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

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Wedding portrait

This latest commission is for a wedding in June. I used the main photo here, along with a number of others to sketch them closer together on a 30cm square canvas board. I decided to keep the lighting, background and clothing simple and white as it's for a wedding. Raw umber was used first to paint in the shadows and hair. The skin tones had a wash of flesh tint mixed with crimson and burnt sienna in the shadow areas and cheeks. Then I focused on getting the features correct. I used a small round brush to carefully paint the different colours in their eyes and get their mouth shapes right. In the next stage I scumbled and glazed different colours to build up realistic skin and hair tones until I was happy that the painting had enough form. This simple portrait will look great in a frame and I hope the bride and groom love it!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Child portrait

These are Simon's children, a delightful commission using two different photographs and painted onto a 40 x 30cm box canvas in acrylic paints. First I sketched their cheeky faces onto the canvas and blocked in a warm red background to give them shape and make sure I was happy with the composition and relative sizes. I mixed my flesh colours next and started to fill in the skin tones but for some reason my paint started misbehaving. I know a bad workman always blames his tools but honestly, the glazes were sticking and drying where I didn't want them to and lifting off when I thought they had dried. I packed up, came back the next day and persevered adding more titanium white which almost completely obliterated the shadows but at least it evened out their lovely clear complexions. I painted the background chocolate brown at the client's request and set to work adding layers of different colours to the skin tones and hair. This portrait was meant to be in a looser style but due to the paint behaving the way it did I had to apply many more layers as I do with the highly detailed ones, so although it is slightly looser in style the main features are quite detailed. Before I placed my signature I reviewed all the photos on screen again and realised the hair colour wasn't quite right. A few flicks of yellow ochre and raw umber later and I'm happy this portrait is complete!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Macy and Tilly - two black labs


This is Macy and Tilly, an 18 x 24" commission I started a couple of months ago and keep adding to. Tilly, the dog on the left is no longer here but the portrait is to immortalise two well loved black Labradors on canvas. I placed Macy slightly forward but kept their feet in line which balanced the sizes of the two dogs. I started by painting a coloured ground and adding texture paste so they both look like ghosts at this stage! Next I quickly blocked in the basic shadows and bodies of both dogs so the customer had something to show his dad on his birthday. I grounded them with a soft watercolour-like grass which I quite liked. I worked on the dogs a bit more  but decided the background was looking a bit weak in comparison so added more washes which inevitably made the dogs look like they were shrouded in mist. I worked on Macy first as the photo has more clarity to pick out detail and painted blues, purples and browns into the coat as well as black, grey and white. More detail was added to the grass in the foreground before Tilly was brought of the mist! The light sources on each photo is slightly different so although I'm happy with Macy, I need to imagine a bit more detail for Tilly. Nearly there!