Mussenden Sunset...Another one!

Earlier this year I painted a giant 40" x 27" Mussenden Temple sunset view. I immediately got a request for another one and at the time I'd been torn between two reference images. So I jumped at the chance to paint the second one. I cropped it to a panorama, so this one is 40" x 17". Hope you enjoy the progress! I've waited on a particularly wet Spanish day to write this..

The finished painting, 40" x 17" soft pastel on velour

I begin by backing my giant sheet of velour pastel paper on self adhesive mount board. This firms it up and I use the extra tacky foam board, the type that cannot be removed. I also don't have an easel that can support a piece this big so instead I taped it to the wall. I'm thinking it's a bit healthier to stand for the odd painting too. I spend too much time sitting!

The weather here in Spain has turned to Autumn and some days we have rain! It's been a while since we saw that so the dogs take the opportunity to cosy up with me in the studio while I work. All three get along pretty well now, they definitely appreciate eachothers' body heat in the cooler weather!

 

After day one of pastel I've got a good bit of the sky started. Working my way across the sky from left to right, using thin layers of colour blended together.

I continue the cloud effect across the sky. Laying down dark colours first and plotting out where the clouds go. It's important for the sense of perspective in this to create a nice fan around the sky bursting from the middle.

Bringing lighter coral pinks and oranges into the sky. I've used some of my most vibrant Unison pastels on this piece. A yellow I've rarely had a change to use before was just the job.

I begin work on the distant land and sea.

The temple is a building I've painted three times now. Usually in photographs with the temple at the outer edges of the photo, it tends to look a bit warped due to the lens. I try to straighten things out a little in my initial sketch.

Blocking in the rest of the sea

The sea is an area I find extremely confusing so I tent to hop over on this foreground area any time I need a break. I don't find any of these paintings easy, so much time is spent standing thinking as well as hands on painting time. But I try to be kind to myself and take breaks from difficult areas.

A bit more motivated by the rest of the piece I start a long day's work on the sea area. It takes up a siginificant area of the painting and reflects so much of what is happening in the sky.

Using all the colours I used in the sky to add highlights on the sea.

Nearing the end. Last bit of work to do on the foreground.

A picture of the finished piece for a sense of scale. Many thanks for following the progression! I didn't film this one as I filmed the Mussenden painting from earlier in the year. If you would like to see how I painted that sunset in video form check out my Youtube channel. For the full length sunset tutorial and lots more visit me on Patreon..

 


Dudley

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.


Mala the Golden Retriever

Welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy the progression of Mala a very beautiful Golden Retriever.  I was asked to paint this portrait and after looking through many great photos of Mala, the best pose was a grayscale photo. There was however another photograph very similar showing the colours. I decided that it might be possible to transform the grayscale photo into colour, and that's what I've been working on this week.
Mala's finished portrait, soft pastel, 18" x 14"

Here you can see my two photo references which I have on screen at all times. I get my line drawing of the pose on the left done and then start the colour work.

Even in the colour photo the sky is pretty grey which is typical of Ireland. Somehow I think Ireland looks lovely with grey clouds though, it must be all the green. And there is plenty of green in this portrait, so I kept the muted grey tone of the sky.

As I look for the colours in the photo reference, I take note of which areas are in shadow and what those colours are in the colour photo. I know that the brightest parts of Mala where the sun is hitting are white. But the rest is tricky as there are no real dark tones in her fur. It's all very subtle shading. But using what I know about colour theory, and because the photos are quite similar, it wasn't as bad as expected.

Using smaller shards of soft pastel to create the soft flyaway hairs around the edges. I still haven't worked the background at this stage. Not quite sure yet how detailed to go with that, so I've blocked in the main colour and got going on Mala.

At this stage I come back and work some of the distant background. I love the tall grasses and how they disappear off into the distance. There are also a lot of tall grasses around Mala in the foreground to deal with later. But at this stage I keep it pretty loose.

Working on down Mala's coat. I'm aware that some of this will be obscurred by the grasses so in those areas I do a bit less detail in the coat. It means my grass will go on cleaner later on as I won't have already filled the tooth of the paper.

Almost there at this stage and starting to pick out which tall grasses to include. I do a lot of editing and simplifying at this stage. I don't add any of the grasses that interfere with Mala's face and try to choose a nice random collection of them to cut through her coat.

