That Greyhound Look – notes from the studio of a portrait artist

I finally finished my first oil portrait.  It took a lot of time and frustration.  There was countless times that I felt like launching the canvas across the studio, but I persevered and finally finished it….

oil painting of a dalmatian

That Dalmatian Look #1

There’s about a million things wrong with it.  Its far too clumpy and there’s too many textured brush strokes in the face, I wanted it to be very smooth and precise in the face area and quite loose everywhere else.  However, it’s a good likeness and I really love the background which I now understand really well.

The current trend seems to be painting outside, my art magazines and instagram feed is full of it.  So I decided to take my easel outside – not far, just into my garden.  Intending to paint in one sitting I was interrupted and had to carry on the next day, fortunately the weather was fine for both days.  Below are some snaps of the progress….

It’s far too dark really and by the time I had finished it I was completely bored with it.  It’s not the oil paints that are the problem.  If I wanted to draw or paint trees and plants I would have done it before with my pastels.  It’s just doesn’t inspire me I suppose.  I tend to love all the subject matters that I draw and get excited about the prospect of transforming it into a piece of art.  If I didn’t have this I would have given up a long time ago.  The next step obviously will be to do an oil painted portrait.  I’ve been dying to do it for a while…..watch this space.


My next drawing is another greyhound, this time however it’s a long haired greyhound.  The new bits are that I am completing it on pastelmat which is a first for me.  It was recommended and I can see why, it’s a great surface as it holds the pastel really well and is thicker and probably longer lasting.  The negatives are that the pastel does not blend well at all, there is more blending as you layer on the pastel but literally none at the beginning.  The other negative is that you can’t erase very well. I usually need to move things around a bit at first until I am happy with the proportions so that was quite tricky when I needed to move the eyes up a bit. ..

Here I’m finally happy with the proportions and I am beginning to work down the face, I’m using just one shade of pastel – a mid grey.  The other new thing is that this is a bigger size for me, its 50 x 40cm which is the next size up.

Working on blending and laying down the fur detail I am working down the face.  It’s great to see him come to life on the board and as I am going I am beginning to enjoy the pastelmat surface which holds the pastel well and therefore hold the colour well.

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I have purchased some gouache paint in order to add the brightest white highlights.   I must admit to being terrified of applying it.  When I pluck up the courage I’ll post up the results.  After much searching on the internet as well as conversations with other artists I managed to pluck up the courage to put on some pastel colour and to use the gouache.  The gouache feels like liquid chalk so it works well with the pastel.  I’m pretty chuffed with the results, it has added another dimension to my work.  It has also made me realise that pastels are beautiful to use, particularly the wonderful colours they have.  More to come…..

Here is the finished piece.  I have decided to call him Chief as he reminds me of an Indian chief.  He is now framed and ready to purchase.  Take a closer look at him on my website shop by clicking here or clicking on the finished image below…

original pastel drawing of a long haired greyhound grey with brown eyes by Cheshire pet artist

Chief


My current piece is a cricket commission which unfortunately I can’t share with you at this time.  After it’s been presented I’ll showcase it.

There have been no sales this week so far 😦 however I am working on commissions so there is still plenty of art being created.

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