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 is a cheeky little pastel portrait just in time for Christmas! It is A4 in size and is in soft pastel on grey Daler Rowney Ingres Pastel Paper, chosen to highlight the light and darker areas of the dog. I marked out the main areas of white, then added brown and ginger colours and blended it all together. Next I worked into the dark areas with black and a variety of browns and greys taking care to smudge the pastel into the lighter areas where texture was needed, but not overlapping into areas around the eyes and nose. I roughly marked in some background shapes using brown, black, yellows and greys and merged them too. With the base layers in place I was able to paint in more detail, firstly to the background foliage and then to the coat. I flicked white across from the highlights on the legs into the background to convey wet fur and finally added a few white hairs around Margo's eyes as the owner wanted her to look a little older. She looks ready to pounce!
This is a Christmas commission painted in pastel. The size is A3 and I decided to work from a mid-tone brown as some of the background is to be be included. I sketched a detailed drawing onto Daler Rowney Ingres Pastel Paper as I decided the lines in the jumper and other details would be easier to draw with a pencil than with a pastel. However, working at this size, rather than blocking in with larger pastels, as I usually do, I filled in areas of tone with pastel pencils as the shapes are small to start with. I picked out a selection of greens, blues, creams and browns and blended each colour into the background with a cotton bud and the edge of my fingers so as not to move the colour around too much. I built up more detail and increased the opacity, building up the picture as a whole. The faces, hands and chain were particularly fiddly so pastel dust was dotted on with sharpened pastel pencils and in the latter stages, I blend using the pencil tip of a lighter colour before going back into the detail with darker colours. I'm nearly there, just another few hours tomorrow and it should be finished.... The top pic shows it finished!
This posthumous portrait of Mwinga has been commissioned by his friend pictured in the photo. It is a present to Mwinga's family - a really touching gift - and I have been working on it over the past few months as it is an oil on A3 size canvas. The stages of the painting started with the drawing which I pieced together in Photoshop from a number of different photos to get the pose and expression right. After sketching it onto the canvas I fixed the pencil in place with a light wash of yellow ochre acrylic paint. Next I blocked in the main areas of colour - whites, browns and blacks - adding crimson and raw umber to the lips and eyes respectively. Next, glazes of umbers, ochres, siennas and Paynes grey have been painted on and worked into to create depth in the skin tones. It is not finished yet (shapes and tones need working on) but latterly I have been painting the kind smile in Mwinga's eyes.
This family portrait has come along well and is now finished. Since the last blog entry I have been painting in subtle glazes of skin tones. In these stages the changes are not so dramatic so I tend to work on it for a number of hours before taking a photo. It's a bit like 'spot the difference'! I have also taken this painting to my framer to see what kind of dark wooden would work and tomorrow it will be taken there to be finished off.
This family portrait has been compiled from a number of photographs, chosen for the background and the three family members. I did a number of sketches before I decided on the right composition as I wanted to include the elephant in the background without it looking contrived. Also the positioning needed careful attention due to the light sources being different in each photo. After preparing a canvas board with a wash of yellow ochre and cadmium yellow for background warmth, I carefully drew the figures. Then I blocked in the sky with a mix of cerulean blue and titanium white before mixing umbers and ochres with white for the land. I painted the elephant, blocked in the trees and T-shirts and left it to dry. Next I painted the shadows and the hat with burnt umber to create my underpinning structure. Again I let the paint dry so I could paint a glaze of flesh tint over the top and not lose the features. I worked into the glaze with tints of crimson, cadmium red, yellow ochre, Paynes grey and burnt umber mixed with a little white in the latter glazes. The painting is only A3 size so I am working with very small brushes and trying not to change the shapes too much. Having spent time on the faces I changed my attention to the hair and the rest of the canvas. I darkened the hat and put more detail on the shirt. The canvas now needs to dry a little before I can work more glazes into the skin tones. On this post I have included a selection of some of the frames available at my framer although she has more!
Last weekend I attended a fabulous Portrait Painting in Oils Course with Mike Skidmore in the Cotswolds and would thoroughly recommend it! Mike's teaching style is fun, informal and instructive with bags of tips and encouragement for artists of all levels. He has loads of his work around the place to inspire and tells jokes that make you want to expire but everyone went home with a portrait they were proud of. The process began with choosing a photograph and drawing it onto a Belle Arte canvas. Then the pencil was sealed in place with an acrylic wash of Payne's gray which was left to dry. Next a grisaille or monotone underpainting was created using Payne's grey and white acrylic paints mixed with slow drying medium to describe the form. The following day we mixed up a dark flesh tone, added a wet medium to thin it down, and painted it all over the face. Then, while it was wet we could work into it with colour, working from dark to light. I added flecks to the beard and viridian green to the shadows in the cloth before running out of steam. However, I signed up for an extra day so I could paint some more on both this portrait and some others I had brought with me. It meant suffering more of Mike's jokes but it was jolly worth it! His wife, Cathy, kept us fed and watered throughout the weekend, serving up scrumptious lunches in the house and running over to the studio with cuppas and pastries. They are an amazing team and I can't wait to go back!
This is a commission for my cousin, Caroline, of a lovely old dog called Blackie. The portrait is an A4 pastel but as I wasn't sure of the cropping I first drew it on a cream coloured A3 Ingres Pastel Paper so I can cut it down later but I quite like the crop as it finished up. After sketching in the shape, I blocked in the whites and light greys with pastel pencils. Then I took my black Conte pastel and blocked in the darkest shadow areas. Dark animals need a lot of careful blending if their coat is to look shiny not smudgey so a few layers of black were applied and blended with grey and brown mid-tones. I often blend the layers using white, cream and grey pastel pencils especially on the final layers to create fur-like texture. I added a bit of shadow around the paws and stippled in some texture to assimilate sand on a beach and I think Blackie is ready to be framed!