Sharing a recent pet portrait commission “Bonzo”

Hello and hope all is well? I thought it time to share the completed commissioned pastel portrait of Bonzo with you, including the reference photo that I took to work from and a close up of his face.

He is such a lovely working spaniel and posed beautifully for his photo. This portrait was given to his owner, by his wife, for his birthday and all the family were delighted. Makes the time spent on all those details well worthwhile!

Have a look at the recent videos on my Instagram feed if you missed my working process using soft pastels and pastel pencils on Artspectrum Colourfix paper…

If you would like me to create a special portrait as a gift for yourself or a loved one then contact me or find out more on my website.

Until next time, stay safe, take good care and catch up soon! 👍🎨😉🐶😁

See the creation of this commissioned puppy portrait “Hugo” with video and happy owner

It is always good when a commissioned artwork is finally given to the owner so that it can be shared with you! 

Usually I am asked to undertake a portrait, whether animal or person, for a birthday and so cannot reveal it until after the date of the gift giving. And so it was for Hugo, the labrador.

I was contacted by Paula, who has purchased and commissioned a number of pastel artworks from me, earlier this year. She asked me to undertake a portrait of “Hugo” for her niece, Lucy’s, birthday on August 4th.

As Paula lives in Chelmsford and her niece lives in Sunderland I had to work from the photos that were available to me. I usually prefer to take my own photos but as this was not possible, and Paula wanted a portrait of Hugo as a puppy, we came to an agreement about the best photo to use as reference. These were the choices – do you agree with the final one chosen? 

Hugo pet portrait reference photos 1 Ivan Jones pastel artist
Hugo pet portrait reference photos 2 Ivan Jones pastel artist

It is important to remember that not only do we have to consider the pose, but also the detail ( some of the above were not good enough quality when zoomed in ) and the personality – it is essential that the reference photo transmits this.  

Anyway – we decided ( with Jonathon’s help ) on a crop that would give the most detail of Hugo’s head and I went to work. This is a 2 minute video ( covering two hours of work) as I add details to the ears and face, and start on the left eye. Here I am using soft pastels and pastel pencils on Colourfix pastelboard. 

You can see the reference photos I am working from and that I am using transparent film ( with the outline of a previous commission! ) to rest my hand on so I don’t smudge the pastel. The paper has a slightly rough surface ( or “tooth” ) which holds onto the pastel and keeps it in place. 

I am delighted to say that both Lucy and her husband Jonathon were very happy with the completed portrait as you can see from the Instagram post by Hugo!

Hugo and Lucy with Hugo's commissioned portrait by Ivan Jones pastel artist

If you want to be like Hugo and have a unique, detailed and realistic portrait undertaken then please get in touch. I will be only more than happy to help you through the commission process, from choosing the best photo references to deciding on frames colour and size.

I look forward to hearing from you soon! 😉👍😁

Delighted to share floral art awards

It is not often I undertake pastel paintings of flowers, but a few years ago I created a series of artworks on the floral theme. These included a marigold, waterlily, orchid, rose and dahlia.  

Flowers pastel artworks by Ivan Jones artist
Some of my floral artworks using soft pastel and pastel pencils on Artspectrum colourfix paper

 When the Light Space Time art gallery undertook a Botanicals art competition I thought it was entering two of my better floral artworks, the waterlily and the moth orchid……

I was very pleased to discover early this month that I had been awarded a prize for each pastel artwork – an Award of Merit ( one of 60 artists ) for the moth orchid and an award of special recognition ( one of 100 artists ) for the waterlily. This is not too shabby given there were 844 entries in total!

These are my entries for your interest…….

Ivan Jones Moth Orchid pastel painting
Award of special merit to Ivan Jones pastel artist
Ivan Jones Waterlily Reflections pastel painting
Ivan Jones special recognition Waterlily pastel painting

Have a great day, maybe consider purchasing the waterlily ( see link above ) and catch up soon!  

