Saturday, 12 March 2011

Irish Setter

Irish Setter - Katie - 20" x 16" watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper

My latest commission is this pretty girl, Katie, an Irish or Red Setter. I did take a photo of her at the usual 'stage one' phase ie I had painted her eyes with a fair amount of detail and added tone to the rest of her but unfortunately it isn't very clear and so I decided not to show it here. 

Often I don't have the opportunity to meet the subjects of my paintings but sometimes I do and it's always a pleasure. I was fortunate enough to meet Coco - the German Shorthaired Pointer from my previous post - and I am hoping that Katie's owner will bring her along when she comes to collect the painting.

To commission a painting, please email me at or feel free to ask any questions you may have.

Monday, 7 March 2011

German Shorthaired Pointer - Coco

German Shorthaired Pointer - Coco - 20" x 16" watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper

Here is the finished portrait of Coco. Following on from the last stage shown in my previous post, I next worked on her eyes again until they were almost as shown here. I could then get down to all the detailed work on the rest of her. As I've mentioned previously, I don't paint individual hairs with a fine brush as I prefer what I feel is a more natural look, achieved by splaying out a round sable brush. This is a technique which does require a fair bit of practice and will also involve careful lifting of colour in certain areas and blending in others. My aim is to paint a realistic portrait which doesn't look like a photo but looks more than a photo - I want - well what do I want? I want to make the dog live!

I am pleased to tell you that Coco is alive and well and a very loved family member. Her mum burst into tears when she saw the painting - and I can assure you it wasn't from disappointment! Apparently the painting is now hanging on the wall for all to admire :)

To commission a painting please email me at or visit my commissions pages.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Coco - German Shorthaired Pointer (work in progress)

Coco - 20" x 16" watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper (WIP)

This is my latest commission which I have just recently finished. Here I am showing the first completed stage. The drawing has been done and the background wash has been laid down - as usual a watery mixture onto stretched, dry paper. I paint with the board at a slight angle so the paint, when watery, will run down. I start with a darker mixture at the very top of the paper (in fact this part will eventually be covered with a mount) and gradually add more and more clear water to the brush so that the mixture becomes lighter as it nears the dog's head. Once past the ears, I add the more of the water/paint mixture to the very edges, to bring more colour into the painting and then add a strip of darker paint at the bottom. I then quickly add more clear water so that the background mixes in with the bottom of the dog's neck. I hope that makes sense. All this is done as quickly as I possibly can and as I said in a previous post, I can't stop for anything when laying in this wash as otherwise it would leave ugly hard edges wherever the paint was allowed to dry. 

As is usual, I painted Coco's eyes in first so that we could develop a 'relationship' and then her nose. The rest of her head, neck and ears followed gradually and what you see here is in fact not one layer of paint, but already several laid into each other. You'll notice some hard edges on her forehead and a few other places. As the painting progressed I eventually softened these by scrubbing at the area with an old half inch square edged brush and clear water. I have had this particular 'scrubbing' brush for ages now and hope it lasts for ever as I know it would take ages to break a new one in. I'll try and remember to take a photograph of it one day and show you. I will post the finished painting tomorrow.

Happy Birthday Jules!! (Coco's mum)

To commission a painting please email me at