Monday, February 03, 2014

Painting a Pet Portrait in Pastel

Goldendoodle Portrait          8x10         pastel      ©Karen Margulis        sold

 It all began with a pet portrait. It was 9 years ago and I was feeling an urge to paint.  I had not picked up a brush since high school. While my kids were young I stayed creative with sewing and photography but I was ready to paint.  The first medium I tried was colored pencil. I thought they would be an easy portable medium. (not easy)  I did pet portraits in colored pencil. It was fun but only whet my appetite. Next came watercolor (a disaster) and finally pastel (heaven)

I loved pastel but never really painted any pets. My teacher Marsha Savage, is primarily a landscape painter so I learned to paint landscapes which I love.  But every once in awhile I get the urge to return to pet portraits. In this post are a few of my recent portraits.  I have some tips if you want to paint your own pet in pastel.

cat portrait     8x10       pastel  sold

  •  Photos: try to use photos taken in natural light with strong light and shadow patterns. I like to find natural poses with interesting light. Not always possible but if you are taking the photos, take time to get good ones!
  • Paper: My favorite paper for pets is Sennelier LaCarte. It has a softness that I love for animals. I recommend trying several kinds of paper even if you are a die hard fan of a particular brand. I wouldn't think I would prefer a paper for a particular subject, but I do!
  • Pastels: This depends on your style and level of detail you want. You may love the detail you get with pastel pencils. I prefer using small pieces of soft pastels..Terry Ludwig,Diane Townsend and Great Americans.  I like to suggest fur rather than painting every piece and the chunks of pastel work best for me.  I will use a Nupastel for whiskers but no pencils.
  • Background: Plan the background and put it in at the start of the painting. If you want until the end you may not have success....the color and value relationships change and your animal may look pasted on.
  • Color:  Black is not black....get the values correct and you can use unexpected and interesting color in your fur!


Special Offer for my readers
Would you like to commission a pet portrait or paint your own?  I am accepting a limited number of commissions at this time and offering a 10% savings. If you would like to paint your own and would like to see my process in a step by step demo consider my Digital Download pdf also at 10% savings this week only.

Commissions accepted through my Etsy shop here:https://www.etsy.com/listing/163134031/original-pastel-pet-portrait-custom?
Demo pdf available in my Etsy shop here:https://www.etsy.com/listing/157439997/pastel-painting-lesson-demo-pdf-how-to?
Be sure to use coupon code LUVPETS for the 10% savings

'His Royal Highness'      8x10     pastel
*****WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT!  I have a winner in my drawing for a painting. If you purchased a mini pastel during january you were entered to win an enlargement of your min. The winning ticket # is 3938119  If you have this number I have already emailed you! If you didn't get it please contact me kemstudios@yahoo.com
Thank you to everyone who entered! I appreciate your interest in my work!

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