“Resting hands” pastel artwork is honoured in Boldbrush painting competition.

A while ago I signed up to a free art competition with FASO, who not only host artist websites but also have a range of art marketing options. FASO were one of the artist website options I researched before choosing Shopify to work with.  

Artsyshark 250 places to sell art online Screenshot

Boldbrush art competitions are free for the first entry and I have started entering them on a monthly basis. My first entry was in November 2019 and was Brian, a portrait commission I completed in 2018. 

Brian Nickson portrait commission Ivan Jones pastel artist

Then I set up my profile with FASO and entered the March competition with Resting Hands – hands on a walking stick which is for sale in my catalog……

Ivan Jones pastel artist entry on FASO website

This morning I was delighted to receive the following email: 

Congratulations! Your painting, “Hands at rest”, was selected as part of the FAV15% (jury’s favorite 15% of the entries) in the March 2020 BoldBrush Painting competition. You may view the FAV15% paintings, including yours:
This honour means that you might be featured in in the coming months. Thanks again and congrats again! 

Sincerely, The FASO Team”

My artwork is one of many but it is still lovely to be included……

Resting hands in the top 15% voted by a jury in March 2020 Boldbrush competition

My April 2020 entry to the Boldbrush art competition is a commission I completed a few years ago but is still a favourite of mine – Broad Street in Ludlow in the rain.

Boldbrush art competition entries Ivan Jones pastel artist
Broad Street Ludlow in the rain commission Ivan Jones pastel artist

So fingers crossed that I receive recognition for this striking commissioned artwork!  I will keep you posted and enjoy your day! 

 PS why not consider a unique commission from me which will delight you and yours for a lifetime – just get in touch for a chat sometime! 

Sharing memories of childhood art experiences and the art journey

Although there are hints about the childhood experiences that influenced my art journey elsewhere, I would like to share a bit more with you.

I had always been interested in art, even as a child, but really discovered my love for art at Junior School when I was asked to help paint the background of a float used in the local town’s Coronation Parade. Opening all the tins of poster paint, seeing all the raw colour, mixing them and creating a scene on a grand scale was awesome.

Ivan Jones artist first oil paints 1950's

QUESTION – do you remember using something similar?

I then did A level art at 16 before going on to do Veterinary Science, as doing science was what was expected of me at that time. I had been introduced to pastels in my teens, by a friend of my father’s, so after retirement in 1999 I took up the brush ( or in my case pastel pencil!) again.

Ivan Jones artist first pastels 1950's

QUESTION – have you used pastels before?

The friend of my father’s, Glyn, was a excellent artist and his use of pastels was an inspiration. I even have a few of his pastels left, after 60 years! I don’t use them, of course, as I consider them a nostalgic momento.

Ivan Jones artist portrait of his mother 1957 watercolour

After I retired we were living in Australia, looking after my wife’s mother, so I needed a medium that was not too messy. There was a fantastic art shop around the corner from her home in Melbourne with a huge range of pastels, so it seemed that fate had lead me back to them again. My first pieces of art were created in Australia including a portrait of my wife Cathy…..

Ivan Jones artist first pastel portrait after retirement wife Cathy 2000

When we returned in mid 2000 from Australia, we joined our local Rotary Club and one of the members there owned a framing shop and gallery. He displayed a few of my early pieces there and the first piece I sold was of Spanish coastal scene ( reference photo taken by my wife ).

Ivan Jones artist first pastel artwork sold in 2000

I sold a few more there and then, through contacts, was invited to exhibit in local galleries and exhibitions. You can see more of my recent exhibitions here.

I have a lot more stories to tell but I hope this brief history of my art journey until 2000 is of interest. Thanks for reading, stay safe and enjoy your day.

A great response to this recent family portrait commission

“Thank you so much for our wonderful portrait picture Ivan. You have achieved, to our delight, just what we wanted including an obvious emotional connection of us and the dogs. With many thanks! Gilli & John”

This is the best response I could have had from what was a challenging commission. The challenges started from the time the photos were taken in mid June 2019 by my wife Cathy through to the end including choosing the best frame to compliment and feature the details of the artwork…..

