Welcome to my pet and family portrait blog. If you have commissioned a portrait you can see how it is progressing. If you would like to commission me to paint your pet, family or friend then visit my site at www.katetugwellportraits.com
Fancy learning how to draw and paint? See my art classes website at www.katesartclasses.com

Sunday, 19 December 2010

A Christmas Angel

Here's the finished version of my little Christmas angel - she's so cute! As you can see in these last three stages I continued to work on her skin tone and hair, adding in different colours and shades for depth. Finally I worked on her eyes to make them really stand out as they are such a gorgeous blue. I'm sure she'll be brightening up her family this Christmas!

See some more examples of my child portraits.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A Christmas Angel

This gorgeous little girl is another portrait needed for Santa to deliver so the first three stages are done. I am painting her on a 16 x 16" box canvas and decided not to use texture paste on this portrait as her skin is so delicate I thought I'd let the canvas create any texture needed. I painted light shadows and a wash for the skintone first and made a point of bringing out her eyes, as these will be the focus of the painting. Then I added more colour to her clothes, hair and background and continued to paint fine glazes to gradually build up her translucent skintone. I can't be bold with the shadows on her skin as it will look too heavy so I'm adding paint very lightly and blending it in as I go (mostly with my fingers!!)

See some more examples of my child portraits.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

A Portrait for Christmas

This portrait is now ready for Santa to deliver! For the last three stages work goes into getting the skin tone right by adding layers and layers of different coloured glazes. I added reds oranges and purples to lips, ears, neck and around the eyes; yellow and burnt sienna to the sides of the face, chin, forehead and under the eyes. I added light brush strokes of paynes grey to indicate slight stubble and used the same colour to darken his hair with highlights of titanium white to finish off.

See some more examples of my family portrait paintings

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A Portrait for Christmas

My latest commission is a portrait for Christmas and it's a surprise, so if you have stumbled upon my blog and you know this gentleman, shhhhh!! The size is 12 x 16" on primed artboard and after sketching the basic outline I started painting the shadows in paynes grey and burnt umber. Next I roughly painted in his shirt, jumper and hair. I used up the remainder of the blue paint as a wash for the background before building up warmer shadows on his face and used a small brush to add a base colour to his eyes. From there I have started to apply the many glazes required to build up a translucent skin tone so for now he looks quite tanned and his laughter lines and shadows are well pronounced. I'm quite pleased with the first few stages - keep watching to see it progress!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Dog painting - Acrylic on MDF board

Freeway and Bee Bee are now finished and looking cute. The final piece is at the top plus a couple more stages to follow on from my last post: I darkened the background before working on Freeway's ears. Then I turned my attention to Bee Bee and tried to make the hair look slightly coarser than Freeway's. I kept fiddling, adding in more detail and making sure the colours balanced based on the photos supplied, et voila!! I hope they like their portrait (and the owners too!)

See some more of my pet portraits from photos

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Dog painting - Acrylic on MDF board

I am working on a new commission of two very cute dogs for a birthday present. I started by priming an MDF board size 16" x 24.5" and applying a yellow ochre wash to the background. After sketching in the dog outlines I added texture paste. This creates a slightly 3D effect as I pick out hairs that stick out and create a furry texture. Next I started to paint in Freeway's eyes, nose and muzzle before painting the dark areas in his ears. Then I moved to Bee Bee to paint the eyes, nose and dark arees of fur. I need to work on the background next but haven't decided whether to grade from dark at the top to light at the bottom or vice versa. The ears need to stand out so if you have any ideas let me know!!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Finn - watercolour of a black flat coated retriever

This soppy old dog met me at my car door window with a gruff woof, looked under his eyebrows at me and promptly disappeared off to present me with a teddy bear almost as big as him! He has a few grey hairs around his muzzle and a fabulous single white eyebrow whisker over his right eye. His owner wanted him painted in a similar watercolour style to other dog portraits she had in the house but I've still given him quite a lot of detail. As all photographers and painters know, black animals are the hardest to capture!

See some more of my dog portraits

Monday, 11 October 2010

Whisky the black and white cat!

 My latest commission is an A4 size pastel drawing of a lovely old cat called Whisky. I started drawing him on cream pastel paper but got so carried away I forgot to take photos of the preliminary stages. Here you have the final piece with the one before I fixed it with an aerosol fixative in order to add more detail and intensify the colours. I think I've taken years off him!!

