What a delight this Parsons Jack Russell called Dexter was to draw. I know just how precious a dog is to it’s family, and Dexter is a very much loved pet indeed.
This portrait was commissioned as a Christmas gift for Dexter’s people. The client and I carefully chose the best reference images to capture his personality and to ensure that we could see those patches on his ear. It is the little markings and details that make each of us the individuals that we are, so it is crucial to pay close attention to them when creating a portrait.
At each stage in the creative process I shared my work with the client so that she had the joy of watching it develop. This also gave her the opportunity to ensure that the artwork was exactly as she wanted it to be, it makes for a fun collaboration between artist and commissioner.
I chose to draw Dexter in pastel as this medium really suits capturing both the wiry hair and the softness of the parkland in the background.
You can see in these four stages how the beginnings of an artwork are loose and rough, this is where I block in the main shapes and lay a foundation to build upon. From there I add layer upon layer of pastel. These layers allow for blending of colours and as they develop, and they bring an increasing amount of texture with it.
The background was drawn in at the half way mark, this allows me to refine the shape of Dexter’s outline and ensure that there won’t be any gaps where the white of his hair meets the green of the foliage. From there on it is all about refining and creating the tiny details. The wispy hairs all around give shape and movement to his coat, and the engraving on his name tag adds a more personal touch.
I know that this portrait will be cherished just as Dexter himself is. And I was delighted to play my part in such a meaningful gift, that the client was thrilled to be giving to her son and daughter in law.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also like The Stages of Shadow – Pencil Portrait.