I recently completed this commission of Dougal. Pet portraits are my most requested subject, and Dougal's portrait was ordered from a returning customer as a birthday gift to a family member.
The reference image used for this drawing was a great composition, but the detail and colour, was unfortunately lacking. Extra photos of Dougal were provided, which allowed me to gather additional detail. The leash was removed from the drawing, as this added nothing to his portrait.
Living in Northumberland, the Labrador is a very popular dog breed here and having two Labradors myself, we often encounter Red fox Labradors and their owners, which allowed me to study their natural colour as we passed. I always try to balance out the values in each portrait, which means I will correct the colour tones, especially so when the colours in the photograph are washed out or under-exposed. I also spend time researching online, collecting photos of other Red Fox Labradors which act as a guide too.
If you are thinking about booking a commission of your own pet, get in touch. If you want to find out more about my commissions first, you can click one of the tabs below and read about the process or view my art gallery. I work in coloured pencils and acrylic paints, both offer very different outcomes, but are highly detailed.
It's been rather quiet on the art front in the studio over the last couple of weeks, not that I haven't done any art, I was away on holiday - but before I left, I actually did something that I had never done before, I actually packed a portrait in my suitcase to work on during the evenings, which actually turned out to be a god send as we were in a caravan without any internet connection for a WHOLE WEEK!!!! Can you even begin to imagine!!
The subject chosen was a 'double collared Sunbird' - a stunning image captured by Scotch Macaskill, a photograher living in South Africa. Having purchased a few of the new Derwent Lightfast pencils, I needed a vibrant composition to try them out, this subject was the perfect choice!
Throwing my standard pencil routine in the bin, I decided to trial out some additional products that I hadn't previously thought of using with pencils because I'm a purist and so instead of paper, I used a 3mm canvas called Pastelbord by Ampersand (usually used for my Acrylic paintings) which has a coarse surface, and my latest purchase of the 'Zest-it pencil blend'. I wasn't even sure if all these products together would work very well, but once I got started I found that they did - I was really enjoying the creative process, so much so that I decided to take it down to Torquay with me.
The 3rd night away, I set up my little studio in the small bedroom, plugging in the desk lamp I'd brought with me and the 4way adapter fell onto the floor, the switch bulbs all lighting up like a christmas tree which then knocked out ALL the electrics in the caravan!!! I was sat in darkness and heard my Dad, where seconds earlier he'd been watching the footy with my brother, shouting out "What's goo'in off!??" We had to call the security guard out who knew nothing about electrics and had to phone a professional up for advice before grabbing a butter knife out the drawer to remove the screws on the electric box outside the caravan and finally flick the electric back on..Hoorahh!! I still managed to get some art done though, being extra careful not to let the adapter fall off the table again, you can see in the image above that there was little space to work - the rest of the evening went without a hiccup thankfully.
Now I'm back in the studio, I am currently working on the Autumn newsletter for my www.stepbystepart.co.uk website and so time is limited for a while, however I had a spare frame that I thought I would store the portrait in until I get the chance to finish up which hopefully won't be too long.
Last year I had 4 portraits that were booked as Christmas Commissions as well as 3 that weren't but that needed to be delivered before Christmas to avoid the postal build up and last year was pretty hectic. All bar one (the Chow Chow dog) were small portraits but this year however I had 3 larger portraits booked in which allowed a much steadier pace. One was not booked as a Christmas Commission and so delayed until the New Year to avoid getting damaged in the overseas post to the USA, and so here are the 2 completed Commissions that I hope were received well by their recipients this Christmas day.
Click on either image to see the progress page.
I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas day and received some thoughtful gifts too.
Wishing you the very best for the New Year 2019!
Christmas orders began coming in by September last year (2017) and I had little time to spend on anything else. I worked around 10 - 12 hours a day from mid October onwards and had to create a finely tuned schedule list for each day to ensure every portrait was completed for a specific date because there were a few overseas orders, some framed too and I had to ensure frames were received in plenty of time knowing framers tend to be extremely busy in the run up to Christmas too. I was hoping to have finished all my orders a week before I was due to travel to my old home town of Chesterfield so I could relax a bit but I was literally working late into the night before my journey the next morning!
