This past week has been a busy one!  I’ve had a tooth removed with painful consequences, it was my birthday, we entered Denmark for the first time, and I’ve been working on little Button.  I hope you’ll excuse the number of pictures along with my painting progression this time as I had a week away from the easel with mouth pain.  I was busy with the camera though as a source of distraction!

I hope you enjoy Button’s progress.  I photographed her for this in her garden during a bit of ball chasing.  My client’s wanted a particular look on her face as she begs for the ball to be thrown again.  After many many shots I caught one in focus version of that look!

Button’s finished portrait.  12″ x 12″ soft pastel.

Here you can see my workspace and the reference photo onscreen.  I like to work from the laptop as I can zoom in and brighten areas as I work.  I especially want to lighten around Button’s eye’s so we can clearly see the white areas.  A bit of work in Photoshop and I’ll have a clearer look into those shadows.

I begin as always on the background.  I love having some distance between the background greenery and the dog.  It gives that soft focus effect that works so well in a portrait.

Everything goes on very loosely in the bokeh background.  Plenty of blending to soften it all into the distance.

Some loose marks create the daisies but again there is very little detail to them so that Button will jump out against that.

This week my Facebook page made it over 7000 likes.  I always celebrate milestones on there with a print giveaway.  So this is Brocci helping me choose a name from the hat.  Keep a lookout on my page for future competitions.

We’ve done quite a bit of touring around in Denmark so far and have made it out over the Storebælt bridge to the island of Zealand where Copenhagen is.  I missed a lot of these sights due to not being well but I felt a bit better for a day out in Copenhagan’s Christiania.  This is an area of the city set aside to artists and over run with culture and colour.  The houses there are quirky and there is a pretty laid back vibe about the place.

We park on the outskirts and walk in across the bridges.

The main area with lots of stalls where I buy myself some birthday treats.

Picked up this beauty from one of the stalls.  It’s handmade, I watched her work for a while.  No two are alike and what I loved was that she started them with no plan.  Just liked to see where each one went.

I particularly loved this gallery.  Possibly the most colourful shop front I’ve ever seen.

This area of the town has completely embraced colour and graffiti everywhere.  I thought it looked beautiful.  I don’t think I’d want it everywhere but I certainly wish every city would set aside an area where this entire lifestyle is embraced.

I finally get back to Button after a weeks rest and I’m so glad to be sitting working again!

I’ve really lightened her eyes a lot and tried to bring them out more.  This is the great thing about a painting.  Although they are trying to be photorealistic, I hope that they can be an improvement on the photo reference.

Working from the top down and trying to build up the layers gradually.  As soon as I get the flicks of hair coming around the top of the muzzle, her face begins to take shape.

We move on out of Copenhagen and up to the North coast where we stay at a Danish house in the country.  Kirsten who had lived there as a child was open to campers coming and parking on her beautiful land.  What a generous thing many Danish people do.  We’ve availed of a few countryside stops but this has been my favourite.  Lot of animals, flowers and sunsets.

Also a few pheasants about but really difficult to sneak up on one!

This is a typical Danish farm house with the thatched roof.  This house has been here for many years and some of the trees are hundreds of years old.  It’s so nice to talk with Kirsten who knows this land so well and clearly has a passion for nature.

  This is also home to about 30 goats who wandered around.

Three geese also come waddling in a row, always together.

The landscape here really isn’t unlike Ireland.  Lush and green!

Everywhere I looked deserved a photograph so I hope you’ve liked seeing a little of the Danish countryside!

I get back to Button for a final evening finishing off her muzzle and neck.

You can see the loose lower layer on her neck area.  Gradually as I fill in the gaps with more overlapping marks it starts to build up her texture.

I took a snap of her the next morning propped up next some of those lovely poppies.

This close up of the photograph shows you the lovely soft texture you get on velour pastel paper.  It creates such a soft effect, perfect for soft faces like Button’s!

Thanks for visiting my blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed Button’s progression and a little tour of Denmark.  Our plan for this summer was to visit more of Scandanavia but I think due to the setbacks and extra dentist expenses we’ll have to postpone that trip to another time.  It’s never too annoying as we enjoy everywhere we visit.  Staying in Denmark a little while longer before turning the corner Southward.

Call back soon for more arty travels! 🙂