I had completed a commission previously for Gilli and John back in 2015 and Gilli purchased a hedgehog painting from me in 2019.

Portrait commission and purchased artwork in situ Ivan Jones pastel artist
Previous commission and purchased artwork by Ivan Jones pastel artist

This time she wanted a “family” portrait with herself and John plus their two dogs. We knew the best reference photographs for such a large commission had to be taken by us, so we went to their home in Malvern in June to take them.

The weather was perfect and we took over 100 photographs of all types – of the family together, everyone individually, indoors, outdoors…..This gave us a range of photos to get the light, the details of eyes, the perfect position of head, body and so on. We then went through all of them with Gilli until the best of each person and dog was chosen…..

Chosen photos of Gilli and John for portrait commission Ivan Jones pastel artist
Reference photos chosen from those taken in June 2019

At home these chosen photos were combined by my wife Cathy into a single collage which was sent to Gilli for her approval.

Collage of reference photos

Once this had been received, the next 70 hours over 8 weeks was dedicated to the portrait. The response to the completed painting, as seen above, made the hard work very worthwhile!

Gilli and John family commissioned portrait Ivan Jones pastel artist
Completed family and pet portrait commissioned artwork, Ivan Jones pastel artist

You can see more of the creation process on my Youtube channel in due course, and a snippet of the artwork creation is on my Facebook page……

Excited to add the “Live Preview” to my website catalog – see my artworks in your home!

UPDATE – this Live Preview option has a few teething problems so please be patient when using…..many thanks!

For a long time I have been admiring websites that have various types of “augmented reality” which allows you to see items in context, in 3D and so on. 

I have also seen many other sorts of “art-selling” websites and the option to see artworks in context, has been a major draw for me as I imagine for others.

But finally I have been given the chance to add a “live preview” option to my artwork catalog and I have added it to 18 of my detailed pastel artworks. The others will follow in due course – I have to photograph them in their frames and some are at the Sable and Hogg gallery currently.

As the app developer of “Picture It” says:

Picture It allows your shoppers to snap a picture on their phone, upload from their computer, or preview “live” (augmented reality) what a product you sell will look like in their space. They can evaluate whether it matches colors, will “fit” in terms of sizing, and more. When a shopper uses Picture It to preview a product, they’re given the option to add that product to their cart or download/save the image to their device for further consideration. 

This is great for you! If you go to the catalog and chose an artwork that has “LIVE PREVIEW available” then you will have the option to see that artwork in one of 6 preset rooms. 

High rise accommodation Live Preview options Ivan Jones artist
High rise accommodation Live preview room 2 Ivan Jones artist
High rise accommodation Live preview room 3 Ivan Jones artist

Or you can download a photo of your room and view the framed artwork in your own setting. 

There are options to enlarge or reduce size depending on the frame size. You can also add you own room dimensions to better visualise how the artwork and frame will fit in with your room and furniture. 

This ( amateurish ) video will give you an idea of how it works…….

I hope you enjoy playing with this Live Preview feature and maybe even consider purchasing one of my unique and detailed pastel artworks to cherish forever….. 

Have a great day and catch up soon…..I am always here if you have an questions or concerns! 

So pleased to be asked to create this unique commissioned portrait of a very special dog

It is always nice to be asked to undertake a commission for someone and it is also privilege to create something unique. I was approached in the autumn by a friend of an aquaintance, who my wife Cath knew through the Haven Breast Cancer charity ( read more about my involvement with this charity here )

Ivan Jones artist supports the Hereford Haven

This friend, Pat, was considering having a portrait done of her dog as a Christmas gift for her husband. Cath’s acquaintance, Mandy, suggested that I was just the person to undertake this commission so Pat contacted me in due course.

