Tag Archives: pet artist uk

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.




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


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.

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


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

Cat and Mouse – progress drawing

Not as much work on this today as I would have liked.  Mainly because I spent a beautiful afternoon being treated to a proper English afternoon tea, something that I must confess to never having had before.

We went to the Manor House Hotel in my home town of Alsager, literally just around the corner so it was perfect.  The treat had come from one of my closest friends for my birthday, it felt like a bit of an over indulgence but I gave it a try.  I am aware that a growing number of places now offer #afternoon tea. There is even a facebook page dedicated to them (I’ve decided to follow them), I noticed a couple treating themselves to one in Marks and Spencer a few weeks back.  I must confess to thinking it a bit greedy, who can possibly eat all that food?  I struggle to manage one scone with a cup of tea on occasion. So, yesterday I prepared myself, I went for an early morning run and then an hours dog walk.  I ate a yoghurt for breakfast and nothing else until 1 0’clock came (does anyone else suffer from a need to sacrifice meals in order to over indulge at other times???

We could not have asked for a more perfect day, lovely and sunny sitting in the courtyard under the shaded umbrella and practically too early for wasps.  My friend has a particularly passionate dread of wasps, she would happily abandon a young child in order to flea from the striped menace.

a photograph of a table showing afternoon tea at the manor house hotel in alsager cheshire

Afternoon at The Manor House Hotel in Alsager

We had a great catch up, put the world to rights, shared ‘who’s teenager is the worst’ conversations, ate and drank until we popped. The trick I think is to try a little bit of the cakes rather than try to eat them all….. any other tips would be appreciated.  At the end I could not believe 2 hours had passed and the remaining cakes were wrapped up to take home in a doggy bag (or teenager bag).

So… at the end of the day the progress on my charcoal cat and mouse is up to working my way round the fur detail.  Here is a little clip video of working on the fur in a lighter area of the cat.



With charcoal the temptation is to save all the lighter areas to complete in white charcoal but this can be a mistake.  Too often the white actually becomes grey – use that to your advantage for areas that need to be grey as you can then blend them quite nicely.  Use a sharp eraser to carve out lighter fur detail and save the white charcoal for the very brightest white highlights.  More to follow later…..

T20 Pet Portraits

I am delighted to roll out my new T20 Pet Portraits, so called because like the smaller version of a cricket match these are smaller pet portraits.  And as with T20 they have the same amount of excitement and skill as the fuller versions.

Each portrait is 5″ x 5″ in size, they are framed in either a white or black square frame with an overall external size of 8″ x 8″.  They are drawn in pencil on Arches watercolour paper to the same high standard and fine art detail that I apply to my full size portraits.

T20 pet portraits make a very unique gift for someone special, being the perfect size to give as a gift and for the all in price of £68 (plus postage).  To find out more follow the link to my T20 Portraits – below are some examples I have drawn to show you how wonderful they look.  Click on each one to be taken to my website page where you can purchase prints of them.

framed drawing of a dalmatian dog drawn in pencil graphite by pet artist

That Dalmatian Look

framed cocker spaniel drawing completed in pencil by Alsager pet artist

Cocker Joy


How a Dalmatian got it’s spots… Clip video of pencil Dalmatian drawing 

This is a little clip video of progress on a pencil drawing.  I took photos as I went along which show nicely how I work my drawings from laying down the initial shade and the proportions to finalising the dark detail.  At no point do I really work on the white or light parts, building everyone up from the tone instead.

The drawing is only 5 x 5″ which forms part of a new range of smaller gift size commissions which I will launching this week.

Black Labrador – original pencil drawing

My commissioned drawing of Alfie is now complete.  He has been drawn in graphite with some Conte pastel for his eyes.  Lots of shading to capture the dark and highlight contrast.

black labrador pencil and graphite drawing head shot with brown pastel eyes by Cheshire pet artist


Shar Pei twins – original dog pastel drawing

sharpei twins

Shar Pei Twins

shar pei twins close up

I have finally completed this drawing.  I have certainly taken my time on this, blending and re-blending to get the tones just how I wanted them.  I will be sad to see this pair go as I have got quite attached to them.  It is completed in pastel on Canson Mi Teintes paper.

The piece is available to purchase from Daily  Paintworks  

Shar Pei twins pastel progress drawing

sharpei twins progress

Worked a little bit more on my pastel Shar Pei drawing today.  This is a little larger than I usually do (11 x 14″) which has meant I need to order larger mounts and packaging for when I hopefully sell it.

Black Labrador charcoal progress drawing


Start of my next drawing.  This is charcoal on Watercolour paper, which I have not used with charcoal before.  I have had it recommended because it is very smooth and so far I am really pleased with it.  I am using Nitram charcoal and charcoal pencils.  I can’t quite get the deepest blacks with the Nitram which is mostly why I am using charcoal pencil as well.  It’s very tricky to draw a black dog because mostly you just see black on the face so I thought this would be a great challenge for me.  This piece will go up for auction once complete

Aero – original pastel king charles spaniel drawing


Time to share some of my Christmas commissions.  This is Aero, a King Charles spaniel.  I could tell immediately that the reference photo would make an excellent sensitive drawing.  I have drawn him in conte pastel pencil, conte soft pastels and sennelier pastels.  The reference photo had one eye almost closed so I needed to open it up more otherwise it would look unusual.  It is a good example of when artistic licence is needed, in a photo it looks fine because we know its a photo so it must be correct, but different sized eyes in a drawing is judged to be an error.