See some more of my cat portraits

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Kissing by the Viaduct

These are the final two versions of this commission. The client wanted a stripey red and black tie added in, some books in the foreground and the boy's hair lightened and shortened. As well as adding more definition to the couple I put more detail into the bushes and viaduct and added more texture to the grass using the edge of a palette knife.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Kissing by the Viaduct

Holidaying over, I have now started a fascinating commission combining a few photographs to create a painting which illustrates actual memories and the dreams of what could have been.
In the beginning I sketched the picture onto gesso primed board before adding texture and painting a wash of ochre to give background warmth. I painted the structure of the viaduct in burnt umber as I didn't want to lose my sketch while painting the sky.
Next I worked on the textures of the sky applying white with palette knives over a wash of paynes gray mixed with small amounts of blues and softening the edges with a brush. I also started painting blocks of colour that make up the viaduct and the couples' clothes and skin.
In the third photo you can see I have added greens to the meadow and worked further on the sky to make it appear less foreboding. I didn't want the couple running off for cover as a storm builds in the distance!
Today I roughly painted the trees and started to put detail on the viaduct. I'm quite pleased with these first few stages but there's a lot more detail, depth and texture yet to add. Keep watching!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Dog Pastel Portrait

Completely finished, this portrait of Major is bound for the framers before travelling to surprise its owner on his birthday. I hope he likes it! The background proved a bit tricky as I wanted to draw the stream and trees in quite a detailed way. However the more detail I added the more Major's head seemed to disappear. I decided to smudge it right back and lighten it all before increasing the detail on Major's fur and making sure I had the right shadow and colour balance. I'm looking forward to seeing it framed and ready to hang.

See some more of my dog and pet portraits

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Dog Pastel Portrait

Traditional new commission of a lovely alsation golden retriever cross called Major, a name that seems to suit him as he looks quite dignified and regal in all his photos. I like the way he sometimes sits with his paw curled around, looking straight at the camera. I'm going to place him on some ground by a stream he apparently likes to jump in but for now, here are the first few stages of the drawing. His fur is mostly black but he has an interesting coat with lots of rusty brown speckled throughout and even some blond bits. I have used a wide range of browns, reds and ochres with a lot of the black and white pastel and have added blue in contrast to make the black shine.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Loose style portrait

The finished portrait of the little girl I have painted in a slightly looser style than usual. The painting is meant to be black and white with a hint of colour so the last couple of stages I used mostly black and white acrylic to focus on the highlights and shadows and a little colour to soften the edges. I added a crimson red to the background at the last minute just to give the portrait a bit more warmth. I enjoyed painting this style and may disappear up into my studio to create a few more. Perhaps my cat will pose for me...

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Loose style portrait

I have just started a portrait of this gorgeous little girl. I am using acrylic paint on box canvas and it is to be a black and white loose style portrait with a hint of colour - a bit like the old fashioned black and white photos that photo- graphers used to tint with inks for a hint of colour. As you can see, for the first few stages I have laid down quite a lot of bright colours, oranges and blues, for contrast. Applying bright colours across a canvas as a base is a way of unifying a painting and giving it depth later on.

London Training Company Portraits

This is the finished portrait of Lesley. From the last post you can see I worked on her skin tone, adding more definition around the eyes (which included enhancing a few laughter lines - sorry Lesley!) and adding highlights and lowlights to her hair. If only hairdressing were that simple! I have just emailed the final picture across to the offices at Mouse Training and their response was, "Wow, that's really lovely (you've captured her twinkle!)". I hope Lesley has the same reaction.

Monday, 28 June 2010

3-D Portraiture

This has been an interesting project: painting the image of a dearly loved dog onto a garden statue that the owner said had a very clear likeness of him. The dog, called Shadow, was nearly all black with a white paw and white stripe on his chest. I had lots of excellent photos to work from taken from different angles in order to build up a 3-D reference. So first I painted on two coats of masonry primer. This had the added advantage of allowing me to fill in the pin holes where the cement had set around bubbles. Then I gave him two coats of black acrylic paint before painting in the details of his eyes, paws, muzzle, nose and white fur. I am so used to having to create shadow to create the illusion of 3-D onto a 2-D canvas that working with an object that creates the shadows for you was quite a challenge. The paint effect changes as you move the object around and the light reflections change so I kept adding, then removing and changing the details. Fun to do though and I think the paint has added to bring the unique characteristics of Shadow to the statue.