I was thrilled to receive this beautiful photo from a client for me to paint.  After the initial gasp at the background I knew this would make a really attractive painting.  As many of you know, I love dachshunds, so this piece was right up my street!
Hope you enjoy little Eve’s progress and a few snaps from Germany where we are now.

Eve, soft pastel, 16″x16″

This past couple of months I’ve had some tight deadlines so my pastels had got themselves into a bit of a state.  I took some time to clean them and organise them better before starting Eve.  It’s a real treat to start off with them all neat and tidy for a change!  This is my workspace in the back of the motorhome.  This table swivels and gives me plenty of room to spread out my pastels.  The only down side is pack up time as my studio turns into a bed.  This is something I’m well used to by now and can do it in literally 10 minutes!

Here is the photo reference I worked from.  I always try and bring certain colours and details out more than they are in the reference.  But I felt over the moon to be working from such a beautiful image.  Not to mention how adorable Eve is!  I know that inquisitive dachshund look a mile away!

Starting work on the background.  I block in the dark areas first using black.  This gives me the rough outlines of where the foliage will go.

I try to work from the background to the foreground most of the time so that things get layered up in order.  With a piece like this though it’s very difficult to figure out what is in front of what as it’s very jumbled.  I literally have to take my time and work small areas just simplifying it to shapes and colours.

Starting to get a sense of the depth of field now with some of the in focus leaves in.  I spend time making the edges of these leaves really sharp to make them contrast against the blur behind.

I love Unison’s green range.  I always find greens quite a difficult colour to choose.  Being from Ireland you’d think I’d have a better eye for that colour!  But there are just so many shades and I always find it difficult to choose the right tone and hue.  After the last couple of paintings I’ve done though, I feel myself already getting a little quicker at leaves and greenery.

Starting some work on Eve to give me a little break from the background.  As soon as I have the background in around her outer edges I can start her.  I want her finer hairs to overlap the background.

One eye in and she’s starting to appear.

I love how the light hits the top of her head and around the edges of her ears.  This will really make her jump out from the background.

This week we’ve been heading North into Germany and over towards Denmark.  We stopped at some lovely little towns which have camperstops on their outskirts.  In Germany especially, these town stops are often very pretty with nice parks close by.  This is a lovely park in Delmenhorst, not far from Bremen.

The forest in the town park has lots of red squirrels which are always a joy to see!  I tried to get some nice photo reference for painting from but they are difficult to sneak up on!  I love the vibrant colour of them, such a pity we don’t see more of them in Ireland any more.

A few more pictures from the park in Delmenhorst.  A pretty place and a great free stop with water and other facilities for the campers.

Back to work on Eve and still building up the texture on her face and chest.

Here you can see some of the pastels I’m using in front of me.  When I choose a colour from the trays it gets put in my work tray until the piece is finished.  This way I have my palette easily at hand each time I come back to the piece.

Starting to work some of the foreground now and this is the trickiest area as there are so many overlaps.  I start by picking out a few of the flowers and leaves which are in focus.

It feels a bit like a jigsaw, putting in little pieces until it all fits together.

It’s always great when you get to this point on a really complicated piece.  You start to feel the end is in sight and soon you’ll get a view of the whole piece you’ve been imagining.
I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing Eve’s progress and a little of our journey.

I’ll leave you with a couple of shots from Bremen.

This is the beauitul main square with some buildings and statues dating from the 1400s.

I think the main reason I wanted to visit Bremen though was for these guys!  This statue is based on the Grimm tale ‘The musicians of Bremen’.  As a child I had an audiotape of this and loved reading along with it.  Apparently if you rub the donkey’s front legs it will bring you luck.  I’ll let you know how that goes, although I feel I have quite a bit of luck already!

A final image of my Brocci posing next to Eve’s portrait to give you a sense of scale.

Thanks for visiting the blog.  Hope you enjoyed my post and will call back again for more arty travels 🙂