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, 21 April 2013

Charleston Painted Furniture Workshop

I have just enjoyed an amazing Painted Furniture Masterclass at Charleston farmhouse this Saturday and in just one day turned an old wooden cabinet into something unique-shabby-chic under the excellent tutelage of artist Sophie Coryndon! The day was a birthday gift and started at 10am sharing coffee and croissants with the other seven attendants on the workshop. After instruction on preparation of your chosen piece of furniture and a demo on how to achieve a crackle glaze, we all started work applying a base coat with our chosen Farrow & Ball paint. I chosen Charleston Grey (naturally) followed by a coating of paste. We left our pieces to dry in the sunshine (yes we enjoyed that too!) while we took a guided tour around the farmhouse, sketchbook and pencil in hand. Inspired by the art and creativity of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant's artwork, as well as works by Picasso, Sickert and Renoir, we returned to apply our crackle glaze. A beautiful artisan lunch had been set out for us in the garden with homemade vegetarian soup, bread, cheese, meats and salads. We swatted the midges and got to know each other a bit before returning to the workshop for some serious design and painting. I say 'serious' because silence descended as we all got absorbed in our creative endeavours, broken only when tea and bakewell tart was served, which was delicious. A few more processes of sanding and glazing and my piece was ready to take home. I was so chuffed with what I'd learned about the processes that I can't wait to attack my kitchen units and am eyeing up other bits in my cottage with a threatening stare. The day was thoroughly enjoyable, helped also by the sunshine, but I would heartily recommend it to anyone wanting to try their hand at something a bit different - you don't have to be an artist, just go to be inspired and have a go. Check out http://www.charleston.org.uk/products-page/workshops/. There were some wonderful finished pieces, all uniquely different, all had transformed an old piece of wood into something rather beautiful.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Portrait of a beautiful couple and their dog

The portrait of this lovely couple was started a while ago and has gone through quite a few stages already. First I played around with the cropping of the photograph on my laptop and made sure the composition and sizing worked when I included their beloved dog. When we had agreed the composition I sketched the outline onto a 16 x 20" deep edge box canvas. I blocked in the background with a warm mix of burnt sienna and cadmium red and started painting skin tones and the dog's face as well as the main shadows in the hair and an outline of their features. I wasn't sure at this stage how much pattern to include on the shirt so painted a few stripes, keeping them vague whilst deepening some of the shadows. I added more colour to the background and started to build the painting in layers of different glazes using different sized brushes to keep the outer areas loose and the faces more detailed. Having painted the main tonal values including their clothing I united the picture with a warm glaze. This intensified the colour and gave the skin tones a summery glow but also had the effect of strengthening the background too much. So to bring the couple forward I striped in mixtures of payne's grey with cooler blues and greens. I wanted some of the red undertones to show through in places to keep the warm depth but it has also balanced the picture better. Now I am concentrating on the detail in their faces, ensuring I get the shadows and shapes right so keep watching...!