I was asked to create a triple portrait of three children from photos taken many years ago.  I have painted the little boy in the middle a while ago and the family’s story was so touching.  I hope this portrait will be a much loved memorial of Ian and that his sisters will like what I have done to capture them together.


The finished portrait 18″x11″ soft pastel.

p1I have my line sketch transferred onto the sandy coloured velour.  In the beginning I was going to do a subtle gradient in the background but later decided to go lighter and covered this over as I worked across the piece.

p2We are currently touring around Europe and we are in Holland for a while.  This is my studio set up in the back of the camper’s u-shaped lounge.  It makes a perfect work area and I lay all my pastel boxes around me.  Although soon I will have my palette chosen for this piece and will only need to take out a tray or two to work from.

p3The underpainting stage where I start to lay in some of the deeper tones which will later blend into the highlights.

p4Starting to bring in some lighter tones and gradually pick out the features by where the light is hitting them.

p5p6Using smaller pieces of pastel for smaller detail on the skin.

p7p8p9p10Almost there with the first child and happy with the result.  Working from multiple differently lit photos is a bit tricky so I hope I can make them all look well together.


p26At this point we were parked up at Leidsevaart along a canal which led from one tulip field to another.  What a beautiful spot and we managed to arrive here in a heatwave!

p11It’s definitely a lot harder to work indoors when the sun is shining but it’s good to have a helper nearby!

p12Starting the same process with the little boy’s skin.  Building up layers and blending as I go.

p13Those all important eyes which hold so much of a person’s character.  I spend a lot of time on eyes and a piece with three pairs to get right is a challenge!

p14p15By the time it comes to evening light on this day I have most of his face done just ready for hair and his jumper. Time for a Facebook update and then dinner!

p16p17Cleaning up from the outside of the lines to really make the children jump out from the background.


p27At this stage in the week we are staying at a campsite within close distance to Amsterdam.  We take a daytrip on the train into the city to buy a second hand bicycle at the markets and hit lucky with a great one!  Brocci had her first trip on the train today and then her first crazy spin around the city.  I must give her full credit for being a wee star and taking all the madness in her stride!

p19Another day and another face 🙂

p20Brocci keeps me company all morning and I think she’s secretly happy we aren’t off on an adventure like yesterday’s!  Time for her to snooze and for me to get some work done.

p22p24p28Thought I would share a view of the front part of the camper where I come to take tea breaks and chill out.  It’s not a bad living space and when you couple it with nice weather and the ability to live outdoors more it really is excellent!  We managed to get some pictures hung and it really feels like home now.  The pictures are just some framed postcards of woodcuts by Escher one of my favourite artists.  And he is Dutch!

Thanks for stopping by my blog.  I hope to be able to incorporate a little of my travels into my art blogs in future 🙂