Friendly Inspectors‘Friendly Inspectors’ the finished painting 27″x19″ soft pastel.

I was asked to produce a painting of some cows belonging to an old school friend who loves these beasts!  I went to photograph them and he was open minded about the composition so I like to let the animals do what they do best and create something from that.  They were so inquisitive and friendly we had our coats nibbled a lot!  But, I came away with a few good shots and this one stood out as being the most interesting to create a painting from.  Hope you enjoy their progress and a few of my travel photos from Germany.  I’ve been staying around just outside Freiburg and I truly love this area.

Prog1My first bit of progress and I’m set up in the back of the camper with a fantastic view!  The sun has been beaming for days but with a view like this it’s not too bad sitting inside to work.  Here I’ve got my line drawing onto the sandy coloured velour.  I’m using a full sheet to create this piece and as always it’s mounted to self adhesive mountboard to give it extra strength.

Prog2My first task is to create the upper background.  I’m keeping it quite simple as in the photo reference there were a lot of branches and extra trees.  I really want the cows to jump out so I’m making the background a little lighter to contrast them better.

Pic1This is a town called Schiltach.  We found a great over night stop here and enjoyed a great sunset through the valley.

Pic2I loved the buildings in this town.  Traditional old timber framed houses which seemed to lean towards eachother for a chat.

Pic3Brocci and I enjoying the last slithers of the sun.  Isn’t this building beautiful?

Pic4Brocci the next morning before we head off.  Up and ready for breakfast 🙂

Prog3I’m finally onto the detail in the first cow.  I normally work from left to right, top to bottom.  I decided to go right to left in this piece as the cows overlap eachother and it made sense to do it this way.

Prog4You can see that when I get the first cow complete, the second one will sit nicely on top.  I’m using a Faber Castell black stick for the first layer on the cows but there are so many other colours used on their shiny coats.

Prog5Almost finished cow number one and starting to get a feel for the palette I’m using.  The first part is always the hardest as you try to decide what colours to use.  Once you have that decided you can keep using them throughout the painting.

Prog6Cow number one complete.  You can see how I put down the darkest black first and then worked my way up to the lightest two highlights which were a light blue and lilac.

Pic5This is our spot for a few days at a viewpoint outside Freiburg.  This has to be one of the best places we’ve stayed and the weather made it pretty special too!

Pic6Each day this female kestrel came to hunt and I managed to get very close to her this day as she sat on the fence post of the grape vine hills.

Pic7Lots of wildlife around to photograph and the evening light makes this Red Admiral look so pretty.  Just after I snapped this he flew over and landed on my finger 🙂

Pic8Brocci having a sniff in the evening sunshine.  I don’t think I could ever get tired of this view!

Prog7Cow number two started and it’s pretty much the same process as the first one.  Darks down first then build up the other colours.  I’m using very small slithers of pastel with a little bit of pastel pencil to neaten and work around the eye areas.

Prog8Some of the colours in the lower layers of the face.  There are also some warm brown tones as the light catches their coats and shines both cool blue and warm oranges in places.

Prog9Prog10Here you can see a selection of the blues and purples I’m using on their coats.

Pic9This giant cloud seemed to eat all the other clouds in the sky until it exploded into a riot of colour as the sun went down.  Even the moon came to watch!

Pic10Yes I know!  More sunsets.  But when you’ve been spending so much time in the dense forests as we have for a couple of months you miss full sunsets as the sun disappears behind trees quite early.  It’s been bliss to watch this happen all week.

Prog11Onto the final cow and I’ve also added in the shadows of the cows on eachother. I think that has really helped create the bright light effect.

Prog12Prog13So nearly there now and just that foreground grass to do.  I’ve finished the detail on the yellow tags on the cows.  The front cow actually only had one tag on as he’d lost one.  But I’ve added it in anyway.  Apparently they often eat them off eachother 🙂

Prog14Working on the grass now and creating some shadow areas around the cows’ legs.  Again I’m keeping the grass pretty light as the lighting this day was so bright and misty.  Perfect for letting the darkness of the cows sing out.


I’ll leave you with a last couple of pics from my travels.  This was Brocci and I having a lovely stroll through the pretty streets of Freiburg.  The day before this our van broke down and we had to called our breakdown service.  After a hefty bill at the garage we are back on the road…for now!  Our van is from 1987 so she is prone to breaking down.  Luckily though, when you do break down it doesn’t matter as you have your whole house there anyway 🙂

Pic13It’s nights like these that make our travels all worth it. Hope you’ve enjoyed my blog.  Please check back soon for more arty travels!