My filming set up didn’t quite work as I had envisaged, so I had to tweak it slightly again while refining Harleys sketch, ready to start his portrait. It is a better angle, but still not quite how I would like it. I think my problem maybe the studio is a little cramped or I need a different tripod. I want it to film directly down over my pet portraits rather than at an angle. However as I say it is better than it was. 

I will try and take a photo of the set up and maybe see if anyone has any ideas.

Anyway back to Harley. I have a clip of his painting in progress. You can see I have enhanced and tweaked the outline I places. Being that I am working from two photos to.create one portrait it is a little more tricky. I have put his ears forward and changed his sitting position slightly. 

I won’t be able to tell if I completely happy until it is finished, but for now I am happy with how it looks.

I have also started filling in the background surrounding him. I mentioned the other day how I sometimes did them in a different order. I think I will do the background alongside his pet portrait.

Anyway here is a clip of his portrait so far. I will be adding to it tomorrow as I plan a morning the studio. 

Harley, Dog Portrait


I hope you think the filming angle is better. 

Here is a photo of the progress of the portrait so far. 

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Here you can see I have continued blocking in and establishing the foundation colours on Harley’s portrait. I try to pick a colour that sits in the middle of the darkest and lightest hue. This way I can build up the details of his fur with the darks and lights. 

Dog portrait progress photo, pet portrait progress photo

In the next image you can see I have started building up the depth in Harley’s fur. I am using dark browns for the dark shadows and ocher’s and light sienna’s for his fur. It creates the illusion of depth and thick fur. I will keep doing this until I am happy with it. I pay close attention to where the shadows are as this will define Harley’s bone structure too.

I have edited the video of Harley’s portrait so far. It covers everything I have described so far so thought it maybe helpful for people who are attempting their own pet portraits. 

If you have any questions I would be delighted to help. 


I left Hatley over night and when I returned to the studio this morning, I felt something wasn’t right with Hatrley’s portrait. After a bit of thought I felt the reference photos were a bit to dark. I took them into photoshop and lightened them. I instantly felt with lightening the portrait would benefit the overall appearance. 

I am not sure if you can see the difference in today’s time lapse videos, but I am feeling a lot happier with his pet portrait. 

I have also been adding to the background as I go. I have used greens, purples, blues, ochres and browns so far. I want to make it soft and out of focus to create some good depth of field for this dog portrait. So I have blended quite a bit with my fingers to get the effect I want. You have to be careful not to over blend with Pastels as they can end up getting muddied and you lose the different colours. 

 Here is the photo of Harley’s pastel portrait as it stands now. I have started marking out the different directions his fur lies on his chest ready to start it next. White fur, as black, has lots of different colours and when I get to it I shall list the colours I use to create the depth and detail. I shall continue with the time lapse too. When his portrait is finished I shall stich them all together and add it to my time lapse gallery I can’t wait to see the whole video of his portrait! 

I had a good session in the studio today in between dog walks, for some strange reason I was awake from 5.30. I returned to Harley’s portrait and concentrated on the white fur on his chest and tidying up some details on his face and ears. The background had a bit more work done as well. I think it is pretty much finished, but I may tweak it some more. It feels like his portrait has taken longer than usual, but I think due to the fact I have a cold it I have been painting in fits and starts.

I emailed my client to ask whether he wanted the collar in the portrait or not. Apparently Harley wore that collar all the time, so that is how they remember him so the collar is staying. It is a very personal choice as the whether you want collars and other things left in your pet portraits. Either way, you can discuss this with me when we are deciding on the details of your pet painting.

I have been filming this portrait as I go and here is a little snippet. When it is finished I will be putting them all together for my first fully completed pet portrait time lapse! Exciting. Here are a couple of videos I took today and here is Harley’s portrait as I left it tonight. 5,30 am is catching up with me!

As well as Harley’s portrait, I have been working on a lovely horse portrait. I thought I’d share the progress of him. I’d like to get both his and Harley’s portraits finished by the end of the weekend.

I didn’t quite get either portrait finished by the end of the weekend. I always seem to set myself unrealistic goals, but I am quite a slave driver! 

However after a few more hours in the studio I finished Harley. I am really pleased with how his portrait has turned out. Tonight I can edit his video, which I am secretly excited about! But for now here is Harley’s portrait!

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Harley, Pastel Dog Portrait 10×12 inches

“That is amazing!!!
Thank you very much!”

And you can now see the full time lapse video of Harley’s pet portrait. The last scene/bit of filming isn’t the best annoyingly as I think I put a greasy finger over the lens, but on the whole I am really pleased with how this has come together. I find watching them mesmerising so I hope you do too. 

I’d love to know what you think of the portrait and the video. 

I just played back the video again and wonder if anyone can spot the deliberate mistake. I will edit it again tonorrow and upload the new version and you can all play spot the difference! 

My final edit to this post is the finished portrait of Harley in is frame. Tomorrow I shall be packing him up ready to go to the post office. I am really pleased with how it turned out and I love the frame. 


Above is a close up of the framed I used to frame Harley. This is one of my most popular mouldings.

And here he is all framed

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Harley Framed


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Horse portrait

I love how he is propped up on one of my watercolour mugs! A little bit of advertising there! I have also made some progress on this horse portrait as you can see. I needed to add in the mane and tidy it up as it was blowing in the wind in the reference photo. I am going to email my client now and check that the length etc of it is all correct. Read about Rafiki here