Monday, 15 November 2010


Here he is - all done!  Finished towards the end of October, but just got around to updating my blog.  I really enjoyed this - pastels are a bit scary as they're not too open to correction!  But, they give such a wonderful texture to the fur.

I'm just starting two more commissions now, wips to follow . . .

Monday, 20 September 2010

Nearly Jubilee Day!

Busy this morning, darkening down and adding  more detail.  I've just popped downstairs to upload this and also to give my two naughty boys a kong each.  Max hasn't had one before so isn't too sure what to do with it.  Buddy's throwing it round the room, but the treats inside are stuck to the peanut butter!  That's enough now - back to work . . .

Sunday, 12 September 2010

He's beginning to take shape . . .

Today I darkened down the darker areas of fur with black conte pastel.  The mouth I gave a layer of pale blue covered with two different pinks; I'll come back to this at the end.  The eyes: I used three different browns; again, I'll continue with the fur then go back and make a few more changes to them to sharpen the definition.  For some reason I find noses incredibly difficult!  It doesn't make sense, I know, because I find eyes and mouth ok, but I'm building the nose very slowly as velour paper isn't very forgiving with mistakes!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Jubilee Rhum

Jubilee is my latest commission; a working police dog and all round handsome chap.  I'm doing him in pastels as I did 'Relax with a Max' - except on amber-coloured velour paper.  The paper is A3, my favourite size to draw and he's attached to my new Reeves drawing board which I'm very pleased with!  Here are some in-progress photos:

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Jinxie in graphite

I'm pleased with progress on this one as it's a technique I've never tried before.  I attended a workshop in  June with Clive Meredith ( and was very inspired by his use of layering different grades of graphite pencil to get a truly lifelike depth.  This is my effort so far and is probably about 15 hours' work by now (it is A3!)

Tuesday, 8 June 2010


This is the original photo I've chosen to work from.  It's quite an old photo, but despite that, I can see the direction of the fur and enough detail around the eye and  nose.  

I've made a start.  The portrait is quite small - A5 - the pencils need to be razor sharp for the detail!  I'm using Fabriano 50% cotton rag paper.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Sasha in oils

This is Sasha, Jack Russell Terrier.  For my Pet Portrait Diploma with the London Art College, I've decided to chose the option of 'clothed pet' as one of my pieces for assessment.  These are the pictures I'm going to use.  I'm supposed to use one good-quality photo, but the clothed picture was taken with a 3 mega-pixel camera-phone, so not too good, but the image is lovely otherwise.

I chose an 8" x 8" canvas board and I scaled up the image from the photo.  The paints are Artisan water-mixable oils and this is the first time I've used them.  The background is a mixture of yellow, blue and white plus yellow ochre.  To give the effect of grass, I will probably go over this a few times.

 On go the reds and oranges . . .

Buddy: from study to canvas

I decided to give my new Cryla acrylics a try-out and thought I'd transfer my practice piece of Buddy onto a canvas.  This was the first stage - a sketch in 2B pencil on a canvas 40 x 50 cm.

I thought blue for the background as I could then use some greyish blues in his coat to bring the two together.  Next, I blocked-in some of the main colours, including some red on his ears, no doubt inherited from his Irish setter mum!

He's taking shape now; I've used a range of greys, browns and whites to give him the different contrasts he has in his, what looks like, predominantly black coat. It's amazing just how many colours a black dog can have in their coat.
Here he is finished for now.  I've left him on the easel, so might add a few hairs here and there.  This was taken in quite gloomy daylight so the colours don't look as rich as the ones above.  Overall, though, a good likeness of Buddy the 'Border Setter', as we like to call him.

Rosie & Gracie

I first sketched an outline of the dogs, then, using grey velour paper, I put the sketch over the top and with the lid of a pen, lightly pressed through to give an indent.  I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to rub out pencil marks, so this seemed the way to go.

I lightly applied the base colours with Rembrandt conte pastels.

Rosie's complete and now to continue with Gracie.  For the detail I used Faber-Castell pitt pastel pencils.  I worked mainly from left to right in order to avoid smudging, but I also covered up sections with clean paper to rest my hand on.

Here they are - both finished - ready in time for Mothers' Day!

Now off to the framers for mount, backboard and cellophane.

Sunday, 28 February 2010


Now working on a new commission called Bertie.  This is just a preliminary sketch, investigating  how I'm going to tackle his mass of curly black fur!  What a lovely expression though; I'm going to enjoy this.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Rocky completed

Here he is, all finished and set in a mount.  He was taken to the post office - but being Wednesday pm - they were shut - what an old-fashioned practice that is.

Sunday, 21 February 2010


These are the stages I went through working on a commission this week of a lovely little dog called Rocky. I gathered the images I had and then sketched a few ideas in boxes the size of what was required for the final drawing. I then used a variety of media to see which worked best; oils, acrylics and coloured pencil.

I opted for coloured pencil as it enabled me to give more detail in such a small picture (12 cm x 12 cm).

Here it is semi-finished; background completed and most of the shading on Rocky. The highlights in the eyes were protected by using masking fluid. The next stage will be to decide on the colour for the cushion.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Jinxie finished

This was the reference photo I started with .

And this is the finished article:
She was lovely to draw; a huge range of colours were needed to do her beautiful coat justice.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Jinxie, Long-Haired Tortie

This is the first stage of a pastel portrait of Jinxie the tortoiseshell. Mr Frodo's popped by for a look. I've sketched the outline and then filled in the darkest areas with black pastel pencil. Having got to this stage, I think she'd also look good in graphite as she has some great contrasting tones in her fur.

Next, I began to build up the variety of beiges and oranges in her fur as well as the first layer of colour in the eyes.