View Full Version : Boxer 'CASEY' Demo

09-12-2009, 03:03 AM
I recently shared a painting here that I did of my friends Boxer 'Casey'. I took photos throughout the painting process and I have stopped by to share them with you.

Here is the reference photo ... (copyright to my friend Trudy) She has asked that I leave the sand on Casey's face out of the portrait

I use Faber Castell Pitt Pastel Pencils and CarbOthello Pastel Pencils - probably around 15 colours. I work on Canson MiTientes paper - smoothside. The colour of this paper is 'sand' although each photograph comes thru different coloured because they were taken at different times and stages - but you can see how the portrait develops. Once I have my outline I begin usually on the left hand side or with an eye - I am right handed...

more to come ....

09-12-2009, 03:07 AM
I generally lay down base colours and rub them in and work over the top of them creating detail ...

When I work over the top of my base colours I don't rub in - this creates texture and the fur

I continue to layer ...

09-12-2009, 03:12 AM
I generally work where ever I feel at the time, in this photo I have started working the right hand side of the top of her face ...

I continue to develop that area...

I haven't finished the right side of her face, but in this photo I have begun developing on the left side ...

09-12-2009, 03:16 AM
Here I continue to work my way across her, blocking in and then layering ...

... and some more layering ...


09-12-2009, 03:25 AM
Working on her face now, many layers. The trick to the fine hairs is to keep your pencil tips very sharp. To do so I use metal sharpeners - not stanley knifes because they chew my pencils. I sharpen the pastel tips itself on the blade rather than the whole pencil.

More of her muzzle here and I have finished her right ear and right eye area ...

... and finally the finished artwork. To finish I re-look my work and sometimes I strengthen the light and depth areas, or add more richness of colour and look for areas that need the detail reduced or sharpened. To reduce the detail I lightly smudge with my finger. I always use my fingers no fancy tortillons or anything, and lastly sign my work

Tadaaa! There she is, the gorgeous Casey! - 8x10 inches
Hope you enjoyed my demo, perhaps I can stop by again with another sometime :wave:

09-12-2009, 05:15 AM
I love your demos. I always learn something, and I definitely re-learn about how damn good you are!

09-12-2009, 10:03 AM
Thanks for this demo. It's really wonderful to see how you create such great paintings. And on Canson too! Do you use fixative at all?

09-12-2009, 10:16 AM
Holley - I have long been a fan of your work. Just recently got some pastel pencils - frustrated a bit now b/c I'm struggling to get the precision that I can with colored pencils, but I'm determined to get better. So...I really appreciate the detail you provide in your WIP's - very, very helpful to see how you create such beautiful work.

I do have a technical question for you, tho - after your base color which you rub in - you then start layering - I guess you do not rub any of those steps/layers until you do your final 'tweaking' at the end???

Also, altho it's a simplistic question - I'm a newbie and trying to get a handle on mechanics - do you typically work light to dark?

Thanks, Holley! You do such beautiful work. It's always a treat when you do a WIP - thanks so much for taking the time to do these.


water girl
09-12-2009, 02:26 PM
Thank you for taking the time to share your work process. I loved this piece when you previously posted it and it's most generous of you to elaborate. Super job!

09-12-2009, 04:08 PM
Holley, thanks for the demo. it's fantastic. and just the right timing for me . i was wanting to do a portrait of my dog it would be my first dog and this fine one you did here will give me ideas on how to go about it, thank you.

09-12-2009, 06:23 PM
Taddaa - just like that - you make it look so easy! But its not. This is great - the lovely soft muzzle - and how do you get that sort of character into a dog? (I speak as a dog lover).

09-12-2009, 07:42 PM
Holly I'm speechless beautiful portrait thanks so much for the demo

