I was commissioned to paint this beautiful girl as a surprise present.  The photo reference showed what a beauty she is and I loved her sidewards glance.  Hope you enjoy her progress and a little of my Spanish travels after the New Year when I was working on her.  This was my first painting of 2017, and it’s always good to start the year with a pretty dog!

ailsaonlineAilsa’s finished portrait, soft pastel 14″ x 12″

ailsareferenceThe photo reference I worked from.  I loved the dramatic sky behind her but had a little adjustment to do to her eyes to take away the lens flare.

prog1After the New Year I get Ailsa up on my board ready to start.  I had a tight deadline on this one so I managed to get it done in three days, leaving enough time for it to be posted to my framer in Northern Ireland and gifted near the end of January.

prog2I use lovely warm purple greys for the clouds.  It takes a lot of blending of many layers to create skies.

pic1While I work on Ailsa, we have arrived at a nice free spot to park up on the edge of a little town called Simat de Valldigna.  We park with other motorhomes beside the orange groves and with a nice view of the surrounding mountains.  It’s always a bonus when your have a view from the motorhome.

pic2pic3We go for a walk into town and get barked at from balconies.  I couldn’t resist snapping this face!

prog3Making a start on the top of Ailsa using the black harder Faber Castell stick and some pastel pencil to drag the very finest hairs out around the edges.

prog4Blocking in the main areas of colour and using marks in the direction of the hair to build up that texture.

prog5It’s always good to get some eyes looking back at you.  I still have some work to do here, but happy with the overall shape and colours.

pic4In the same town there is a beautiful monastry with ancient ruins.  Oranges really seem to grow everywhere around this area.

pic6pic5pic7Some of the beautiful hills surrounding us.  We’re not far from the sea but it’s nice to explore inland a little too.

pic8prog7A lot more work done on Ailsa’s face.  I think because I was on a tight deadline I forgot to take as many progress pictures as normal.  You can see the small shards of pastel I use to get the very smallest details.

prog8Working on down her body there is a lot of darkness, so I get this blocked in first.  I also loved the splash of colour on her collar and tag.  These added a zing of colour to the portrait.

prog9Here you can see me build up that ruffled area around her neck.  I use many colours and layers to build up the effect of the fur.  After this it’s just a few whiskers and tweaks and that’s me!

pic9On my last evening working on this, Brocci and I take a welcome sunset on the beach.  It feels good to speed through a piece that just goes to plan.  A good start to 2017!