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

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Horse Pastel Portrait

My latest commission is another that has been in my order book for a while and was originally going to be a horse and rider as a gift to the lady who rides the horse, from her husband. Photos were sent through of the horse, William, on his own to be set within the local countryside. Firstly I cut the Murano pastel paper to just over 18 x 14" and sketched the outline of the horse and countryside behind. I blocked in the background colours concentrating on the form and colour of the farthest treeline from the top left to reduce the chances of smudging. I used a lot of blue in the shadows to create the illusion of perspective. As I got nearer to the foreground I started to introduce brighter, warmer coloured pastels and introduced black, brown and purple into the shadows. Next I blocked in the main body of the horse with a burnt sienna pastel and smudged it to get rid of the paper colour underneath. I created the form and muscle structure of the horse by carefully observing the colour variations where the light hits his coat. There is a surprising amount of blue and purple as well as a wide range of browns, yellows and peachy hues. I sharpened some pastel pencils to create the detail in his face which took a whole  sitting as I used the pencil tips to carefully blend each colour for accuracy. When I was completely happy with William's face I added more subtle colours to his body before finally moving down to the detail in the field and his legs and feet. I've kept the background colours subtle and light so the horse stands out well from his surroundings. I hope I've captured him!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Frankie the family cat

This is Frankie, a beautiful cat who doesn't smile much... Many months ago I was commissioned through my website to paint Frankie for a birthday present. It turned out that the gentleman who commissioned me is my husband's, father's cousin who while looking for a gift for his wife, came across my site and wondered, with an unusual name like Tugwell, whether we were related. We met at their house and took photos of Frankie: Chester with his super duper camera and me with my little Canon G9, but Frankie was not impressed. The supermodel pose did not happen and although we got lots of lovely detailed shots and had a lovely time, Frankie looked stressed out with the whole 'say cheese for the camera' ordeal and we left knowing that we'd not seen him at his best. Caroline promised to send a photo through as soon as she could catch him on a good day. A few months passed and finally Frankie smiled - it's not a grin, but it's not a grimace either. I had pre-prepared an oval board which I got cut in order to match another portrait they had in their home, triple gessoed it and painted the background. Despite that, for some reason the paint I use just did not want to behave on this surface. It has taken me months to apply layers of paint with a tiny rigger, almost in an egg tempura style, in order the make the fur look real enough as the paint was just sliding around. However, his whiskers went on today and I'm happy that Frankie is finally finished, so I'm smiling too! I have a frame pre-ordered and waiting at my framer's so at long last (and I'm ashamed to say this is the longest time I've ever taken to complete a commission) Caroline will get her birthday present.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Wedding Portrait

Having finished this portrait of a wedding day, the couple wanted to include their beloved dog in the picture too, which works well and finishes the portrait off perfectly! This large pastel has been lightly fixed and is now ready to be framed.