The key to a good, accurate, portrait is having detailed reference photo so we arranged to visit Pat at home to take such photos. We were delighted to meet Chewbacca, a beautiful, gentle Labradoodle with such character that you could not help but fall in love! 

We spent some time taking photos indoors and out, then went through them all with Pat on the laptop until she and I agreed on the one that showed off her character but also was something I felt I could work from. 

Chewbacca reference photos for pet portrait. Ivan Jones Artist

I started with a basic outline of Chewie created using a digital projector – this allows me to get all the proportions correct which is essential for a lifelike portrait. The paper used was my favourite Artspectrum Colourfix. I then spent 25 to 30 hours building up layers, adding detail, blending, adding more detail… can see a little of my technique for Chewbacca on YouTube…..

Building up layers on the nose. Pet portrait. Ivan Jones artist

The final portrait was completed and collected in early December and Pat was absolutely delighted. After Christmas Pat emailed to say “Barry was delighted with his picture and, as I did, shed a tear.  He couldn’t get over the detail and how well you had captured her essence.” 

Chewbacca pet portrait framed in situ. Ivan Jones pastel artist

I am very pleased to have been able to create this unique piece, to meet such a nice family, and to have another happy customer!

Delighted to be invited to be part of an exciting charity fashion event with my artworks

When my wife Cathy had treatment for breast cancer in 2011, an important part of her recovery involved sessions at the Breast Cancer Haven in Hereford. These sessions included massage, acupuncture, shiatsu, group discussions and other holistic therapies. You can find out more about the Haven on their website.

Photo of the Breast Cancer Haven in St Owen Street, Hereford

When I was President of the Knighton and District Rotary Club last year, I chose the Haven as one of my charities to support. We were delighted to be able to donate £500 to the charity and it was doubled by the UK government under the “Big Give” scheme.  

Cathy Jones, speaker Di Emmett from the Breast Cancer Haven, Ivan Jones Knighton Rotary
Ivan Jones when Rotary Club President with Cathy Jones and Haven speaker Di Emmett

A week ago one of the fundraising team, Rachel, got in touch and invited me to display my artworks at their Blossom Fashion Show on April 5th. This show is in a sports hall and they have space for artisan stalls to be set up. I will have a table to show off my smaller original pastel artworks, prints ( mounted and unmounted ), greetings cards and mugs. 

Ivan Jones pastel artist stall at the Wigmore Show in 2017
Ivan Jones pastel artist stall at Wigmore Show 2017

The main aim for this event is to raise money for the Breast Cancer Haven in Hereford. I will pay for the stall and a percentage of any sales made on the night will also be donated to the charity. In addition, if I receive any commission work directly as a result of my presence at Blossom then I will donate a percentage of that to the Haven too. 

Wigmore show 2018 stall prints cards Ivan Jones pastel artist
Ivan Jones pastel artist stall at Wigmore Show 2018

I am proud to be able to support a charity that was such a big part of Cath’s recovery and I feel priviliged to have been invited to take part in this exciting event. I hope to see you there, on April 5th in Hereford at The Point 4 leisure centre, Venns Lane, HR1 1DT. Looking forward to it! 

A detailed pastel artwork – a woodpecker – added to my newly revamped website

Hello my friends and I hope 2020 has started off well for you.
I am always looking for popular subject matter and woodpeckers have a great appeal as they are quite difficult to spot except for their distinctive call. The reference photo for this particular woodpecker, looking into it’s nest, was taken by Terry Hancock and captured my imagination.

Ivan Jones pastel artist sharpening a pastel pencil while working on the woodpecker artwork

As with most of my artwork, this great spotted woodpecker is completed using soft pastels and pastel pencils on Artspectrum colourfix paper. The sharpened pencils create the detail and the background is blended using polystyrene sticks to give the three dimensional effect to the completed painting. It is now for sale on my newly revamped website Have a great day and catch up soon! 🎆🎨👍😉😁

Ivan Jones pastel artist website catalog entry for woodpecker artwork