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.
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Dexter is a very handsome Parsons Jack Russell. As a much loved family dog, this commissioned portrait was the perfect choice for a thoughtful and personal Christmas gift.
When I met with the client who commissioned this portrait, she had a number of beautiful photographs of dear Dexter from which we chose the best reference images. We wanted to capture his personality and also to show off his markings, including the tan spots on his ear, so agreed on this pose and composition. I love how he looks both alert and relaxed, and I can imagine him bounding around the park having the time of his life playing with his family.
Dexter’s portrait has been drawn in pastel. This medium lends itself to capturing the rich colours as well as the wiry textured coat which is so distinctive of a long haired Jack Russell. And it blends beautifully to create a smooth and creamy backdrop of soft focus trees, giving a sense of time and place as well as a rich colour for Dexter to stand proud against.
As someone who really loves dogs and relishes every opportunity to make a new canine friend, I had a wonderful time studying Dexter and drawing his portrait. I know that this artwork is treasured by his family, and will serve as a lasting celebration of a very special pet.
This handsome little Parsons Jack Russell is Dexter. He looks a little washed out here as his portrait is only half complete, he will fill out in due course. I have been commissioned to draw Dexter for a gift. Sadly this dear dog passed away last year and he is sorely missed. I hope that his portrait will be a fitting memorial to him, and can bring some small comfort to his owners.
I will be sharing the finished Dexter with you soon. Till then I will continue enjoying building body in all this wiry hair, and giving Dexter some context with a background to really help him stand out on the page.
Pepsi was a very much loved cat with a gentle and sweet personality, who was at the centre of his family’s life for many years. Sadly he passed away recently and is sorely missed by all who knew him. I was commissioned by a relative of Pepsi’s humans to draw his portrait for a very special Christmas present.
The client and I considered what medium might suit dear Pepsi best and looked over photographs together to choose one in particular to base my artwork on. The main reference photograph gave me this pose and his expression, and other pictures were helpful to confirm his colouring and the shape of his ears which were not wholly visible in the main image. By working together the client was confident at all stages that the portrait would be a fitting tribute and would capture a true likeness of Pepsi, and I knew that I was meeting the brief and doing my best to help honour both his life and his memory.
I am glad to say that the gift was very well received, and Pepsi’s portrait was hung on the wall in the heart of their home that same day, and will be keeping a watchful eye on his family for years to come.