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

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Bella - a black lab in oil paint

This is Bella, a beautiful black lab in a beautiful pose but the photo is not very sharp so the owner sent me a few others to work with that have more detail. Black animals always offer the greatest challenge as it's tricky getting depth in a painting when the highlights are a lighter shade of black! Anyway, I started by toning my 9 x 12" size canvas board with a mixture of cadmium yellow and yellow ochre. Then I sketched Bella over the top, marking in where her features are as well as I could. Then I scumbled the background with a mixture of ultramarine blue, sap green and raw umber into titanium white. I let this layer dry before mixing burnt sienna with ultramarine in varying mixes for the first undercoat. This layer establishes the highlights, shadows and direction of fur growth. Next I added a little white to pick out the high spots as well as layering in more tones of mixed black. With another layer added, this time with more blue in the mix, I concentrated on painting burnt sienna into the eyes and creating the shape and highlights. Here I got a little unstuck as the photo was so vague and I ended up messing around with the levels in Photoshop and painting from my laptop screen. I changed my paintbrushes to get finer brushstrokes as I added more blue, white, umber and sienna on different layers and at last the dog is taking form and looking less flat! I added more colour to the background and painted these onto the dog in order to soften the edges and add the right colours that would be reflected on the coat. Finally, black and brown shades are painted back over and lifted out of the highlighted areas. Bella is now finished!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Repeat Custom

It's always a treat when a customer returns to commission another portrait and this one is to go alongside 'Magic' which I completed in 2012. Just one photo was sent, which was really good quality so I chose a piece of sand coloured 12 x 16" Murano pastel paper and got started. After drawing the outline I mapped in the lightest areas with a white pastel and chose a yellow ochre for the shadow areas. I smudged the colours together before selecting a dark brown for the shadows on the legs and smudged those together using a cream pastel pencil, before getting to work on the head using an assortment of brown sharpened pastel pencils. This was quite fiddly to get right but once I was happy I took the same reddy browns, greys and ochres and added them to the rest of the coat. At stages the dog looked almost shaggy so cream and white pencils were used to push the pastel and smooth it out. Finally, I grabbed a handful of greens, browns and yellows for the grass and tried to create a similar patch as I did for the previous portrait. I think they'll look great together!