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I was contacted to do this portrait shortly after a tragic accident took the life of little Heidi the dachshund on the left. I felt so sad for her owner so really wanted this portrait to be as good a likeness to all three dogs as possible. I love dackels as they’re called in Germany. My own girl is such a strong character and I know from having painted them so much, just how different their little faces can be.
I hope you enjoy the progression of their piece and a little of my news from the past couple of weeks. It’s been a hectic time!

Here is the finished portrait 18″ x 14″ soft pastel

This was the photo reference and you couldn’t ask for more in a composition. I think the dogs deserve full credit and the clever human who had a camera to hand to capture such a sweet moment. My mum has two long haired dackels and they love to lie around each other and the other animals. This was actually a scan of an older photograph so I thought I could improve a little on the colouring and I also chose to edit out the vase in the background to allow more light tones behind the dogs.

Set up in the back of the camper and I’ve got my new Go-pro camera up and filming this entire piece. I will be making a time lapse of it just for fun. But I’ll also be making full length tutorials for my new Patreon channel coming soon. It will demo how to build up short coated dog fur which is useful for many breeds.

I filmed right from the start on this one including how I prepare my board and get my line drawing on the velour. At this stage I’m building up the background and trying to keep everything really light so the focus is really on the dogs.

I decide at this stage to get working on the faces and come back to the crotchet blanket. I wasn’t really sure how I’d tackle that but it felt like a finishing off job for later!

Onto sweet Heidi who I definitely welled up at while painting once or twice. She lived to a great age of 14 but I’m sure her sweet friends miss her still. She has one of those little bunty faces with big wide dark eyes. I love all the different shapes of dackels and they particularly vary from country to country.

So many colours through her coat and I love black and tans in particular. You can use dusky blues throughout the black which compliment the oranges in the tan areas.

What a lovely sausage shape she has. I’ll come back to work on the blanket more at the end and finish off her paws which sit into it.

While I’ve been working on this we have been on an area known as ‘The Landing Strip’ in Tarifa where the beach overlooks Tariffa. It’s basically a long dirt track beside the beach and many people camp there in low season. We spent Christmas day here and the vans you see on either side of Freda have become the residents of good friends.
However, the weather has been dreadful. This rainbow promise did not hold true as there has been much rain since! We began to think about renting an apartment here for the next month to get to some serious work done on the filming. When you rely on solar to power everything, grey days are not welcome!

At this area I’ve also met another stray who we’ve been feeding and gaining the trust of. I managed to get some tablets into her to treat the infestation of ticks and fleas she has. Hopefully we can help her more if she stays in this area where people are being kind to her.

Onto the second little face and this is Honey. So aptly named, that rich tan really glowing on the top of her head in the light of the window. And those honey coloured eyes to match.

There are so many shades of brown, orange, yellow, lilac etc in this coat. Because she’s not completely in light I have to think of shadow colours too.  The black areas on the black dogs though need to be really dark so that they contrast really well.

Working on down Honey’s body, she has the most adorable wrinkles as she squirms around to look. This area needs to be extra dark as the third dog Hugo casts a dark shadow where he overlaps.

But there is that lovely sheen where the light catches Honey’s coat and it took many layers here to build up the smoothness.

Little Hugo has a classic long pointy dackel nose. He reminds me a little of Buddy from the animation ‘The Secret Life of Pets’.  Using lots of lovely lilacs and dusky blue voilets to highlight the black areas.

Finally three little faces emerge. And at that moment another two faces emerge under my elbow announcing their dinner time.
I used the Go-Pro’s wide angle lens to capture my workspace. It feels cramped while I’m filming as I have the board as close to the camera as possible. I need stronger goosenecks to support the camera so I can extend further!

In the midst of all this Hairy Maclary got the final round of his makeover with a proper grooming session. He is like a different dog and while I love his new look and the fact we can see his face, I do look forward to some scruff returning. But at least now it’s all fresh healthy hair.

We also spent a last couple of breezy days at the beach before retreating to a small house in the country where we’ll be renting for one month to get us through the wintery weather here. It will be a real treat for a few weeks to spread out in more comfort.

The three dogs complete, just the crotchet blanket to do. All coming very soon in their time lapse and soon after the full tutorials.

Thanks to my client for entrusting me to do this and providing me with such a beautiful inspiring picture.

Just moved in and set up in our new space for the next month here in Tarifa. Very cool little country house in the mountains with views of Morocco, animals roaming free everywhere, and a cosy fire! Will share some more pictures next time.

Thanks for visiting, please keep an eye on my page if you’re interested in learning more about my Patreon channel going live soon. For commission enquires feel free to drop me a line at info@emmacolbertart.com. You’ll also find lots of info about that process at https://www.emmacolbertart.com/art-portraits-pricing/