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Painting project

Part 1 Begin a portrait of an alastian in pastel by drawing your subject and painting the background and first layer, with Estelle Robinson

Iam often inspired by an image that just catches my eye and makes me want to reach out for my pastels. Poppy (below) is one such inspiration. Artists frequently use photographic images as reference and it is important to ask permission for this. We all know the importance of a good relationship with your local art shop, framer and printer, and photographers are no different. They are often very generous with their work and ask only for a credit. This particular photo (below) is from an amateur photographer I follow on Instagram @forrestpics and Poppy is her own dog.

This photo tells a story. I love Poppy’s expression; it’s as though she is waiting for the rain to stop so she can go out for a walk. I also love the background, as the colours hint of a garden with sharper raindrops sitting on the glass telling us it’s damp out there. There are lots of different textures and my brain is whirring as I think how to approach the different layers.

Potential problems

If, like me, you are working in pastel there is the problem of smudging. Don’t worry, you will be working in layers in this project and unwanted marks will be covered up. You may also experience a problem when going over the edges of your drawing as you apply the background. As with smudging, untidy edges will be covered up easily with the pastel.

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About Leisure Painter

Welcome to the March issue. This issue is packed with practical advice, tutorials, demonstrations and illustrated techniques, all aimed at teaching beginners and amateur painters to draw and paint successfully. Enjoy working with watercolour, acrylics, oils, gouache, coloured pencils, pen and ink and more. Learn how to draw and paint animals, landscape, flowers and elements of the countryside. Develop your skills as you learn about the value of tone, how to loosen up your style and how to add drama and a sense of narrative to your paintings. This issue also launches a beginner's guide to acrylics. Enjoy your month of painting with Leisure Painter.