I was asked to come and photograph four sisters each of whom I’m painting a 12″x10″ portrait of.  All four of them were a delight to meet and photograph and it really makes it a treat to work on images like this.  Hope you enjoy little Abbie’s progress and check back soon for her three sisters who I’m currently working on.  I also filmed most of Abbie’s portrait and will be producing a few tutorial videos on my Youtube channel demoing skintones, hair, eyes etc.  Check out my channel at www.Youtube.com/emmacolbertart for more tutorials.

Abbie’s finished portrait 12″x10″ soft pastel

My first task is to sketch out my line drawing and this is after I’ve transferred that onto a sandy colour of the velour paper I use.  I’ve tried to add those lines on her jumper as best as I can to give me a rough idea of the form but it will only be a rough guide when I come to that part.

In this shot you can see my photo reference of Abbie.  This is now the third time I’ve painted her at different stages and each time she has been a joy to work on.

Starting to build up the skintones.  I hope to get my video edited soon so you’ll be able to see most of this process in real time.  I’ll do my best to explain in that video how I layer up the thin coats of pastel and blend them together.

In my last blog post we were in a small town called Casares up in the mountains.  Before we leave I take the long lens out to photograph these goats climbing the mountain.  This is shockingly high and I watch as each one zig zags up the steep cliff face without any trouble.

After this we were off to Gibraltar.  This is really the only photo I took in our couple of days there as I spent most of the time working.  You can see the rock in the background, next time we’ll get up there and explore a bit!

Starting to work on her features now and again I filmed this eye so I will try to do a good tutorial on that.

Both eyes in and although there are a lot of tweaks to make them just right, I’m happy with the likeness I’m getting so far.

This is a really useful tool.  It’s a tortillon and it’s just made from paper.  You can get them in different sizes and I use it to blend small areas, or create a sharp line like I’m doing here around her cheek which is contrasted against the darkness.

The portrait really springs to life when I get the hair added in.  Her fringe just frames her face beautifully.

We arrive at the most Southerly point of Spain in Tariffa.  From here on a clear day we can see Africa.  I’ve been trying to get a shot of Brocci in full flight for ages and today’s wind provided the perfect opportunity!

Brocci made a giant friend.  This is Balloo the Black Russian Terrier.  Apparently the breed is a mixture of a Newfoundland, Schnauzer, Airdale Terrier and Rottweiler.  He was a beast but Brocci outbarked him!

The whole bay here is very beautiful, but as I’m finishing off Abbie’s portrait we get stuck in a storm.  I’ll share more photos of this beautiful area in my next blog of Abbie’s sister.

Starting work now on that stripey jumper.  The weather is so windy while I work on this that the whole van sways making it hard to keep a steady hand!  It made it impossible for me to film the jumper’s progression but hopefully you can see from the progress pictures I took how this was built up.  Using a dark navy blue I roughly mark in the first layer on the stripes.

I then take a lighter blue and mark in the areas that are being hit by light.  This instantly gives the jumper some form.

Then using a mixture of light blues and yellowy white I do the same with the light stripes.  Anywhere that is in a slight shadow I make it a very light blue. The sunlit areas get my brightest Grey27 (Unison’s yellowy white) or pure white to really brighten it.

My first layer on the horse is about picking out the darker areas and blocking those in first.

Working down this sleeve and blocking in the darker areas using bluey greys

Last to go on is the horse’s halter.  That nice zing of colour really adds to the portrait and matches the lovely red bow she wears in her hair.

Hope you enjoyed my progress on this one.  Please check back soon for her beautiful sisters.