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

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...

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Portrait of Tom

Hooray! The portrait of Tom is finally complete and ready for the Easter break. I'm really pleased with it now but it has been a battle: I had trouble with the shirt as the original photo had his shoulder up, causing the shirt to crease in a way that looked wrong with the shoulder down. Tom had kindly sent lots of photos of him in different shirts but I wanted the colours to complement the portrait I previously painted of Linda. A plain shirt looked too plain so I opted for a green check and ended up re-painting the lines about five times. I even resorted to getting my husband to model a stripy shirt for me so I could work out how the creases fell and how the contours of the check pattern would work. That'll teach me!! Obviously the main part of the portrait is Tom's face and particularly his eyes so most of the glazed layers of paint went into his face - the shadows and laughter lines. This goes through a process of darkening areas then smoothing them into the surrounding area using a series of scumble glazes. These glazes range from bright purple, red and orange to dark brown, grey and green. Green works surprisingly well in the shadows although it looks pretty scary when first applied - Tom was the Incredible Hulk for a time! It has been sitting on my easel for a while as I have been tweaking the background, the shirt, adding a few more grey hairs to Tom (and to me) but I'm really pleased with the final outcome and hope Tom feels the same.