"Oreo - Little Man" 8x10 Soft Pastel on Sennelier Pastel Card
When you are filled with emotion, sometimes the creative energy just pours out. And, in this case, that is exactly what happened. My daughter, Kim, and her husband, Zak, have had "Oreo" since before they were married. He has always been a part of their family, and Oreo was there as their family grew and they welcomed the birth of their daughter, Reagan, in 2009. Oreo was always the one and only family pet. We all loved Oreo, and Oreo loved us all.
Sadly, Kim and Zak had to let Oreo go to Kitty Heaven yesterday after a long struggle with kidney failure and various other illnesses, but he had lived a long life. Oreo was 18 y/o, and like all of God's creatures, we get old and things start to short circuit and break down. Oreo held on, though, as long as he could.
As a tribute to this special kitty, and the love he gave my daughter and her family, I have made this pastel painting for them to enjoy in remembrance of Oreo.
First, I sketched him out with a Charcoal pencil. Not concerned with details, just shapes and relationships of shapes. I used a 9x12 Pastel card from Sennelier, however, to make it easier for Kim to mat and frame the painting, I taped it off to 8x10. This way, she can purchase an 11x14 frame with a mat. Much easier.
I started with the eyes and then moved outward adding pastel. I didn't want to compromise the layers of color and values in the eyes if my hand were to get in the black pastel for his fur, so that is why I started with his eyes.
Moving right along, I began working on Oreo's nose and white fur markings on his face. This will not remain pure white because the light is hitting Oreo from the right side (his left) So, things will progress by adding shade and light.
Oreo is beginning to look very handsome! I used Pastel Pencils, Hard Pastels, and Soft Pastels to add detail to his face and fur.
When I work, I like to have things handy. I have the reference image on my laptop to my right, and my painting is vertical on my easel so that the pastel dust falls downward. I also have my maul stick (aka my mother's old cane) to steady my hand for detail work.
When I started the painting, I wasn't sure if I wanted to add a background, but then I thought "yes" he needs a special background. I added greens and blues as if there is foliage and blue flowers behind him. The colors set off his eyes and the blue reflections from the light on his shiny black coat. We love you Oreo. We miss you so very much. You were a special kitty.