I was asked recently to paint Dudley who sadly passed away. My worklist is usually quite filled up but I ended up having some time this week in between jobs thanks to the postal system leaving me short on materials for my next large job.
So I had a choice between further paper experiments and filming for Patreon, or choose a smaller portrait from further down my list. I chose Dudley as I knew how much he meant to his family and also I just fancied looking at his mischievous face for the week!
I hope you enjoy his progress.
Dudley’s finished portrait, soft pastel on Hahnemühle velour paper which I mount onto 5mm archival foam board. 12″ x 16″

This is my photo reference and although often this view is tricky, I think it adds to Dudley’s quirky character. We decided to omit the background and go for something subtle and complimentary to Dudley. I also took a bit of artistic licence in lightening his coat and searching for colour. The indoor lighting makes him quite dark so I tried to bring out more detail where possible.

I made a quick list of the colours I used as I was cleaning them. So many colours in a white coat, especially one that’s been photographed inside. These are mostly Unison Colour soft pastels with the exception of the black which is Faber Castell.

Beginning with my background I keep it really simple. A plain gradient with a little more light to the left. It’s the opposite to the dog’s lighting. So that way the dark edges show up against light background and vice versa.

Starting at the top of Dudley’s mop. It takes me a while to work this top area as the scale is reasonably big on 12″ x 16″. I block things in quite loosely and come back through to neaten and add detail.

The left eye is quite dark in the photo as it’s completely in shadow. But it’s amazing how little detail it needs when the right eye is added. Such big soulful eyes too!

Any dog with this type of fur really starts to come together when you get the muzzle going. Those hairs that sprout up over the eyes are so important to the expression.

Saving all pure white for this side of the face where the light is hitting. Everything on the opposite side is made up of surprisingly dark tints and tones.

All around the mouth is in shadow. Keeping all my highlight colours there cool shadow tones. But there is also some warmth around the mouth area. Bringing in some browns and light peaches as highlights.

I love painting collars. I added Dudley’s name to his tag and I love how it’s partially hidden under his curls. Although the photo reference wasn’t the highest of quality, I could see so much of Dudley’s character in this shot I thought it was worth trying!

Building up the chest area and taking just as much time here to define the curls and choose my highlight colours carefully. Again pure white is only down the right side. I love painting white dogs but it’s definitely a brain teaser!

I hope you enjoyed the progression of Dudley. If you’d like to commission your own work of art please visit my Pricing page to see more information.
To learn how to pastel visit my Youtube or Patreon channels for video tutorials and lots more.