Luckily everything worked out well in the end and my final portrait Star the Chow Chow, was literally collected by the Commissionee at the train station when I arrived in Chesterfield, he had travelled the 6 hours with me on bus, coach and then train in my suitcase! I received a lovely bunch of flowers from the lady for his painting and was pleased to see some lovely comments from recipients throughout Christmas day upon seeing the portrait of their much loved Pets. Click on any of the images to visit the progress pages.
Now all the Christmas Commissions are all complete and I've had a couple of weeks off to recharge, I am back in the studio working on new articles and 2018 Art Workshops for my Step by Step Art website, there's always so much to do behind the scenes. If you are looking to book your own bespoke Commission with me or are an Artist interested in articles, mini tutorials and possibly taking in a 1 Day Art Workshop with me, click on either of the links below to visit the page/website.
Here's hoping 2018 is a wonderful year for you!
I was approached by a returning customer from the USA to create a Coloured pencil portrait of a Barn Owl and offered to create a few mock ups of compositions before I began as I always do. As a lover of photography I have a large photo reference library of various animals and birds including Barn Owls and so put together 5 different compositions one of which was the 2 Owls on the wall which became the basis of the portrait. The second stage was creating a few mock ups of the Owls within different backgrounds and finally, with the Owls and background in place the last collection of mock ups made were with various walls for the Owls to stand on which were in focus and added interest to the final composition. Many of my Wildlife portraits are created this way.
I chose a tan toned paper to work on which matches the warm tones of the Barn owls as well as giving strength in colour to the lighter tones such as the whites. The tonal background will be created using Derwent's Coloursoft range pencils which are soft and blend well for great effect and the Owls & the wall will be created using the caran Dache Luminance pencils which are ideal for very fine detail and strength of colour. A base layer of tones and loose detail is first applied to the whole of the portrait before I then apply the stronger & finer details to completion.
The Barn Owl at Cresswell, Northumberland (UK)
This portrait is based on actual Barn Owl territory at Cresswell in Northumberland (UK). It is a 40 minute cycle ride from where I live along the beautiful coastal route of Lynemouth through to Cresswell pond, this place regularly has Photographers set up waiting for this little guy to make an appearance. Sitting in the undergrowth of the wide open field which connects to a lagoon where you can regularly see Avocets, Oystercatchers & even Otters on the rare occasion, is an area overlooking the coast and is ideal for field mice and voles. I wait patiently as I see him in the distance, flying silently and hovering on numerous occasions, not at all phased by the long line of photographers with their huge cameras on tripods waiting to get some great photos themselves. There is something breathtaking about seeing such a Bird in the Wild and feeling honoured that this Owl continues it's daily journey passing close by whilst I click the rapid fire button on my camera. Here are some of those photos.
Most people visiting my website would understandably think that I only take on Pet & portrait Commissions but I actually create various Commissions if someone is looking for something specific. The 3 images below were created using an editing program to cut and paste various sections of other photographs to create the one 'mock up' which becomes the reference photo for the portrait. As a huge fan of photography, I have collected thousands of photographs of various animals, birds & subjects that can be used for a bespoke portrait whenever requested.
composition and the Artwork, which will be completed in Coloured pencils for a returning customer from the US, will be created by balancing out incorrect lighting and generally offering a more appealing and balanced background. This is currently in progress and a link to the progress page will be applied to the image when available if you wish to see it come together.
If you have your own idea for a piece of Art that you would like to Commission me to create in Coloured pencils or Acrylics, you can drop me an E-mail direct at: email@example.com, fill in my CONTACT FORM or BOOKING/QUOTE FORM or even give me a call on: 07854 677416 with your own idea. Here is another bespoke Commission that was requested for a Wedding Day and another for a very special portrait that captured the moments of a romantic Engagement
This year I was extremely busy with Christmas Commissions - I had 5 to complete in the space of 6 weeks, normally a portrait can take 3 - 5 weeks each so it was a very busy time. All were completed and delivered out to the Commissionees and here are the portraits alongside information on each and the customer testimonials.
"I'm sitting looking at Buddy in pride of place on the wall, photo attached! It is absolutely lovely and it had the desired effect on Steve when he unwrapped - there were tears!! Everyone that has seen it has said how amazing it is with the amount of fine detail and so Buddy. If I manage to get a decent photo of Buddy next to it I will send it on! Thank you once again, it is lovely to have a painting of Buddy forever."
