A work in progress …? 4

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Ben, day 4.
Tough to get the digital image to look as clear and bright as the original piece, but here is Ben, (maybe) finished. I’m happy with him, but will the client share my enthusiasm? I suspect that the eyes may need more work, given that the colouring around them is hard to make out in the photo refs, where shadows have reduced the eyes to two patches of black; I’m expecting and hoping, however, that Ben’s owner will otherwise be content.

A work in progress, 3

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Ben, day 3.

I’ve finished applying the palest layer of pastel. The body’s looking ugh at this stage, because I’ve had to brush off some overworked colour there, but I’ll go back in and simplify that area. I’m hoping to finish up in tomorrow’s session.

It has been a pleasantly right-brained few days; a welcome break from the wordiness of my usual freelance work. I’ll be happy to see Ben finished, but sad to see him go.

A work in progress, 2

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Day 2 of Ben!


I’ve roughly put in the background blues, laid in the darkest shadow areas of his coat and made a complete pass with a mid-tone, hard pastel.


Every painting has an ugly stage; some, like this one, are destined to go through several. Every time I put down a paler-value layer (especially with the softer brands of pastel) it appears to sit roughly on the surface of the paper, and I’m faced with having to integrate it into the picture by blending with fingers and with harder pastel sticks – without overworking.


We’re getting there, but I have so much more to do before Ben is complete. Much of the fur texture seen here will be sacrificed for the sake of making him pale-coated enough to convince and please the client who’s commissioned him.

A work in progress, 1

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Ben is a pale golden retriever. He’s my first painting commission in over three years, and I started work on him today. He will be 12×12″ in soft pastel on Art Spectrum Colourfix paper. I thought I’d post my progress here for those of you who don’t have me as a contact on Flickr (roseanglaise), which is where I do most of my image-sharing these days.


Double-page spread of nose and eye studies. Pen in Canson sketchbook.


Here I’m about to transfer my drawing of Ben (done freehand, using a grid) to the painting surface.


The underdrawing’s now done. I used black conté stick and a putty eraser.

Time now for a rummage through my pastel box. Tomorrow I’ll be going in with colour …