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

Friday, 8 February 2013


My latest commission is a cat called Mishulah. She has the most amazing turquoise eyes and beautiful markings. Her owner (don't cats have staff, not owners?!) wanted her portrayed with her tail wrapped around her which I was able to glean from other photos she sent me. I also posed her with her feet together for a more elegant stance. The portrait is an A4 pastel on cream pastel paper. The photos above take you quickly through the first stages of sketching the pose and laying down the base layers of coloured pastel through to the latter stages when more time is spent adding details and subtle colour changes that don't get picked up so well with the camera, but are a necessary part of bringing the animal to life. I put the eyes in first then laid a rough layer of pink all over to bring warmth to the coat and blocked in some of the white highlights. Then working from the top down, to avoid smudging, I blocked in the other main areas of colour and started adding in the dark brown markings. I used a cream pastel to blend the coat and merge the colours, taking care not to change the shape of the markings too much. The top two photos show the top layers of pastel being applied with a surprising amount of bright orange and yellow added in places alongside various shades of browns, ochres, grey, black and a touch of blue to the coat as well as the eyes (though you would never know). Finally those long, white whiskers were swept in with a sharpened pastel pencil - they're subtle, but they're there!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Portrait of a couple

Following on from the last blog entry this portrait has undergone a transformation and received some more subtle painting with layers of coloured glazes applied on the faces and hands to create the right skin tones. The bottom of the painting was to remain loose so I concentrated on getting their faces right first, adding tiny strokes and dabs of colour to get the features correct. I used my trusty sword liner brush to work rich tones into the long hair before moving on to the clothing. To gradually move away from the high detail in the top left I decided to hint at the fabric pattern of the waistcoat and be fairly vague with the folds of fabric on the arms. I don't usually like to use much black paint in my portraits as it's a bit of a dead colour but I had to go quite dark so mixed brown and blue into it to strengthen and highlight various areas. After tweaking the colours in their faces and hair one last time I got sploshy with the bottom half. I mixed some thinner shades of blues and purples, loaded some big brushes, flicked, splashed and spattered. I hope they like the Jackson Pollock-esque corner as much as I enjoyed doing it! Click on the top image to get a closer look.