The finished piece outside the van in the South of Spain. I thought it was funny to show how different the grass here is this time of the year while Ireland remains lush. Although I love the heat, I've got to say this past month has been wickedly hot and pretty difficult to keep up with work in the motorhome. There is a lot to be said for the cool Spanish houses in this climate!

After saying how hot it is I'm going to share some woolly blankets with you! Bit by bit I have received these beautiful crothet blankets from my sister who makes them. All three pups got their own blankets this week and I thought you'd like to see them. We will enoy them come Winter!

Thanks for visiting. If you're interested in learning how to pastel from me, visit my Youtube or Patreon channels for lots of tutorials and helpful videos.


Archie the Cockapoo

I was asked to paint a very special portrait of Archie the motorhoming Cockapoo. My client sent me some wonderful shots of Archie but this one stood out as capturing his expression. I hope you enjoy his progression. I began to film this piece but soon into Archie's face I had a bit of a camera malfunction so I've compiled this blog a little more detailed than usual listing my colours also. If you're painting a similar breed I hope this is helpful.

Archie's finished portrait 10" x 12" soft pastel on velour.

Here are the colours used in Archie's portrait. I used mostly Unison soft pastels and some Faber Castell Pitt pencils. You can see my full colour list at the bottom of this post.

 

Once I got Archie sketched out onto the velour I begin by blocking in the background. I make this plain and use some directional lighting to enchance the light that's hitting Archie. He's sort of backlit which makes for a very tricky portrait on a light coloured dog! I would advise to avoid backlit subjects if you're just starting out in painting. But it can make for some lovely colourful fur and work really well if you place the highlights in the right places.

Starting to layer in some of the lower layers on Archie's top half and some of the highlights along the top of his head.

Although I tend to work from dark to light, if there are important highlighted areas, I often add these in early. It's also nice to get an eye looking back at me.

Archie's gaze is starting to look right now. Using lots of yellows and lilac tints in the fur, especially in the shadows. Unison A31, Light 5, A21, A19 are all very useful in the shadows along with some warmer BE10 and BE9 as the browns.
For highlights my Grey28 (white) is used, also Grey 25, BE19.
This colour of dog reflects so many colours around also and because it's indoor lighting, this tends to heighten that effect. But I'm carefully looking for colours within the curls, building up the layers gradually.

Around the bottom of the chin area I make use of NE1 and RE11 with BE6 as my darkest brown. It looks very dark when you put it down but I've found that on any good pastel paper, the lighter layers will go cleanly on top. On my recent experiment with Pastelmat I found this to be the case also. Pastelmat tutorial coming soon on www.patreon.com/emmacolbertart.

Next that nose gets my attention. He has such a lovely big nose with lots of nice brown tones through it. I use mostly the soft pastel but come back in with the black pencil to neaten.

The fur under the chin is very in shadow so I make use of my lilac A31 tones in here. Using the colour wheel opposite Lilac to Yellow helps with the colour harmony in the piece.

 

Getting there! And I use a lot of warm Y18 and BE19 on the chest. Keeping my white highlights for the left side of Archie where the light is hitting him.

Archie's finished portrait with our three lunatics posing. Don't know who wanted to pose more :-)

We've also been having a wonderful time around the Algarve with the three pups in the van. It's been hot and busy, but the beaches were the highlights for sure! I think Lola agrees!

I hope you've enjoyed seeing Archie progress. If you haven't already, please check out my Patreon and Youtube channels 'Emma Colbert Art'. Just hitting subscribe on Youtube helps me keep making videos and tutorials. Thanks for visiting!

Unison Pastels COLOUR LIST:
Grey28, BE19, Grey25, BE14, Yellow18, Additional19, Additional26, BV7, Grey18, Additional31, Light5, BE9, BE10, BE16, NE1, RE11, Yellow14, Additional21, Additional38, BE6, RE9, Grey8, Dark18, BE23, BV18, BV9

 


Buttercup Hare

Hi and thanks for visiting my blog. I've been having a bit of time off this month after several hectic months of constant work. Over my birthday we took off in the motorhome again for Portugal and have been enjoying mostly the beaches here.
Deciding to do a bit less work this month, I also planned on working on a personal project. Getting back to some wildlife and landscapes has been on my to-do list for a while.

