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The process of creating your painting in  Pastels begins with your reference. The end result of your painting will be directly influenced by the quality of your photo. In this case the reference photo was above average for a photo realistic painting.


The lighting (outside), the resolution and the close up photo made this photo ideal for duplicating. The most important part of a pet portrait is to be able to duplicate the markings which are unique to each animal. Being able to see these markings clearly makes a huge difference in the final painting

The first step in the process to translate the reference into an actual painting is to transfer the reference to the paper. In this case I chose Pastelmat which is high quality sanded paper. The reason for this choice is that pastels need need something to grasp onto and a lightly sanded surface is excellent for this allowing for many layers which will be needed


Once transferred, minor adjustments will be made to match proportions as closely as possible. 

The next step is to select the color palette. I chose Stabilo Carbothello pastel pencils and Faber Castell  soft past sticks. The most difficult part of selecting the colors is to look past what you are seeing on the surface of the photo and concentrate on all of the colors underneath which make that up.

​As the painting continues, attention to color, shadows an duplicating the textures are considered. The process itself is quite different than in oil or acrylic painting. Multiple layers are required to achieve the texture and color. I like to work from dark to light for the most part. I tend to start with the eyes and then work outward from there going from right to left. Pastels are quite chalky and easy to smear on parts of the paper where you dont want them. I'm left handed so I go from right to left to avoid this and to protect the rest of the canvas area I cut out masking using glassine paper, which is similar to wax paper. this keeps that area protected

In this step i'm showing the base layer on the left side which gives you an idea of how the layers are laid down. There are about 7 or 8 different colors which make up the fur on this piece to get the look i'm after. the lighting in this photo is a little overdone but you get the idea

After laying in the final components of the painting, I take a step back at the overall painting making minor adjustments. This painting was done on 9x12 Pastelmat using pastel pencils and soft sticks. 

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