I was going to write about Cooper on my sister website www.sarahleighfineart.co.uk, but to be honest it is so much of a work in progress it really doesn’t seem worth it at the moment. I need to finish all the content, layout, upload videos etc it seems silly to spend my energy on a blog when all that needs doing, so he is here!

Cooper is a gorgeous retriever with a lovely mane, my client specifically wanted in the portrait. After a few photos were supplied we decided on this one. We felt he almost looked regal, and as if something ha caught his attention. It also had his beautiful mane in. We decided to change the background to an out of focus seascape as he loves the sea and remove the snowy garden.

As usual I start pretty much with the eyes, and as I haven’t been filming at the moment I thought I would do some stage by stage photos of the progress . Hopefully you can see how it comes together in the sequence. The catch light in the eye is the most important bit as it makes the subject look alive and full of character. I always pay special attention to getting this right. Also Cooper has lovely eyelashes and I really wanted to make sure those stood out in his portrait too.

Cooper has lots of layers of thick fur. It is important not only to pay attention to which way the top layer lie, but also the layers underneath, as there will be parts where these layers show through and you can see they lie in different directions. This serves to add depth the portrait and ultimately will give you a much more realistic rendition of the pet portrait.

You can see these parts well on his body and just below. his ear. Take a close look at the photo and see if you can spot them. These areas will often be shaded or darker than the fur above, so also take care to pay attention to the colours you are using.

You can see from the photo below I have drawn in the under lying fur first, but have marked out where the fur will be place on top. I don’t worry about hiding these marks as when I add the top layer they will be eventually hidden.

It’s not often I get a whole day painting, but today was one of them! I am so happy when I do get them. As a result I managed to finish Cooper’s pet portrait and I am delighted with how he has turned out! My client is too, which is fantastic.

I am pleased with how the background has turned out too. I love the way the colours are all some what muted and it gives the overall painting a very soft and serene feeling I think. I don’t know about you but I love the sea, so I love to get the opportunity to paint it. I get to do it all over again with Bella’s portrait, which I hope to get to look at tomorrow, but it is quite a busy day, so we shall see. If not Thursday afternoon is free.

Anyway here is the scan of Cooper and tomorrow I will take a photo of him framed for you to see.

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So after a very productive day yesterday I managed to frame Coopers portrait and the the double watercolour portrait. Cooper was posted today. Although they only live in Gravesend I still decided to post as by the time I take a morning out, because lets face it, it will be an paid for the petrol to deliver the portrait, it will cost as much.

They would like me eventually to do a second portrait for them of their younger golden called Padington! What a great name, I wonder if they call him Paddy for short. It’s quite a mouthful to yell for recall!

Below you can see the frame I chose for Coopers pet portrait and I agree I think he looks really rather handsome in it!