I hope you enjoy the progress of my buttercup hare. As I write this blog I haven't yet named the painting, so maybe you can help suggest something.

The finished painting, soft pastel 18" x 18"

This month I wanted to film some tutorials for wildlife as I've been working a lot on dogs so far. I love painting hares so went in search of some nice reference I could use. My thanks to photographer Jeremy Smith for giving me permission to paint his hare. I usually make the painting very different to the original photo which you can see from the photo reference of the hare below. Please check out Jeremy's photography at http://www.jeremysmithphotography.co.uk

The reference photo (cropped a little from it's original shape as I was focusing on the hare) My next task was to produce my layout and then my line drawing for the hare. I didn't need to draw any of the surroundings but I did want to have the hare a particular size within the piece. So I drew out a 2" grid to ensure I got my proportions accurately.
You can watch me draw it out in the video below.

https://youtu.be/GmjWZrQ4HUE

I get my line drawing onto the velour pastel paper and begin work on the background.

When I get the background to a certain stage I begin working on the hare. I like to work it all together so that I can make use of the background palette in the hare's coat. This ties the two together and makes it seem as if the hare is reflecting it's surroundings.

Although the piece is quite big, the hare's face is small within the composition. I have to use sharp pieces of pastel and some pastel pencil to get the smaller hairs and details. The hare itself will make up next month's tutorials on my Patreon channel if you're interested in learning my techniques. You can visit my page and subscribe for a very small amount at www.patreon.com/emmacolbertart. Each month I put a lot of work into creating tutorials showing exactly how I produce my work. Thanks to around 175 Patrons there now, I'm able to devote a little more time to creating these tutorials and investing in better equipment to improve quality.

This month however, I've managed to take a little time to enjoy some of Portugal's Algarve coastline. The dogs have been loving being back in the van, and even though it's more work to set up my studio each day, I love the perks of have a studio on wheels!

The three pups are out in the van together for the first time. So far, it's not much different to having two dogs in here...which wasn't much different to having one dog! Thankfully they're small. We see people with large dogs in tiny vans all the time!

The rocks and cliffs here really remind me of some of the Irish coastlines. I thought this VW camper found a pretty good spot for the evening!

Back on my hare, and I begin to work on down the body. I have my colours out around me from the face, it's just a matter of mapping out all that fur as it flows over the muscles.

I love the cosiness of my motorhome studio. I'm filming too which makes things a little extra cramped. But once I'm in and working it's quite comfortable. I always have room for pastel trays around me and good ventilation in this area with roof vents and large windows.

Starting work on the foreground now and I have a lot of work to do to make the hare sit naturally. I'm working mostly from imagination on this but also looking at my older paintings in this series. I try to keep the buttercups around the hare in focus and blur everything else.

On the home stretch now. Those all important buttercups which will make the hare look grounded, then a few whiskers and I'll be done.

Thanks for visiting, I hope you enjoyed seeing this piece come together. The original will be available to purchase soon, as will limited edition prints. If you'd like more details please get in touch.


Bilbo the Retriever's Portrait

Bilbo the Golden Retriever

It's been a while since I blogged. Making videos for Youtube and Patreon has taken over a bit this past few months so I really must get back to updating my blog with all my progress images.
This past week or so I've been working on a beautiful Golden Retriever called Bilbo who is a beautiful example of the breed. The photo reference was a stunner but I knew it would be a challenge with all that splashing water. And I was right...it was!
I hope you enjoy my progression...Bilbo the Retriever's PortraitThe finished painting 18" x 14" soft pastel

With my line sketch on the velour I didn't bother with much other than the dog himself. I figured I would deal with those droplets when I got there. I've used the light grey velour pastel paper for this.

I spent the first day blocking in some water but really wasn't sure about the colours I was using and decided to move onto Bilbo so I could get a feel for the contrast between him and the background. I quickly realised I needed to go a little darker in the water for him to really pop. I don't mind working backgrounds after the main subject as long as I have around the edges behind the dog blocked in so that his hair sits on top.

It's a fiddly job working on the face at this scale. I do use some pastel pencil but I find I can't get the same strength of colour as with the soft pastels. So my tiny shards of pastel were most useful. I can always find an edge.

