Try Your Hand at...

Peggy
In pastels

Vic Bearcroft demonstrates a simple approach to painting Peggy using pastels on velour paper


Let me introduce you to Peggy - my girlfriend’s parents’ dog – a whippet cross, who they found abandoned one Christmas Day, with a badly damaged front leg. Unfortunately, the leg could not be saved, but Peggy began her new happy life – first in Yorkshire, then in Normandy, where she lived out her final years. She may have only had three legs, but she could certainly run on those long, wide Normandy beaches!

1To begin, create a preparatory sketch, using a charcoal pencil. You can use a graphite pencil, but make sure it is very soft, a 9B, or you might indent the velour paper.

Try to use as many straight lines as possible in your sketch; this will help you to get correct angles, as well as making your finished drawing or painting much stronger than if you try to concentrate on all the smooth curves as you see them.

2This is probably the most important stage of all – the tonal sketch. The tonal sketch literally establishes the tones for your painting, darkening or lightening your colours when you overlay them.

Now you can begin to curve some of your straighter lines from the preparatory sketch, especially the features, such as ears, eyes, nose and mouth, with a corner of the hard black pastel. At the sketching stage, I like to round off a sharp corner if the pastel is new, so that it isn’t too fine – you only need a sharper mark for fine details later on.

The second part of the tonal sketch uses the flat side of the black pastel. Don’t be afraid to break the pastel in half to make it more manageable. With this flat side, ‘brush’ in some flat tones – one dark, one medium – which will begin to give your subject some shape and depth.

3Next we are going to add some basic colours over our tonal sketch – this is called ‘blocking out’. Try to use two or three basic, sometimes vivid, colours. Good strong colours at this stage will give your painting real depth and shine.

For Peggy’s portrait I am using Prussian Blue, Sanguine and Yellow Ochre soft pastels, again broken in half using the side of the pastels like one inch brushes. First, using the Prussian Blue, lay down a not-too-heavy layer over most of the portrait, except the very white areas, the eyes, chin and neck just below the chin. Put a little of the Blue into the reflection in the eyes too.

Rub the pastel in really well to secure the pigment into the paper. Next, do the same with the Sanguine pastel around the tops of the ears, the eyes and hints around the cheeks and nose. Colour is important at this stage so as not to make the dark areas look too flat.

Finally use the Yellow Ochre around the chin and neck to add some warmth to the painting. Don’t forget to rub all the pastel into the paper; if you do this, you will not need to ‘fix’ the final painting.

4Take the Ivory hard pastel, again rounding off a sharp corner, and sketch in a few details – a little fur texture in the highlighted parts of the ears, around the eyes, the softer highlights in the lower part of the eyes, and around the lips and chin. Remember, this is a sketch of a short-haired dog, so we don’t need a lot of sharply-defined fur texture.

Then add some soft Ivory highlights in the lower part of the nose – these are ‘reflected highlights’ so should not be too strong.

5Now we can add some finer details using a sharper corner of the hard Black pastel. At this stage we can also strengthen the tonal values of the very dark areas. Begin around the ears, adding a slightly furry edge and deepening the shadows under the ear flaps.

Do the same around the cheeks and neck, adding only hints of fur texture. Next darken the nostrils, but don’t define them too much or they will stand out strongly; this can often lead to a ‘piggy nose’ appearance. Make a slightly sharper line around the edge of the nose to bring it forward from the rest of Peggy’s muzzle.

Finally give the eyes more definition. As the eyes are the most important part of the painting, they should be a little stronger in detail and tone than anywhere else.

6Now for the final highlights. The white highlights should always be left until the end to keep them pure and strong. Use a rounded corner and rounded ¼ inch edge of the hard White pastel to begin with. The white flash and white muzzle fur can be added with the edge of the pastel, again separating it slightly from the dark nose. Don’t put too much white into the right side of the face, as this is more in shadow.

Add soft white highlights into the upper left part of the nose, avoid putting in lots of sharp white spots, or Peggy will look like she has white measles. Put soft white highlights into the fur around the mouth, chin and neck – again, concentrating on the left-hand side. Finally, with a sharp corner, add in the bright reflections in the eyes to give the portrait its final sparkle.

I hope you have enjoyed this demonstration, and that you will try it for yourself. I really look forward to seeing your results. Why not try the same material and techniques on your own dog portraits too?

