I'm embarrassed to show this one. It
was commissioned over two years ago, and I kept putting
it off. By placing it on my website, I managed
"guilt" myself into finishing it. Almost
every artist I know has a few pieces that, for one
reason and another, keep being put on the back burner.
Here are some of the photos
that were sent to me from Australia by my friend and owner
of these adorable French Bulldogs. The
youngest one, Xena, is all grown up now and is a regular
on the show circuit.
The dogs' owner Kim e-mailed me
over a dozen photos of the dogs, and I've
used most of them. As you can see, there is very
little detail in the eyes of Gizzy on the left, and Boof's
ear doesn't stand up, the result of a surgical procedure a
few years ago. It's great to have other photos to use
for reference. Sometimes it's necessary to look up breed
details in specialty books and magazines, if the subject of
the portrait is no longer living. Fortunately, Kim sent
me lots of references.
use Carb-Othello pastel pencils to get the kind of detail my
As I am right-handed, I
work from upper left to lower right, in order to avoid smudging
Once the first layer of pastel
is laid down, I spray it with a workable lacquer fixative. Because
the fix darkens down the lights and midtones, I have to go
back in and rework those areas. At this stage, I add
in most of the fine detail.
Once the second layer has been
done, I give it another and final spray with the fixative. Again,
the lights darken down, but the final coat of pastel is almost
all whites and light colours. The last thing to be done
is the whiskers, the highlights and the signature. The
speckles and dark spots have now disappeared, and the work
is ready to frame.
The finished product.
It has been scanned and colour-corrected in order to make prints,
and the original carefully packaged and shipped to Australia,
where it will hang in a place of honour (at least I hope