Category Archives: Dog

3’s A Crowd – original pastel dog drawing commission

original pastel drawing of two jack russells and a beagle

3’s A Crowd

This was a tough commission.  The original drawing is 20 x 16″ on pastelmat.

When originally asked to do the commission I was presented with a photograph of the three dogs in this pose.  It’s taken by a professional pet photographer.  My initial reaction was to say that the photo was great and could not be improved upon with art.  However, the customer insisted that he wanted something bigger and completed in art.  Reluctantly I agreed, as most pet artists know a great photo can lead to a great piece because when the photography is so clear it makes my job a lot easier.

Decisions – I thought the best course of action was to focus on the dog’s faces and make everything else loose and impressionistic.  I figured that if I drew the bench and the trees and grass in great detail then it would detract away from the dogs themselves.

Here are my materials for the commission – Unison soft pastels (Emma Colbert set) stabilo carbothello pastel pencils, conte soft and hard pastels all on pastelmat.

 Here is a slideshow showing progress shots taken as I went along…

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The piece took just over 2 weeks to complete….

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.

That Pug Look – original pug pencil drawing & other notes from the studio

After promising to give myself the day off on Monday following my art fair I ended up working to complete a pencil pug drawing that I started at the fair.  It’s great to draw when you’re at an art fair, customers love to see you working and talk about techniques.

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Here’s a sneaky photo that I took at the fair, I loved it and hope to paint it one day..


So ‘That Pug Look’ was completed on Wednesday, he is only 6 x 6″ wide and framed in a 7×7″ frame.  If you’re interested in purchasing him or viewing my other artwork and commissions click here to follow the link to my website or click on the finished drawing of That Pug Look.

 

framed pencil graphite drawing of a pug dog by cheshire based pet artist

That Pug Look


Before I get on with my next commission I am carrying on with trialling oil painting.  This time I have chosen a composition that I feel I can work with better.  Being a shorter haired dog , a dalmatian means I can focus on the tones rather than the fine fur detail.  The photo is by kind permission of someone from Dalmatians UK facebook page.

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The pose is perfect and the light is being cast from above to the right.  The only tricky thing is the constant whites.

Ben – original pastel drawing

This is my latest completed commission – Ben, he is a red border collie.  It was a pleasure to draw such a colourful dog, he has a mass of orange, red and ginger fur  I selected this pose as I love drawing movement. With a focus on the face I wanted the rest of Ben to appear loose and fluid by using bold strokes with the pastel.  I used conte pastel pencils and sticks as well as carbothello pastel pencils.

pastel pencil drawing of a red collie running holding a stick

Ben

I came across this quote by Robert Henri – ‘the artist is interesting to himself and he is interesting to others’  I find this quite reassuring because I always think I must sound very boring when I prattle on about art

New commission & quotes

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This Ben – he’s my next commission and will be full of warm foxy colours.

Reading an article in Artists and Illustrators I came across this quote which I thought was not only relevant for art but many things when you start working, everybody is in your studio – the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas – all are there.  But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone.  Then if you’re lucky, even you leave” (Philip Guston)

Cocker Spaniel – graphite pencil portrait

Its great to finish a drawing when you know it has gone so well.  This is Ruby she has been drawn in graphite pencil.  On the reference photographs she has a bit of creamy brown fur above her eyes and around her nose.  I decided to draw her completely in graphite because the rest was predominantly grey.  Commission are available upon request

graphite pencil drawing of the head and shoulders of cocker spaniel dog by Alsager pet artist

Ruby

Progress Drawing – graphite cocker spaniel

Aren’t spaniels’ ears the best thing to draw.  So soft and flowing with such varying tones that present a great challenge.  This drawing is almost complete now this ear taking up nearly half of the drawing.  You could possibly draw every single fur detail but that would not be artistic, merely copying so I have shown the soft velvety flow of the ears by creating a uniform tonal detail.

graphite close up detail of a spaniel ear

Progress Drawing