Well out of my comfort zone with this one as I normally paint using soft pastels. However, when asked to do a Bearded Dragon called ‘Puff’ as a Christmas present, I decided that watercolour would suit this better using a slightly looser style to my norm.
Using140 lbs watercolour paper I built Puffs’ main color with a few washes. Some of the main detail and darker areas were drawn with a 0.5 mm pen then using Stabilo 0.4 mm colouring pens to add further detail and colour.
I needed to get a good contrast to Puffs’ orange and yellow colouring and after testing various watercolour paints, decided that ‘Aquacryl’ would give the required effect. They have a wonderful vibrant colour when used undiluted and a slight sheen when dry.
It was certainly a challenge and I am looking forward to using this technique again for my next dragon .
Well the story of Nellys Soldier is still going on. We still go out to Belgium and pay our respects to him and my Sons Soldier. Ronan came with me the last time and was blown away by the size of the brave young men who fought for our nation. Next Friday we are all going to be there and I even have my own Soldier who I’m excited to visit…..
There is a rather sad but also heart warming story behind my most recently finished commission. The request was to take a rather grainy picture of a World War 1 soldier, and add more detail to the picture.
The soldiers name was Harold Dyson. A young private enlisted with the Duke Of Wellingtons West Riding Regiment. He was killed in action on the 8th October 1917 at the age of 21.
Mick, who requested this commission, had found Harold’s name on a poppy that he bought his daughter from the British Legion. It was a rather special poppy called a Passchendaele 100 pin, and it was made from the fuses of the shells that rained down on the soldiers during the war.
His daughter Nelly, who was 15 at the time, was touched by the sentiment of the poppy and wanted to go to Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium to find out a little more, and to pay her respects.
She has since made this trip and now plans to return every year to continue the remembrance of this young soldier.
Mick will also be returning to Harold’s home town of Golcar near Huddersfield where Harold was born to also continue remembrance there.
The portrait of Private Harold Dyson has now been presented to his Daughter and they are both currently heading to Tyne Cot to pay their respects.
It is wonderful to know that Mick and his daughter feel so strongly that this young soldiers sacrifice, that was also made by so many, be remembered. They keep the memory of Private Harold Dyson alive.
I can only hope I have done him justice in my representation of his photograph,
More information on Harold can be found at the link below.
Meet Nido, a dog portrait of a lovely little Cockapoo, painted in soft pastels as a commission for a wedding present.
This dog portrait is painted using soft pastels and is a bespoke 12″ x 9″ size prior to framing. The finished artwork was professionally framed complete with with artist glass (enhances the colours).
I have made a short slideshow for anyone curious in how this picture developed over time from start to finish.
Nido form start to finish.
In my earlier years doing dog portraits, I always started with the eyes first and worked around the picture from there. This invariably caused huge problems with eye position and scale, resulting in massive amounts of reworking. Nowadays, thanks to workshop tuition from Margaret Evans, I work on the portrait as a whole, and this is now the standard process that I use for both people and animal portraits.
This coo was pretty damp but I’m pretty sure he was warm under that fur. Painted using soft pastels on Colourfix paper and based on a photo my daughter took while we were on a wee road trip around the Highlands.
A larger picture than normal at 20 x 16 inches prior to framing, so for the background I used dark browns with water to apply a loose wash, overlayed with some light blue.
I’m still deciding whether to cut down to 16 x 16 inches so will test out digitally.
Meet Tarley, a Border Collie cross. This recently completed commission in charcoal (and a little bit of pastel) is 16″ x 12″ prior to framing and drawn on white cartridge paper. A friend of Archie (my previous post), Tarley is a cross with a Golden Retriever and quite the handful. After a lot of toy throwing in the garden we eventually managed to get a good picture to work from.
Meet Archie. Commission is soft pastels on “Colourfix” paper, 16″ x 12″ prior to framing.
This young Cocker Spaniel pup is so full of energy and fun I wondered how on earth I was going to get a reference photo. My luck was in though, and I managed to capture his look on my very first shot.
His coat is amazingly soft and I used some iridescent gold pastel to try highlight this. It’s not so obvious in the photograph of the finished picture, but in the right light, it catches the eye when passing by the original.
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