I normally have a commission for a pet portrait on the go, and so my diary has quite a few images of me at the easel. There can be a lot more that goes into a commission before handing over the final painting. It’s essential to have a range of good photos for reference and sometimes I am asked to take the photos myself. A recent experience proved to me that I needed a faster camera to catch an equally fast and bouncy dog (plus a change of clothes!). Before I get down to the pastel drawing itself, I make a series of sketches to get a feel for the subject and the best pose or composition for the picture, especially if I’m doing the whole body. The reward for me is seeing the client’s face when the portrait is unveiled – I’m always a bit anxious beforehand but elated afterwards, and proud to add another image and positive comment to my testimonials (see page under commissions tab).