"Just wanted to let you know that mum loves her portrait and we all cried our eyes out when we first saw it. What you've done is so special and we couldn't have asked for a better painting to remember him by. It captures his brilliant personality so well. I'll definitely be recommending you to my spaniel loving friends!
"Hi Karen, I just wanted you to know that I absolutely love my painting of Kita. Thank you so much, you have done the most amazing portrait of him. He was my best friend and my little boy and the painting has been hung in the living room so we can all admire him everyday! Thank you again xx"
"Hi Karen , Hope you had a lovely Christmas. Wanted to drop you a note to say that Max absolutely loved the portrait! She couldn't believe how well you'd captured the detail from the photo and was thrilled to pieces! We've already recommended you to friends and family and am sure we'll use your amazing skills again in the the future. Have a great New Year!! Diarmid"
"Thank you so much for my beautiful portrait, you've really excelled yourself this time, its amazing!"
Murphie - Large Traditional Heart Memorial portrait
Murphie sadly passed away in December 2015 aged 20 years of age and her Mum was looking for something special as a memorial to Murphie and came across my Traditional Hearts portraits and got in touch. It is always a real challenge when it comes to black & white animals as you tend to find that a lot of definition is lost in photos as it is very difficult to strike a balance of these colours whilst still retaining detail however, through various layering of
paint colours including grey and brown tones added to the black fur and with greys added to the white fur I was able to create an equal balance of colour and detail to ensure perspectives were kept in check and the final portrait was as close a likeness to Murphie's photo as possible. Feedback from Murphie's Mum upon receipt told me that I had done a good job!
Bailey - 10" x 12" Coloured pencil pet portrait
Bailey is the second portrait completed in Coloured pencils for his Mum after heartbreakingly losing both Bailey and Casey (the first portrait) in close succession of each other and was gifted both portraits by a good friend. Bailey was originally sat on a green stripey rug but I thought it would suit the portraits if they were both sat on the same wooden
flooring so that they would compliment each other once framed and hung next to each other.
" Bailey just arrived! Well, about 15 minutes of tape removal ago. We are so chuffed! Bailey was loved by all of us, but loves my husband best, he was over the moon! We are blessed by your talent!
Obe - 11" x 14" Boxer Dog Acrylic painting
I was asked to create an Acrylic painting of Obie the Boxer dog as a surprise gift to a lady in the USA. The reference photo was a beautiful pose and of great quality and I was able to gather lots of detail from the reference image to create this special memorial painting of Obe.
All my Acrylic paintings are created using a mixture of professional paint colours and mediums which offer texture to the painting. The background texture was created using a palette knife and texture was limited on Obie himself except for a light layering of fur texture. Nearly 40 Facebook friends clubbed together to book this surprise portrait of Obe and it was lovely to hear how happy the recipient was upon receiving such a thoughtful gift from great friends!
Thinking of booking your own Commission?
You can take a look at my COLOURED PENCIL ART GALLERY to see more Pet portraits created in Coloured pencils and if you wish to find out more about booking a Commission with me, you can find out more HERE. You can also fill in the BOOKING form to request a no-obligation quote or place your booking. Should you need help at any time, feel free to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on: 07854 677416
I recently ordered a couple of Giclee Prints of two of my Big Cat Artworks. The Sumatran Tiger (left) was created in Acrylics and the Amur Leopard was created in Coloured Pencils.
Any print I offer for sale has been printed on archival paper and mounted using a Traditional hanging method also using Archival and Acid free products and have a lifespan of around 75+ years! Every print also comes with a hand signed Certificate of Authenticity.
HOW MUCH DOES A PRINT COST?
I offer 2 sizes of print at the following prices:
A4 fits into a standard 12" x 16" frame COST: £45.00
A3 fits into a standard 16" x 20" frame COST: £60.00
Both have FREE delivery within the UK (please check P & P costs for International)
If you have found a piece of Art on my website that you would love to own but do not have the budget for, a print is a cheaper alternative. Take a look on my ART FOR SALE page or the GICLEE PRINTS page, both will show which Original Artworks can be purchased as a print.
If I have stock available, delivery is around 2 - 3 days, if a print is out of stock, it will be placed on order for you and delivery can take between 1 - 2 weeks.
Karen M Berisford