On my easel as I travel this week has been an adorable trio.  I went to photograph these children for their portrait and they were a delight!  Full of smiles and giggles.  Hope you enjoy my progress here along with some of my travel pics.  I have been close to the Belgium border this week in more rural areas of Germany.  The little towns here are very picturesque!

Finished Portrait of Three ChildrenThe finished portrait 12″x18″ soft pastel on velour.

Reference PhotosMy photo reference for the portrait.  I took many photos but these were the choice of my clients.  I used the other photos to help me piece together this composition including Charlie’s hand which came from one of the other photos.  It took a while to cut and paste the photos in Photoshop to come up with an arrangement that worked.

Step1My sketch transferred onto the velour and I’m ready to start the children.  I’m leaving the background of this very neutral to allow the children to really stand out.  Just a gentle gradient from left to right to accentuate the shadow side of their faces.

Step2A start made on Charlie.  Working skintones on velour is all about building up fine layers and blending gently.

Step3Some features starting to take shape.

Step4Step5I love painting stripey clothing as it gives a real sense of form.  I use a midtone blue for the stripes and then add the darker areas and highlights where needed.

Step6The white is saved for the brightest areas on the top where the light is hitting.  The white stripes on the right shadow side are mostly shades of light blue.

Step7Working those denim dungarees and I love the little pooch on his front.  A simple little shape but I think he really adds to the overall portrait.

Step8Almost there with the first child and I’ll leave the rest of his other arm until I have the clothing behind it done as I want my edges to sit nicely on top.

Alsdorf Tier ParkWe have been staying near a beautiful animal park in Alsdorf this week while we get some work done on our van.  It gave me plenty of opportunity to go and photograph some more unusual animals and I hope to use some of the reference I got for future paintings.  Always on the lookout for another painting idea!

Alsdorf Tier ParkAlsdorf Tier ParkAlsdorf Tier ParkAlsdorf Tier ParkAlsdorf Tier ParkA few of my favourite pictures from the week.  The owl and peacock have caught my eye in particular!

Step9Onto the sweet girl in the middle.  Starting by blocking in some of the darker tones.

Step10The highlights on the sunlit side really make the face start to take shape.

Step11Step12After much tweaking at the face I work the hair a little more.

Step13Onto her dungarees.  Love the style in this portrait as all the children’s clothes will work so nicely together.  Always a good idea when possible to think about the clothing in a portrait.  The colours will affect the overall piece so much!

Step14Step15Working Charlie’s arm now that the dungarees are in behind.  Using my lovely Unison sticks and you can see some of the colours I have out in my tray.

BaesweilerBrocci and I taking in the view in Baesweiler, Germany.  Still waiting on parts for the van so we make good use of the time to explore the surrounding countryside.  That’s Baesweiler behind me.  I thought we’d never get outa that town as nice as it was!  Glad to be back on the move now, van sorted!

BaesweilerAndrew on top of the world in Baesweiler.  Stunning 360 views for hundreds of miles!

Step16On to cute face number three

Step17She has such a sweet giggle!

Step18Starting to think about hair colour.  I always put down stronger colours first as these will shine through my later layers.

GemündWe arrived in a small town called Gemünd which is on the edge of Eifel National Park.  The drive here felt like a descent into the jungle as we drove down steep valleys covered in trees and over winding rivers.

GemündThe town itself it full of interesting buildings and built in a valley surrounded by trees.



Step19Back to work and I’m on the home stretch now!

Step20Last little set of dungarees and I’ll be done!

Portrait close upA little close up from the finished portrait.

Hope you enjoyed my progress and travel photos!  Be sure to check back soon for more new work.  My framer has received a couple of paintings I posted back to Northern Ireland and they’re currently being framed as surprise presents.  Look forward to sharing those with you soon 🙂