I loved the different strands of colour in this pony’s mane! It can be a challenge to make hair look soft and supple but overlaying fine, sharp lines over softer shades can help to create the impression of individual hairs without making the finished effect overly harsh. Challenging but fun!
I love doing group portraits especially when there seems to be a bond of affection between the animals. This beautiful Weimaraner and characterful King Charles spaniel seemed so comfortable together.
The reference photo was excellent, with only a couple of bits of paw missing at the edges of the photo. I used my imagination to add in the missing bits in order to create this composition.
This portrait was an A3 size, done in pastel on pastelmat. I framed it using a white mount and simple black frame.
This lovely doodle had striking golden markings and a sweet, characterful face. Curly fur is always a bit of a challenge but I thoroughly enjoyed the process of creating the texture of his coat. The portrait is approximately A3 sized and is in pastel on pastelmat.
I recently did a portrait of a Bengal cat and thought it might be interesting to tackle another hybrid. This one is a Savannah Cat, which is a cross between a domestic cat and an African serval. They have striking features with large ears and lots of them have large noses thanks to the serval genes. I think they are absolutely beautiful.
Bengal cats have such beautiful coats! I’ve done a couple of watercolour paintings of Bengal cats in the past but this is the first time I’ve ever painted one using pastel. I found that using pastel really helped to capture the vivid contrasts in the markings and the softness of the cat’s fur. I hope it won’t be the last Bengal cat painting I ever do!
I have just completed a pastel portrait of this beautiful cat with striking markings and vivid olive eyes. I had the pleasure of meeting her to take reference photos and she had a lovely, sweet nature and sat very patiently whilst I clicked away interminably with my camera! Her name is Lola.
One of the most poignant moments in the life of an animal portrait artist happens when one is commissioned to provide a posthumous portrait. I have never yet done a portrait of a pet where I haven’t fallen in love with the subject, and handing over the finished work to the clients can be a moving experience. The love the owners had for the subject of this portrait, an English Bull Terrier, was obvious from the start, and it was really nice to meet them in person and hand over the framed portrait. The dog’s posture in the reference photo lent itself to a composition with strong lines and contrasting colours. The reference hinted at a certain nobility of character, I thought. His name, appropriately enough, was “Duke.”
The work of an animal portrait artist is never dull. It’s amazing how different animals can be, even when they are of the same breed, and how much you can tell of their personalities just by looking through photos of them. This pair of Dachshunds is a case in point. I hope I managed to capture the elegance of the long haired Dachshund, Serge, and the playfulness of his wire-haired companion, Lou. Lou definitely had a twinkle in his eye!
The most technically challenging part of the portrait was the creation of a blue ball, which did not appear in the main reference photo, between Lou’s paws. To make such an object look solid and three dimensional, the form and cast shadows have to be just right. If you look closely, you’ll see I’ve added a green tinge to the underside of the ball to give the impression of grass reflecting on the ball’s surface. Small details like that can make a big difference to the outcome when you are striving for realism in a portrait.