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dog portrait pastel commission
Oscar, A4 pastel on blue pastelmat

This is a terrible photo of a painting of Oscar, a lovely shiny black haired spaniel I recently painted in pastel pencils. Not a lot of underpainting for this one I just used the colour of the paper to enhance the colour of the pastels on top. I used some navy blues and very light sky blues on the low/high lights to bring some life to, what can be, very flat black when put on paper.

The photograph shows Oscar looking out the window, there is plenty of light which is good, but it was a little strong for such shiny fur! (Black fur is a nightmare to photograph well). This strong light means that there are areas of the photo that are just white and just black with seemingly no detail (look under his chin or his left ear for the worst black bits). If I were to reproduce that faithfully to the photo it would look odd, those areas would be completely flat. I put the image into black and white and turned up the brightness which showed detail in the dark areas that couldn't be seen before (you can do the same for the light areas by reducing the brightness).

You can see that the areas of absolute black are reduced and more detail of the fur is added. I can use that to help flesh out those seemingly completely flat areas.

dog portrait commission spaniel
Oscar with his portrait

The family were really pleased with how much the painting looks like Oscar and sent me this great photo to prove how similar they are :)

I enjoyed painting black fur again, and look forward to painting more of it!

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