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Gallery Highlights E-Newsletter March 2018

Highlights from the PaintersOnline Gallery

To celebrate the Chinese year of the dog and the opening of Crufts this week, we have selected paintings of dogs from the following artists to share with you this month

Audrey Hynds   Carolyn Parkinson   Glennis Weston   Ibolya Taligas   Kate Marr   Tracey Elliott

Rosie and Susie by Audrey Hynds

Rosie and Susie

Since I retired some six years ago I have been painting almost every day with a variety of subjects, but in the last year or so I have been asked to paint a lot of pet portraits ranging from dogs, cats, rabbits, horses and even two Fanabello ponies. I am self-taught and love to watch and read other artist’s methods, but there is no substitute for actually painting and discovering your own style (which will emerge the more painting you do).

I find that I love painting the animals, always from photographs, some that I have taken myself but, as some of the pets have passed on, they have to be from any photos available.

I have my own little quirks, as I’m sure most people do, in that I need to know the animal’s name and sometimes a bit of their history.

This particular painting of Rosie and Susie is for a friend who has always had rescue dogs. She has told me that these two were inseparable, hence having them painted together.

I start by sketching the animals on thin paper and use a lightbox to transfer the image to my watercolour paper. This eliminates damage to the cotton paper by erasing. For this one I used the Winsor and Newton 100% cotton 140lbs (300gsm) paper which is one of my favourites.

Two colours I could not do without are French ultramarine blue and burnt sienna, which I use for almost all of my greys and blacks, which I apply in thin glazes to keep the transparency.

In Rosie and Susie I could see a green-blue highlight, which shows up in a lot of black dogs, so I used some Winsor blue green shade mixed with a little French ultramarine blue. This is a staining colour so I only used it where I knew I did not need to lift back to white paper. I also used this for some of the greys in the fur.

I would like to say to anyone who is just starting out and gets discouraged, almost every painting has a stage when you could just bin it as it looks awful. I always look to see if everything is basically in the right place and that I have the right tones and then I just carry on. Some of my best paintings have looked the worst at the halfway stage, so don’t get discouraged.

Please look at my other paintings in the PaintersOnline gallery and on my Facebook page where you can message me for further information.

Molly by Carolyn Parkinson


As a child I loved to draw. As an adult I never had the time but have always doodled in meetings as a way to concentrate!  

When I retired I decided to take up art and, as a dog lover, it was only natural that I started to draw and, on occasions, paint the animals that I love. I am self-taught but the more I do, the more confident I feel and the greater the enjoyment that I derive from my drawings. I am fortunate that I have lots of friends and family with dogs so have lots of willing subjects for my paintings.

Having seen a few of my portraits I was asked by a friend to draw Molly as a gift for his mother’s 70th birthday. I was both pleased and anxious at the same time as I wanted to achieve a good likeness. Fortunately he sent me a lovely reference photo from which to work. I usually like to take the photos myself so that I can ensure that the eyes are very clear – someone told me that if you can capture the eyes, then you capture the animal. I think that this is the case here as Molly has very soulful eyes.

Choosing the materials was quite easy as I have a set of trusted allies. When my children were small they were given ‘WH Smiths’ own brand blendable coloured pencils as a gift. I couldn’t bear to part with them and so now use them myself as the base and mid layers for most of my dog portraits, often using them to block in colours before blending with a paper stump or blending pencil. And, because they sharpen to a really good point, I can use them for fine details in shorter haired breeds, or for fine detailing such as around Molly’s mouth. 

Molly is drawn on A4 Canson Bristol White paper as the colour of the paper was the best fit for the décor of the house where the picture will hang, and I really like the smoothness of the paper which lends itself to blending and works well with the different types of pencil that I use.

Once the outline was in place I focused primarily on the eyes, burnishing them when I was happy, to give them a polished look. I also laid out the direction of the fur, putting outlines in using blue, pale and dark grey.  I then gradually built up the fur in several layers starting with the ears then blocking in ‘clumps’ of fur before blending with a paper stump to form a solid base.  