It's starting to take shape now but still a lot of work to do on the top half of the water. I'm trying to simplify it a little and really bring our attention to the foreground.

Starting to block in some of the colours on Bilbo's coat. The tail catches the light beautifully but his whole side is in shadow with lots of blue violets and brown earths. Not what you expect on a light coloured dog, but this is often the case with shadows. They are deceiving!

With his chest hair in, the lighting effect starts to work. Saving the brightest tints for the sunlit areas and using very little to no white at all. White can be very stark so I use light yellow tints as my brightest colour.

Finally onto the water droplets and I start to add them around the top of the dog. I've added a bit more definition and highlighting to the water behind too, but without making it too busy.

It takes a full day of studying this splash to get the effect I wanted. Because his shadow is also cast in the splash it made it tricky to figure out what colours to use. Also because some of those tiny bubbles are so small, I'm using the tiniest pieces of pastel and a little pencil to neaten them up.

Starting to come together and I know when I get the foreground ripples in the water is going to look good. There is also a small collection of pebbles just to the left which will be my next task.

Pebbles worked and using all the colours that are within the piece. By keeping your palette consistent throughout a painting, it should all work harmoniously.

Sharing a little close up of some of those bubbles.

Hope you enjoyed this piece. I had great fun painting him, but I'm guessing not as much fun as Bilbo has jumping through waves!
If you'd like to learn to pastel from me, check out my Youtube channel for lots of free content at www.youtube.com/emmacolbertart. If you want much more in depth tutorials, free photo reference and professional critiques please consider my Patreon channel where you can become a Patron for as little as $1 a month. Read more about it at www.patreon.com/emmacolbertart. Thanks to those who are supporting me over there, I'm able to make a lot more video tutorials and help share my knowledge of pastel painting.

Thanks for visiting!


Mo's Portrait

I was asked to produce a portrait of a very special girl called Mo. My client sent me a range of photos of her including some shots from their garden which seemed the perfect place to stage the portrait. Hope you enjoy a little of my progression and some big news from this week. Our pack just got bigger!
Mo's finished portrait, soft pastel 18" x 14"

The reference photos I worked from to create Mo's portrait. I played around with it on Photoshop to find a pleasing composition.

As always I start with the background and the sky has such a lovely gradient to it.

I block in all the dark hedges followed by a mid tone green. There realyl isn't a lot of detail in the background, I want it to remain out of focus behind Mo.

My big news this week is the arrival of Lola to our clan. I was in the local vets photographing a poor cat who they were trying to rehome. It was a sad story and the cat died from it's injuries. But that same day I heard another sad story about a little Bodeguero who had been found the week before covered in deep cuts. She was being looked after at a local stable but had nowhere to go. I saw a picture of her and knew we had to have her.

In this picture you can see some of her cuts which are stitched and well healed by now. But she is covered in them. She has been with us three days now and already she is a different dog. Not the nervous girl who came to our door on day one.

Bodegueros were originally bred in Spain to hunt the rats in wine cellars. They originate from the English fox terrier but have very much their own traits. Each one I've met has been the most adorable soft natured creature. I've never met a friendlier breed.

She is only 1 year old so our two oldies have a bit of adjusting to do. But apart from the odd scuffle when Lola takes off on an energetic lap, things are going very smoothly!

So with a third dog in the studio while I work, I make a start on lovely Mo.

I loved the lighting in Mo's photo. The shadows make it really interesting. As always it's tricky painting white in the shadow areas and resisting the urge to use any white pastel!

A big pink tongue emerging. Layering in the darker purples and pinks before the highlights.

Using lot of lilacs and light earthy yellows throughout the shadows on her front.

Peachy tones give the warmth of her skin underneath on her chest and that fleshy area on her muzzle.

Building up many layers of greys, lilacs and peaches. Saving the white for the sunlit side next the grass. If you know the rules and stick by them, you can create a 3D effect by this simple method.
Thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoyed Mo's progression.

If you're interested in having a portrait painted have a look on my pricing page at https://www.emmacolbertart.com/art-portraits-pricing/

For pastel tips and tutorials visit my Youtube or my new Patreon channel at http://www.patreon.com/emmacolbertart


Horse Jumping

A fantastic image to work with this week but a fiddly challenge for pastel! Hope you enjoy the progression.