09-13-2009, 02:38 AM
Thanks heaps for looking in everyone. I appreciate your comments too :)
To answer questions ...
Elaine - no I never use fixative, I find it dulls pastel work, it is not needed at all
Ginny - perseverance is the key. I have only learnt how to use my pencils by playing with them, I too was determined to master them, and today i am still learning. Yes I tend to block in/rub in my first layers and then create the fur and detail without rubbing it in. I am also very light handed so I can apply several layers. Usually my top layers are applied with more weight. The fur is created with several shades of the colour. I like to work from medium to dark and medium to light. By applying the mid tones I find it easier to build up the depth and build up the light. Each area takes patience and I find regular breaks help keep me refreshed. This portrait took around 13 hours but only working on it for about an hour at a time - there are 13 photos here so each photo shows roughly an hours work (give or take). I always struggle a bit at the start of my paintings until I get a feel for what I am doing and then things start to work. If an area becomes too hard at the time I then just go onto another area. This is just how I work but you might find different things for yourself.
Patrick, Karen, Pete, Jools and Betsy - I am more than happy to share with you all, I want to inspire other people just like you all inspire me. No Jools it's not that easy at all, I do find things hard all the time but I just persevere. If it wasn't a challenge it would be boring and then I wouldn't want to paint it :)

09-13-2009, 05:59 AM
Fantastic demo. Thank you for sharing. Look forward to your next one!


09-13-2009, 12:25 PM
Wonderful work and on cannson too. Just amazing. One quick question, you stated you do not use stanley knifes but metal sharpers to sharpen your pastel pencils. Can you please give me an example of the metal sharpers as I too have problems with the pencil sharper eating away way to much pencil when trying to sharpen them. Thanks James

09-13-2009, 03:03 PM
Holley - thank you SO MUCH :) for your detailed answer!!! I REALLY do appreciate it. Your work is so stunning and the pastels have such brilliance of color that I'm very anxious to at least get some minimal grasp of the medium.

I, too, spend a LOT of hours in CP work so it's helpful to get a gauge, timewise, of what was involved with Casey. The amount of time that you took with him is evident in such a gorgeous work and tribute to the dog.

Thanks again for sharing your WIP's with us, Holley. I find them VERY instructive in watching how you go step by step. You're a born teacher as well as gifted artist!

Thanks again!


09-13-2009, 04:21 PM
This one is going into my favorites and I am going to study it intently before I do my next portrait in pastel...What a great learning tool you have provided!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

09-14-2009, 09:11 AM
I enjoy sharing my work process so thank you all for contributing to my post.

James - I have taken some photos of how I sharpen my pencils. I buy metal sharpeners from the supermarket and I generally go through one sharpener per portrait - they are inexpensive and I find they work better than plastic ones. I sharpen them just as any normal pencil but to get the fine tip I sharpen the pastel itself on the blade, just like so ...

and here is a photo of the sharpened pastel tip ...

I hope to stop by again sometime with some new pastel work and perhaps another demo :) :wave:

09-14-2009, 01:54 PM
Oh - so you poke the dog with the pastel pencil and then he emerges from the paper? Wow - good technique.

Well done and thanks for the demo!!! Barb :)

09-14-2009, 03:01 PM
Thanks so much for showing me the sharpener, I am going to buy some next time I see them. thanks again, james

10-25-2009, 01:04 AM
Just Beautiful!!!
Thank you for your generousity!

10-25-2009, 02:01 AM
Great demonstration! I enjoyed watching all the steps; your attention to detail is amazing. Very, very helpful; thank you!

Lisa Fiore
10-25-2009, 08:27 AM
Wow, I don't know how I missed this the first time around, but I'm so glad to have seen it now!! Fantastic!!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

Mary Brigid
10-25-2009, 09:02 AM
Holly this is a fantastic demo. You have gone into so much detail for us. I have a golden Lab that I want to paint sometime and this has been a wonderful lesson. A very big thank you from me.
Mary Brigid

Merethe T
10-25-2009, 07:30 PM
Fantastic work, and fantastic demo!! :clap: :clap: :clap:

10-25-2009, 07:42 PM
WOW,the best Boxer portrait i have ever seen,superb.

10-25-2009, 08:55 PM
oh wow, thanx everyone for all your comments :)

Judy Manuche
10-25-2009, 08:56 PM
Beautiful, I am sure they were pleased!

10-25-2009, 10:14 PM
Beautifully, beautifully done. Gorgeous dog.

10-26-2009, 12:15 AM
Wonderful demo!

I would LOVE to see another one sometime. Thanks for sharing!

10-26-2009, 12:02 PM
This is just amazing Holley!

I love your work and any demo you do is well appreciated!


10-26-2009, 03:43 PM
Excellent job!

10-27-2009, 05:42 PM
Excellent likeness of the dog 'Casey' and a detailed, generous demo. Thanks for sharing.