So I am on to my next few commissions, I tend to work in batches and have two maybe three on the go. I also have a gorgeous Terrier Evie, who’s pet portrait has been started. However I started Halle yesterday and I seem to be on a bit of a roll with her portrait!

I was sent a gorgeous photograph of her sitting on the sofa and it works beautifully as a background to her painting. It is a good colour and is softly out of focus throwing Halle forward as the main focus.

Halle, reference photo for a pastel dog portrait

I love the red and turquoise on the cushions, they compliment her perfectly and I am going to use my pan pastels for the background again, which I am really excited about!

Starting Halle’s Pet Portrait

For Halle’s pet portrait I am using a new colour sheet of Pastelmat. It is dark blue. A few years back they released some more colours, wine, dark and light blue and green. I haven’t really looked at them before as I have tended to stick to my usual three colours. 

However a couple of weeks ago I needed to order some light blue for a portrait and I couldn’t get the individual sheets so I bought a pad which had 4 colours in, included this dark blue. 

I think I have mentioned before that certain colours have different textures, which is really why I stick to the dark grey, brown and anthracite as they are the nicest to work on. The dark blue feels lovely too so I am delighted and I think it is going be fabulous for black subjects, such as Halle. I use a lot of blue in them in my pet portraits of black animals.

I think this photo of Halle shows the blue background. I am looking forward to trying the wine next!

Halle, dog portraits in pastel
Background To Halle’s Dog Portrait

I have been using my pan pastels again for the background to a lot of my dog portraits. I am really beginning to enjoy them, and I am finding they are really useful in many of my pet portraits. I recently painted JJ and the whole of his dog portrait was completed using pan pastels. Also I am part way through Paddingtons portrait and I also used them there.

For Halle they have been great for creating the softness of the sofa behind her and the out of focus pattern in the cushions. I used a mixture of my Sofft tools and the cheap makeup sponges I bought on ebay. Unfortunately the red pan pastels I ordered didn’t arrive in time, so I used a stick I found. Typically they arrived the day after I had finished the background. Sods law!

Background underway on a dog portrait

In the above photograph you can see I had started on Halle, but moved over to the background when I realised her fur is quite long and whispy and overlaps the background a lot, it is therefore easier to add those once the background has been blocked in, rather than try and work the background around the fur! Although sometimes for some strange reason I like to make life more difficult for myself by doing it that way!

I used raw umber tint for the sofa and turquoise and red for the pattern, with a dark, warm grey pencil for the remaining part of the pattern on the sofa. I love the way pan pastels give things the lovely soft effect.

Finishing up Halle

Once I felt the background was sufficiently completed I moved back to Halle. For her black bits I used black, dark indigo and, cool greys and a light blue. 

For her tan bits I used burnt ochre, venetian red, saffron and ivory. I really have found this blue pastelmat paper amazing for Halle and I will be ordering some more as I have a feeling it will be a go to for black dog portraits in the future.

I am pretty much finished with her now, just time to tidy up the background and add the finishing touches and then a final scan.

Below you can see the light blue pencil, a caran d’ache, i used to pick out her highlights 

And a close up of her sweet face!

Framing Halle’s Pet Portrait

I scanned Halle in today and I am just waiting for approval from my client. She will be going in a lovely matt silver frame which will compliment her perfectly. Until then here is her finished portrait

On a little side note I have been working on a gorgeous terrier dog portrait. I havent done a blog post on her, but instead I have filmed a timelapse. Little Evie. I just thought I would tag it on so you can watch one of my pet portraits come to life sped up! I love these videos.

I wouldn’t say I am getting better at filiming them, but I am actually getting more right than wrong now. They will be little master pieces in their own right soon!

Previous Dog Portraits