The finished scan 18" x 14" soft pastel and pastel pencil

You can see the photo reference and the edits I chose to make to create a nicer composition. I straightened up the view slightly, removed the person in the background and some of the extra white poles distracting from the horse's outline. I also added more green grass in the foreground rather than the dull gravel.

I decided to blur both the background and the foreground in the image so that the viewer's focus would be on the mid ground. Here I'm layering in bigger marks and blocking in areas of sky through the leaves.

Thanks to my Patrons on www.Patreon.com/emmacolbertart I've got some new studio lights. Although I have a daylight lamp, it's not much good on it's own for filming. These also help my progress shots look really bright.
If you're interested in learning to pastel, check out my channel for tutorials and lots of help in learning new techniques.

Finishing up the background with the hedge which comes almost into focus just behind the horse.

Beginning work on the horse and I'm so glad of my selection of small shards of pastel. There were times during the painting of this where I struggled to hold the pieces without them crumbling! I also made use of a lot of pastel pencil, but the main solid colour put down was always the softer pastel sticks.

Working over the lower layers on the horse with the soft pastel. I'll be able to tweak and shape with the pastel pencils.

The face of the rider is smaller than by thumbnail so it's been very tricky to hint at the features. I've worked so slowly on the face, adding one dot at a time and making sure I don't make any mistakes as it's too small to correct!

I'm pleased to have captured a little bit of a likeness to the rider, but had to stop before destroying what I had achieved!

Working on down to the foreground. I want the posts to bring the lovely rich browns forward but will not go into too much detail on them as the foreground bushes will be blurred.

Some base coats on the posts and the foreground greenery started. Bringing all the greens from the background forward and keeping it loose in the foreground.

Finished and filmed too so expect to see a full time lapse coming shortly. Hope you've enjoyed seeing a little behind the scenes here. If you're interested in commissioning me check out my Pricing  page.

You can also get a few close ups in this short video preview

https://www.youtube.com/edit?o=U&video_id=j46j7InOSP0

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures from the house today. It's been stormy and raining pretty much every day in Tarifa for weeks, so there hasn't been much opportunity to go out photographing. Instead I've been buried away working and Brocci has been snoozing.

Hairy Maclary's hair has grown back so much. He finds any sunny spot to dry off in after getting caught out in the showers.

 

 


Cheetah, Minnie and Nelly

Welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy the progression of this giant portrait of three extremely cute dogs. This is Cheetah, the Chihuahua/Yorkie cross, Minnie the Yorkie, and Nelly the KingCharles/Bichon cross. Wow that's a lot and these three are clearly the most lucky pampered pooches ever.

The finished portrait 24"x 17" soft pastel.

I begin by drawing out the composition. All three dogs posed perfectly for their picture, so there is very little to do compositionally.

I also begin standing at this piece as the background is large and I want to be able to work it all at once. It makes sense to stand even though I'm filming and i end up in front of the camera sometimes!

Showing you how I start to build up the light honey/white coat of Cheetah. Many colours, darker than you think sometimes, go into creating light coloured fur. From the footage I created from this piece I'm going to make some real time tutorials for my Patreon channel. If you're interested in learning my techniques visit https://www.patreon.com/EmmaColbertArt

One eye in and I love the expression on Cheetah's face.

Sitting by this point to get good balance for that small detail. I've also taken over an old tv screen in our apartment to work from. It's great while filming as I don't have to keep zooming in and out on the laptop.

Some of the lovely Unison colours that are going into this fur.

Filming while I work. So far it's a Go-Pro which is producing lovely 1080hd quality footage. But if Patreon continues to grow I hope to upgrade to a decent DSLR camera and keep the Go-Pro for other shots and close ups. I have some new studio lighting showing up tomorrow so bit by bit my filming set up will grow :-)

Onto cute Minnie in the middle. Starting with those tufts of hair at the top which overlap the first dog.

Adding some really vibrant colours throughout her coat.

Using the smallest shards for the smallest detail.

This area  is tricky as the third dog has her leg underneath Minnie and the two seem to melt together in soft fur.

Onto dog number three. Little Nelly has had a tough start in life. Her first 10 weeks saw her physically and emotionally abused. But it really seems she has landed on all four paws. Her white fur added a lovely touch of brightness to the overall piece with all that green around them.