If you would like your painting to be considered for inclusion in Paint with a brief critique by Vic, upload your entries onto the Competitions page where you can also find a larger version of Peggy’s photo and also Vic’s initial sketch – using Tracedown and one of these images can help you to get the image down quickly and accurately if you are not too confident about drawing it freehand.

If you don’t have access to the Internet post a photograph or good quality image of your entry to SAA, PO Box 50, Newark, Notts, NG23 5GY, marked ‘Peggy’. Please note that your paintings will only be shown online if you have uploaded them yourself. Closing Date 15th February 2013.

To enjoy more of his paintings and to find out about his workshops and demonstrations visit www.vicbearcroft.co.uk, call 01636 651699 or email vicbearcroft@tiscali.co.uk

Materials
50 x 35cm light grey velour pastel paper

SAA Artists’soft pastels:

Prussian Blue
Sanguine
Yellow Ochre

Faber Castell hard pastels:

Black
Ivory
White

Also:

Charcoal pencil


Try Your Hand at...

Peggy
In pastels

Vic Bearcroft demonstrates a simple approach to painting Peggy using pastels on velour paper


Let me introduce you to Peggy - my girlfriend’s parents’ dog – a whippet cross, who they found abandoned one Christmas Day, with a badly damaged front leg. Unfortunately, the leg could not be saved, but Peggy began her new happy life – first in Yorkshire, then in Normandy, where she lived out her final years. She may have only had three legs, but she could certainly run on those long, wide Normandy beaches!

1To begin, create a preparatory sketch, using a charcoal pencil. You can use a graphite pencil, but make sure it is very soft, a 9B, or you might indent the velour paper.

Try to use as many straight lines as possible in your sketch; this will help you to get correct angles, as well as making your finished drawing or painting much stronger than if you try to concentrate on all the smooth curves as you see them.

2This is probably the most important stage of all – the tonal sketch. The tonal sketch literally establishes the tones for your painting, darkening or lightening your colours when you overlay them.

Now you can begin to curve some of your straighter lines from the preparatory sketch, especially the features, such as ears, eyes, nose and mouth, with a corner of the hard black pastel. At the sketching stage, I like to round off a sharp corner if the pastel is new, so that it isn’t too fine – you only need a sharper mark for fine details later on.

The second part of the tonal sketch uses the flat side of the black pastel. Don’t be afraid to break the pastel in half to make it more manageable. With this flat side, ‘brush’ in some flat tones – one dark, one medium – which will begin to give your subject some shape and depth.

Materials
50 x 35cm light grey velour pastel paper

SAA Artists’soft pastels:

Prussian Blue
Sanguine
Yellow Ochre

Faber Castell hard pastels:

Black
Ivory
White

Also:

Charcoal pencil

[accordions title="" active=3 event="click" collapsible=true disabled=false

autoheight=false]
[accordion title="Read the rest of this article"]

Already a member?

Members Click here to log in

and access the full article.


Not yet a member of the SAA?

Access to the full article is reserved for SAA members only. If you are

not a member of the SAA, then find

out more about joining here.

As well as

access to this article and more, just some of benefits SAA membership provides

are:

  • The inspirational PAINT magazine delivered for FREE six times a year
  • Interact with like-minded artists and find your place in the UK’s

    largest art community

  • Full access to the PAINT article reference library
  • FREE welcome pack including practical help, advice and gifts
  • Exclusive discounts, member-only offers and FREE P&P on thousands of

    brand name art supplies

Join the worlds biggest and friendliest art society

Whether you're just starting out or you've been painting for years, being a

member of the SAA can help to encourage and inspire you for years to come.

Join today from as little as

£27.50 a year.

A recent review from a

member

”I heard about the SAA through my Art Group and a friend let me have

some old copies of PAINT magazine to look at. I was immediately impressed with the

articles and the help inside and wrote away for the free sample of the magazine.

Well that clinched it! I joined up the next day and using the easy website began

buying artists materials on their Home Shop. They were much cheaper than other

suppliers.

They send a welcome pack with a hard copy of the catalogue, which

is glossy and a good flick through for selection of materials and DVDs etc. PAINT

magazine is full of helpful and inspiring articles, and I keep my copies close to

hand in my studio for reference.”

Vanessa Bavington

[/accordion]

[/accordions]