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

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Five Pastel Dogs

These five lovely dogs are now finished and ready to go to the framer. I've taken a close up of each one and a photo of them all as a whole portrait. The paper is a much warmer yellow than my camera, I ran out of proper daylight as the nights are still drawing in! But I'm pleased with how they all work together and hope this will make a great Christmas present.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Five Pastel Dogs

Oscar the black labrador and Taylo are the next dogs to be started. Ripley, Koda and Loki have been improved - more orange and light pink was added to Ripley's coat and his collar finished, Loki's tongue and muzzle have been drawn in and blue, yellow and brown has been added into the two black dogs' coats to give shine. It's getting there!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Five Pastel Dogs

This Christmas commission takes five very different dogs and brings them together on one portrait. The customer sent me loads of brilliant high resolution photos of all the dogs running around outside and a brief write-up on the character of each dog. It's almost impossible to get a load of dogs to pose well for just their individual photo let alone try to get them to pose altogether, so a portrait is the best plan! This portrait is just over A2 size. I'm using Fabriano Tiziano Pastel Paper as it holds the pastel really well and the paper colour is cream (though you can't tell from most of the photos). First I sketched out each dog then started applying pastel from the top left to reduce the chances of smudging as I work. This is just the first layer of pastel but I'm pleased with the outcome so far. Just got to hope I don't rest my hand in the wrong place when I start to apply more detail on the next round!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Frejya - Black Labrador

I've now finished Frejya having built up her coat with fine brush strokes to create fur on her left side. In the background I added more detail to the leaves and grass especially in the foreground then when it was all dry I scumbled a thin golden/white paint over the background to knock it all into the distance and create the early morning mist. Over the dog's right side I scumbled some more to show the breath catching the sunlight. I added tiny dots of yellow and white at the edges of the fur to create a lovely backlit glow.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Frejya - Black Labrador

This is Freyja - a black Labrador needed as a present for Christmas. I've gone from huge to tiny in the last two commissions, this one is 6 x 9". The original photograph is beautiful: it looks like it's been taken on a crisp autumnal morning with sunlight coming across the park and highlighting the leaves, the grass and the edge of Frejya's coat and breath. This is just the first three stages of under-painting. I've had to invest in some smaller brushes so I can get the detail correct as I've noticed most of my little brushes are looking a bit ragged - the old ones are great for grass and fur though!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Button the West Highland Terrier

Showing a month of painting: as the days shorten I have less good light to play with and this is a lovely big portrait to play with. After the initial stages of colouring the canvas the layers of paint that go on after that don't appear to change much so I've only taken a few shots. Following on from the last entry, I painted on many more colours (see a bit too much green on the left eyebrow!) and deepened the shadows. I wanted to keep the fur a warm white so added yellow ochres, burnt umbers and muted cadmium reds. My deep shadows complete, I set to work painting in the fur that catches the light. I used a rigger brush to paint fine hairs and resorted to a fan brush on the chest when I wanted to cover the area with more than just one hair at a time! You can see the hairs more clearly on the close-up of the eye. Finally I refocussed on the eyes and nose, adding more detail and deepening a few of the shadows. I used additional reference material from image libraries to ensure accuracy. A quick check tomorrow in proper daylight will hopefully confirm this cheeky portrait of Button is complete!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Button - West Highland Terrier

This is the middle section of the painting: shadows are added in increasing depth. In the middle one you can see how hues of yellow, orange, brown, purple, blues and even greens have been added to the fur to give it depth. The background has been given more depth and texture, then greys, reds and browns have been painted into the shadow side of the face. The final part of the painting is more subtle as fine details are painted in and more attention paid to the hue shifts within the shadows. Keep watching!!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Button - West Highland Terrier

This new commission of Button, a west highland terrier, is for a highly detailed painting in acrylics on a large canvas board size 841 x 594 mm. The photo I'm working from was taken on a phone so there's not a huge amount of crisp information for me to work with but the client has sent me some other slightly bigger photos. I started by sketching Button's face onto the canvas board and created a rough tonal under-painting to mark areas of shadow. Then I added texture paste to the fur to create highlights and textural interest. A strong background colour has been painted in to enhance the highlights and now I'm starting the process of building up the subtle tones and colours in the fur. It's lovely working on a really large panel and a portrait at this size I'm hoping will be stunning.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Corporate Portrait

After working on Oz's skin tone and adding more depth to the shadows on her face I spent some time blending in the colours and sharpening up the details. I mixed my own dark browns and blacks before finally adding carbon black into the darkest areas of her hair and eyes. I think I'm finally happy with her portrait - I just hope she is!!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Corporate Portrait of Oz

Another addition to a London based computer training company's Wall of Shame Fame coming up! This is Oznur, the administrator at Mouse Training, who looks nothing like Tori Amos as you can see from the photograph. But after first sketching her onto the 16 x 20" box canvas I mapped out the tonal values with paynes grey before laying down base colours of ultramarine blue mixed with burnt sienna for the background and burnt sienna for her hair. This tends to harmonise the painting from the start. Next I painted a light wash of flesh tint across the whole of her face and neck and introduced more burnt sienna into the shadows. Now I start introducing other colours like crimson and cadmium reds on her lips and eyes, a touch of ultramarine blue and raw umber into the shadows and a lot of burnt umber into the hair and eyes. I've still got a long way to go but the structure and base colours are at least now in place.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Civil Ceremony Portrait

This portrait is pretty much finished, I just need to look at it again in proper daylight and not just under my daylight bulb! Being that it's A4 size each tiny pinhead of pigment can totally change the shape of the features so this one has been fiddly. From the previous entry I added light pink pastel all over to smooth the skin tones and create the base layer before fixing it. Then I carefully added reds, yellows, oranges, blues, greys and greens to the skin, taking care to blend well and knocking a colour back with the pale pink if too much pigment was applied. Then when I was happy with the depth and colour I sharpened my pencils and sharpened the features, adding freckles and wisps of hair and highlights on jewellery.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Civil Ceremony Portrait

This latest portrait has been commissioned as a gift for a couple who are having a civil ceremony this September. It is A4 size in soft pastel and so far as you can see I have been building up the skin tones. Now the base layer is down I have fixed it so I can build on the depth of colour and concentrate on getting the tonal values right. It's fiddly working at this size with pastels as the smallest move of coloured dust can totally change the shape of the features. Teeth and eyes are particilarly hard and I'm having to sharpen my pastels frequently. I hope the next layer of colour behaves itself!

Watercolour flowers

I was presented with some beautiful sunflowers from one of my students when the Haywards Heath art class came to an end. I placed them in front of my black Victorian fireplace and the following morning came downstairs to see them bathed in sunlight. They looked so beautiful it would have been a crime not to paint them so here's the result, in watercolour, which is not my favourite medium but I fancied the challenge. And for a bit of fun I sprinkled salt into the centre on the sunflowers to create texture and in some lights it now looks slightly sparkly.

Then while I had my paints out I had a go at painting some daffodils in a looser style working mostly wet-in-wet. I think this one better captures the brightness of sunlight but I like both of them for different reasons. I bought some coloured mounts from my framer, which set them off a treat, ready to sell on my website!