Rag Doll “Splodge”

This is Chesterfield Whillowby also known as “Splodge” because his registered name is simply too long and impractical.   He is a beautiful Rag Doll/Himalayan cross and I was inspired to paint him because of his beautiful caffè latte colouring and intense blue eyes.

He’s a timid cat but became quite brave long enough for me to capture an image I could paint in my current favourite medium – pastel.

The addition of an object of his focal interest keeps the picture balanced and the eye moving around the painting.   This was pure pleasure to paint.

German Shepherd “Sultan” King of Dogs

Sultan is truly the most magnificent of dogs – a long-haired German Shepherd and a wonderfully intelligent, affectionate and striking animal.

I’ve owned a couple of gorgeous German Shepherds in my life and losing them both was very hard – all animal lovers know the crushing anguish and grief of saying a final goodbye to a wonderful animal companion whatever their breed.

Because I don’t have a life (yet) that allows for quantity time with such a loyal pet, I haven’t replaced them.   I do have cats and they are wonderful too, but there’s nothing quite like a dog.   One day I will have another Shepherd though – nothing is more certain.

Sultan is the largest piece I’ve done so far.  Pastel paintings need glass and mats for protection which makes larger works too heavy and transportation difficult therefore larger works are best done in another medium not requiring the added weight.


“Josje” and her Point of View

This is Josje, a Dutch Shepherd with beautiful brindle patterning.

Painting character hair or fur such as Josje’s is always a special challenge for the artist as the owner knows every stripe and spot and curve and line of their animal and will be especially critical if the painting misses that attention to detail.

After agonising for what seems like forever, I have finally added a background to Josje.   It was more difficult than I thought it would be.   The photo I was sent, had her sitting on a white tiled floor in the family room of her home – the lines of which provided a vanishing point above her head.   The whole picture was quite sepia in tonality including Josje herself and I wanted to play on that.

I thought about adding some enigmatic windmills in the distance (something Dutch) at the vanishing point line, but a roughed-in sketch on a photocopy looked ‘twee’ and comical.

In the end – thinking old photo edge, film strip edge, old paper edge, something sepia – I remembered the family she lives with have a building connection when I found an image of an old building plan with a ‘blueprint’ depicting some design – not clear and not relevant either except for two letters in the top left hand corner – NL.   Perfect.    That had to be Nederland.   The paper was old and stained and creased – I wondered if it might work.   The vanishing point lines of the tiles would instead become blue print lines.

An artist has to be brave sometimes and this has me out on a limb.   I hope the paper doesn’t detract from the subject Josje as she is so lovely – I can always soften the background or blot it out somehow but I just don’t want it to be ordinary and ho hum.

There always has to be a story.   Always.

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