a bit more detailed now on Mishka.  I work on her neck before adding her nose and muzzle in.  This makes sense to me as her chest is behind her muzzle.



Starting work on little Silver.  Because she is so small and the photo is a bit blurred on her area I’m doing what I can to bring her into focus without getting to fiddly with details.


The one detail I am very particular about is a reflection in an eye.  I broke a pastel by accident and this miniscule fragment flew off.  It was tricky to hold it but it did provide me with a tiny point to add a little light reflection on Silver’s eye.

That is me finished now and they are heading off to the framers soon.  I hope Mishka and Silver’s humans like the finished result.
Thanks for visiting my blog!


Mishka and Silver in their frame now and hanging pride of place