I was asked to paint a different version of my ‘Bathing in Buttercups‘ by an artist friend.  She loves bluebells so it seemed the perfect chance to revisit this idea with a different palette to play with.  Hope you enjoy his progress.  I will also be producing a video demoing fur in pastel from this piece.  I just have to get it edited now!

Bathing in BluebellsThe finished painting ‘Bathing in Bluebells’ soft pastel 18″x12″

IMG_20160524_202834Strengthening the lines of my sketch after transferring my intial line drawing onto the velour.  I then use a Pitt pastel pencil to adjust the sketch and add some details ready for painting.

IMG_20160524_180748This shows how much pastel I spread on the back of my initial sketch to transfer it onto the velour.  I rub it well in so that only the places I press on with my pencil on the other side will show without making too much of a mess on the velour.

IMG_20160526_182657Starting to block in the background working from the top down.  I’m working from a reference shot I took of some bluebells and changing elements of it to suit the painting.  It’s great as it has a sense of distance offering me the chance to paint the background very blurry and save some detail for the foreground.

My touring at the minute takes me close to Amsterdam where we spend a couple of days going in to visit the Rijksmuseum, somewhere that has been on my to-do list for years!  It was well worth the trip and I saw so much to wow and inspire!  I’ve picked out three to show you which made my day.

Rijks3‘The Milkmaid’ Vermeer 1658-60
I saw three Vermeers hanging together. They are mind blowing!

Rijks2 ‘Banquet Still Life’ Adrlaen van Utrecht 1644. One of my favourites of the day.  It was like an artist saying ‘look I can paint Anything!’ But I don’t care, it was a riot to look at!

Rijks1 ‘Girl Reading’ known as La liseuse’ Jean Etienne Liotard 1746. My favourite painting of the day and it’s a pastel. This is pastel on vellum and the photo cannot express how deliciously soft yet vibrant this was. Not a speck out of place and skintones like no other.  Wanted to pick this up and take it home!


After some time in a museum you’re always ready to come back to the easel!  I even saw a great giant painting of bluebells which might be of help painting this!

IMG_20160526_221829Working in my u-shaped lounge set up at the back of the motorhome.  It gives me plenty of space to set up and everything is at hand as I work.  I have my daylight lamp running when I work at night and all powered from solar!

IMG_20160527_210825Working on the ears for a while even though I still have much to do to the upper background area.  Sometimes I need a break from the background and to get a feel for the colours in the hare.  I’m using all the same colours from the background with a lot more corally oranges mixed in.

IMG_20160528_201358Ears done and starting to block in a bit of the foreground to get an idea of where the main stalks of the bluebells might be.  It helps me at this early stage to see how he is going to sit in there.

IMG_20160529_143645I’ll not bother writing too much here, instead I’ll direct you to my video tutorial where you can watch the entire face come to life.  I’ll be focusing on how to build up that layered fur.  Video coming soon…

IMG_20160529_150728BathingprogaI always feel like I’m getting somewhere when there is someone looking back!  I love his expression and I’ve tried to give him a bit of mischief on his face.

IMG_20160530_153158Working on down the rest of the body.  The fur here is a bit longer and sticks out a lot!  The light is catching the hare from behind on the left of the painting so I add some lighter hairs around his edges on that side where the light would hit.

IMG_20160530_175324Adding the first of the bluebells in and I’m painfully slow when it comes to fiddly flowers.  Thankfully it’s a thunderstorm here in the Netherlands the day I’m working on these.  I spent the whole day indoors working via daylight bulb listening to some giant move furniture above me!  Brocci doesn’t mind thunder but even she jumped at a few rumbles!

IMG_20160530_193435Making some progress with those bluebells.  I love the effect of having one plane of view in focus while the rest disappears into nothing.  I always stop and take photos of Brocci in flowery places so I have reference photos from this angle, perfect for adding wildlife into.

BathinginBluebellsCloseClose up detail of ‘Bathing in Bluebells’.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my progress on this one.  Please subscribe to and keep an eye on my Youtube channel Emma Colbert Art for my new tutorial video when it’s out.  You will find the first in my series of tutorial videos there on painting a dog’s eye.  Hoping to make many of these 10 minute videos.

Also check out my shop for limited edition giclee prints of this piece HERE!

Sharing a few images here of my tour around the Netherlands. Each new post will have a snippet of my travels included.  Thanks for visiting!