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
This latest commission is of a fine looking gentleman with an obvious penchant for the finer things in life - never without a glass of bubbly and sporting his club tie, this is a head and shoulders portrait on a 10 x 12" canvas board in acrylic paint. From the selection of photos I chose these two to work from as I thought his smile revealed more of his character and there was more detail to work with but his colourful tie was to be included. First I sketched his face onto the canvas then blocked in the main shadows with burnt sienna and paynes grey. The background was roughly painted to reflect the colours of the walls in the Garrick Club and I painted skin tones across the whole of his face adding a touch of yellow ochre and crimson. I mixed the colours for his tie, and painted the shadows on the shirt and jacket. The next stage called for a finer brush: working detail into the laughter lines around the eyes, intensifying the shadows and making the mouth look realistic. Greens, purples, red, orange, browns and shades of yellow were scumbled into areas of the face where I could see them. The background was knocked back a bit using paynes grey, white and blue and finally his hair. Then the light faded and apart from a few minor tweaks in tomorrow's light, I think Chris is done!
This is Dexter, a black lab/collie cross, needed as a surprise birthday gift. The client sent me three photos which they weren't very confident they could use as they've been trying to take pictures of Dexter without raising suspicion from the owner. They sent me three and this is the one I chose to work from. The others were useful as additional references like for the shape of the ears. First I sketched in the shadows with a black soft pastel and added some yellow ochre where I could see reflective highlights on the fur and in the eyes. Then I added blues and reds where I could see them. I smudged it all together to get rid of any cream paper showing through and added the colours again before blending it all together using a grey pastel. Browns, blues, yellows, purples and greys were added more accurately, spending a lot of time looking at the photos so I could correct the shape and shadows. I always work in the same direction as the fur grows. Lastly I used black to deepen the shadows and add texture and grey to add a couple of whiskers. I hope I've captured him!
This is Tinca - a very handsome black Labrador who is posing for a wedding gift commissioned by the parents of the groom. The size is A4 on cream Ingres Pastel Paper and after sketching the face in pencil I blocked out the highlights in white, the mid-tones in grey, brown and yellow ochre, and the shadows in black soft pastel. I focused on the eyes and when I was happy with the first layer I smudged it all together with more grey and black and in the second frame you can see I've also added blue to the right side of the face. In the next frame I added deep reds and browns to show a different reflective light source to the left side. I also noticed green on the underside of the muzzle which would be reflecting off the grass but decided not to include green. All the other colours of the spectrum are included though, being blended in so the dog doesn't look like a bright patchwork quilt! Finally Tinca's neck is drawn in, the shadows darkened and a few whiskers flicked in. I think she looks rather regal and certainly smart enough for a wedding ceremony.
I'm hoping this commission is now finished. I've fiddled and revisited it rather a lot and it's been one of the most challenging commissions I've undertaken. For starters I was working from old black and white photos on a very big canvas and having to turn it into colour. I'd very nearly got her face right when I was asked to change her expression to make her happier. So I literally wiped the expression off her face (was it something I said?!) and tried to tickle a smile with my paintbrush. I had got a couple of smiling references but nothing very clear and the lovely thing about smiling is that it completely alters the muscle structure of the face: the eyes widen and narrow, the cheeks lift, the nose widens. the eyebrows lift and the mouth obviously changes shape. Everyone smiles differently and at one point she had a Mona Lisa wonky smile! Fortunately work on the dress was relatively straightforward and using ultramarine as the mid blue with touches of coeruleum with white scumbled over the highlights and putting a lovely pinky purple into the shadows seemed to work quite well. Subtle shades of blue were painted into the skintones where there might be a reflection from the fabric, again very tricky to judge without a colour reference. She does look prettier now she's smiling so I'm pleased. I'm now collapsed on the sofa eating Easter eggs to re-energise!! Happy Easter everyone.