Working on her main features. Still a lot of tweaking to do on the fur.

Working on down the chest and using pure white where the light is hitting her directly.

Saving white for only those lit areas, I use many shades of blue violet and peaches throughout the coat.

So close to the end, just that front paw which will bring Nelly onto the chair.

I hope you've enjoyed their progression. You can see some of my videos like the one below on my Youtube channel at www.youtube.com/emmacolbertart.  But for the full length tutorial and lots of other pastel tips visit my Patreon Channel at www.patreon.com/emmacolbertart


Alfie in the Window

Hi folks, I've been terribly quiet here on my poor neglected blog since after Christmas. I promise to get back in the flow of sharing my progress here again. I've been busy setting up a Patreon channel to create video tutorials. It's a step further than my Youtube channel in that I'm doing hour long lessons and filming almost everything I work on. If you're interested in learning more about my pastel techniques check it out at www.patreon.com/emmacolbertart.

This week I've been working on Alfie the terrier and it makes a change from my usual out of focus backgrounds to paint a whole scene like this totally in focus. I loved the shot my client sent through and after cropping and making a couple of small alterations it was the perfect picture to work from. I hope you enjoy Alfie's progress and a little of our time in Tarifa

            Alfie's finished portrait, soft pastel 20"x14"

Here is the photo I was sent. I immediately loved Alfie's pose and the way the bright light made everything glow red and orange. You can see in my line drawing I altered the perspective a little and cropped the image at the top and bottom.

We are taking a break from motorhoming at the minute in the town of Tarifa, South of Spain. It's a treat to have a base for a few months and be able to leave my easel set up each night I finish work. This is my current work area with a shoe rack doing a great job of holding my pastel trays!

I begin with the areas furtherest away. So the window frame is where I focus on first. I'll likely do the whole background before tackling the dog.

I was filming this piece until about here when I decided to abandon so unfortunately there won't be a tutorial on this. There was just so much to fit in and I was sitting in such weird positions to get all those vertical and horizontal lines nice and smooth. It just seemed impossible to worry about a camera's position too!

So with the camera turned off I sped through the rest of the background. I use lots of vibrant oranges and reds as a sort of wash over everthing giving it the reflected glow from the curtains. You just about get a hint of those curtains at the edges of the painting.

Background almost finished and I've been making use of every tiny shard of pastel I have. People often ask why I don't use pastel pencils more. I do use them, but it's mostly to shape the soft pastel I've already applied. I don't like building up so many small marks with a sharp pencil and the soft pastel gives you such vibrance and strength of colour. Plus I love to play with these broken bits of colour...a tactile medium for people who like messy hands :-)

This week in Tarifa we decided to explore some of our surrounding area. We've been toying with the idea of rock climbing or bouldering which is popular round here so we went to check out a popular spot in the hills overlooking Tarifa.

The boulders seem good although Hairy Maclary isn't so sure Andrew is safe up there!

Most of Tarifa is set in areas of National Park so a lot of it is really stunning. We will have to get out on more walks and collect more reference pictures, especially of the animals. One of the rewards on Patreon I'm offering is royalty free photos to work from along with their line drawings and gridded version. Great if you can't get out and about to take your own photos, or just want to start in and practise.

I finally get to Alfie and his face has been a slight worry due to it's scale. I really wanted to capture a likeness but I know if I mess up his eyes on the first go, it will be hard to make it right. I use the smallest shards of pastel with good broken edges. But it's not too important how neatly I put on the marks. They can be neatened using the pencils.

Alfie's eyes in and I'm happy that with a very sharp black pastel pencil and some pointy piece of brown and highlight pieces of pastel, I managed to get some of his expression in there.

Working on down his body and using those same reds to reflect his surroundings.

Almost there! Final bits of detail with the pencils and add some more dabs of red around the painting.

Then it's time for the signature :-)

Hope you enjoyed Alfie's progress. I love to get a different challenge to work on and this piece was just that! Leaving you with a shot I took on Valentine's day of the two lovebirds! Lady and the Tramp eh!

If you're interested in a portrait of your own check out my price list for more information here

Don't forget if you'd like to learn more of my pastel techniques through real time video tutorials check out my Youtube or my Patreon.

Don't forget if you'd like to learn more about my pastel techniques through videos check out my Youtube