Once the general form was in place I changed to Koh-I-Noor Mondeluz ‘Grey Line’ watercolour pencils to represent the range of greys that were visible in Molly’s fur. I like the smoothness of these pencils and, although for this portrait I did not use them wet, I sometimes do to block in a base from which I can build a portrait.

I concentrated on the dark and mid tones and placed shadows in the whiter areas of fur, again gradually building up the layers. Once I was happy with this I used Koh-I-Noor Polycolour black pencil to add individual hair straggles and white to bring out the highlights in the greys. The lighter fur was created using a combination of battery eraser, the very light greys (from the grey lines) and finally white Staedtler Lumocolour pencil for the brightest hair around the eyes and the white straggles at the top of the head.

I enjoyed the fluidity of this portrait with the tousled locks allowing me to be looser in the way I drew, rather than the rigidity of some of the shorter haired dogs that I have drawn.

Although layering does take a lot of time, I like to see the way the portrait develops and often photograph the various stages of the process so that I can look back on them. I also use this as a learning tool and find that I can use them to help me to create similar portraits. A friend, on seeing various of my pet portraits develop this way once declared; 'not bad for a bit of colouring in!'

See more of Carolyn's work in the PaintersOnline gallery by clicking here.

Leo the Bernese Mountain Dog by Glennis Weston


I am a self taught artist, and I love animals/wildlife and flowers so in the main that is what I paint or draw. I find art very therapeutic and the pleasure of drawing an animal portrait and seeing it come to life on the board is a great feeling.

I work in various mediums but enjoy pencil work and watercolour the best.

I am a member of Churchdown Art Group, Gloucestershire, which meets on a Wednesday evening and has two exhibitions annually in June and November, Wallsworth Art Group based at the beautiful setting of Nature In Art Gallery & Museum, Wallsworth Hall, Gloucester. I am also a member of TWASI (The Wildlife Art Society International) which holds its annual Exhibition of Wildlife Art in the Nature in Art grounds; this year's exhibition will be held from 26th May to 3rd June 2018, well worth a visit!

I met Leo and his companion Jessie whilst out for a walk with their owners, magnificent dogs with Leo weighing in at 9 stone. The owners had him from a puppy and, as I have never drawn or painted one before, it was straight onto the drawing board.

I used A4 Daler Rowney Bristol Board, a very smooth surface but I find it works well with the coloured pencil method of layering. The pencils I use are Faber Castell and Caran D'ache Pablos with a small amount of Caran D'ache Luminous. This medium isn't a fast process and involves lots and lots of layering. I always start with the eyes and once they are to my liking then its onto the head working from left to right. Starting with a base coat of cool grey and then building up the black of Leos coat, black is never one colour and in the main I used cool greys, Paynes grey and dark indigo which helps bring out the richness of the colour black. The final coat of black was then added, having incorporated the greys and indigo before finally adding black it gives it a rich dark finish. I don't use any blending substance other than a lighter coloured pencil, in this case cool greys, to blend the layers. There were at least twelve layers in total.

For the whiskers I use the indenting method with a ball tool, make sure you put something under the paper when indenting (I just fold some copy paper) otherwise the Bristol Board will be damaged.

The small amount of brown in  his coat were layered once again using a light tone. In this instance I used buff titanium from the Caran d'Ache luminous range which is a good blender pencil for lighter areas and also formed a good base for the next layers of ochres and burnt ochres to get the richness of the tan colour finally blending with a light ochre.

I enjoyed drawing Leo so had to draw his companion Jessie too, she was a rescue and so different from Leo in head shape and characteristics.


See more work from Glennis in the PaintersOnline gallery by clicking here.

Huskies by Ibolya Taligas


From time to time I dig into my art box to experiment with colours that I have ignored for a while. That was the case with a 37ml tube of Payne's Grey that was hidden away from sight. I wasn't sure what to paint at this point. I did some wet into wet splodges on some scrap paper with this versatile colour. I then realised some of those marks resembled fur and then came the idea to paint a furry creature.

