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
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Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Sherwoods - a family portrait in pastel

This latest portrait is a surprise 50th birthday present for the proud father of these three siblings, commissioned by his wife, so shhhhh, don't tell him! The photos were taken on the same day in the same room so the light source is the same and despite there being other photos of them all together, the favoured expressions are of them separate from each other. I put together the composition in Photoshop so they could all agree and then drew each of them onto a 16 x 19.5" sheet of Ingres cream pastel paper. When I was happy with the likeness I started blocking in the main colours in Luke's face and hair, blending together various shades of pink, orange tones and brown. His eyes are very green at this point and the brace on his teeth is not being painted in so his teeth look brilliant white. When the first two or three layers were laid down and blended in I moved onto Anna's hair and face, again blocking in the main areas of colour and tone. There's not much detail at this stage but attention still has to be paid to the shapes in the face as the drawing gradually disappears under the layers of pastel. You can see at each stage that I've been revisiting Luke's face, as working on other areas, leaving the painting and returning, refreshes my eyes. I can immediately see where improvements are needed and by working from the top down I reduce the risk of smudging the painting too much. I have taken a couple more pictures of the process with Laura's face, so you can see the pale pink and white of her skin on the first layer being worked in, before the shadows are placed. The start of any painting is exciting as the blank paper is transformed with the first few layers of pastel. Now comes the tricky bit of making them really come to life! Watch this space...

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