I remembered a photo of two huskies I took on my holiday in Finland back in 2011. These dogs that pulled our sledge across the frozen Lake Inari in minus 27 degrees. A truly unforgettable, and possibly the coldest, experience I've ever had. I thought the inky grey colour suited this subject perfectly.

I used a large 20x16in Langton watercolour block, another find in my art closet, and started with an accurate but not too fussy drawing. I actually erased the first drawing and replaced it with a new version which was a better composition.

I started with the dog in the background. I did a first wash over the furry area with a very diluted burnt umber and Payne's grey. I didn't mix the two colours but rather let run one into the other. This underlay shows through the darker layers.

I then brushed some water around the edges where I wanted the paint to bleed, giving that furry impression. You can see this particularly around the dogs' back. I then dipped my brush into a thicker mix of Payne's grey and placed it right by this wet edge, so that the dark paint bled outwards into the wet area. I kept placing thicker mixes of the grey into small areas which I wetted with my brush to acheive convincing fur. This technique created some nice backruns too where the more diluted mix ran into the thicker paint.

After I had all the fun creating fur, I painted in the facial features and finally the ropes. I'm not brilliant at painting straight lines, so I used a metal ruler to guide my hand to get the ropes dead straight, as I wanted them to look as if they were being pulled tight. This makes the dogs appear ready to run, exactly as they were on that day back in 2011.

I'm happy with the overall result and I now keep the big tube of Payne's grey in view, just to remind myself of what a useful addition it is to my palette.

I have many ways to get back into painting when I lack inspiration. It can be colours I experience, photographs' other artists' work or something spotted in nature. In this particular case splashing some paint around on paper impulsively led me to my next painting subject.

You can see more of Ibolya's work in the PaintersOnline gallery by clicking here, and on her website. You can also find details of her painting holidays at

Pepper and Scooby by Kate Marr

Pepper and Scooby

Dogs have such gorgeous characters which are always lovely to bring out in paintings. Pepper and Scooby are no exception, being happy and contented puppies of leisure! I was drawn to this composition of them sleeping, painted from a photo taken by a dog breeder I know. 

I started painting portraiture ten years ago after completing a fine art degree, and am now an oil painter working in Bournemouth who paints from life, plein air and from photos. I continue to paint people and pet portraits as well as other figurative, landscape, seascape and colourful floral abstract work, and have lately been developing a body of work for exhibition which will include this piece.

I painted Pepper and Scooby using Michael Harding oil paints, which I love because they include natural high quality pigments. I started firstly with a quick underpainting, and put in the main shapes, and their spots using burnt umber and prussian blue with a little turps, which I let dry for a few days. Then I painted more thickly on top using the same colours and ultramarine blue, yellow lake, scarlet lake and titanium white with a small amount of linseed oil. 

To view my portfolio, exhibition information and for commission enquiries please visit my website,, and the PaintersOnline gallery by clicking here.

Oscar by Tracey Elliott


For me, drawing is all about ‘capturing the character’ rather than getting hung-up on too many details. When people look at my drawings, I want them to ‘feel’ the personality of the animal. This was particularly important with Oscar because he had passed away earlier in the year from old age, and this would be a lasting, visual memory of him for his owner.

My choice of medium is coloured pencils – I tend to use a few different brands as I find they each have their merits. Derwent Drawing pencils are fantastic for soft fur – they blend beautifully and allow for the subtleties in colour that fur often demands. Once the main body of the drawing is done, I swap to Faber Castell Polychromos for the finer details such as the eyes and longer fur – they too are incredibly good to blend and layer with, but have a firmer texture, which gives me more precision. Once finished, I add the final highlights to the eyes and nose with white gouache.

The paper used in this instance is Daler Rowney Murano Pastel paper – this has a fine textured surface which I think enhances the drawing, giving it a more painterly feel. There is also a good range of colours to choose from which gives you a great starting point if you just want to concentrate on the subject and not worry too much about the background. The green in this range lends itself perfectly for this drawing. Another crucial factor for me is the fact that I'm incredibly heavy-handed with lots of layering and re-working, and this paper is robust enough to take it.

You can see more of Tracey's work in the PaintersOnline gallery by clicking here, and also on her Facebook page.