Carol has sent me these pictures she has done using the pastel pencils and has asked if I could make suggestions as to the background she would like to put on them. Carol has used different colour Pastel Mat paper and not our usual sand coloured Ingres paper this accounts for the different tones filtering through the animals.
First let me say that I think Carol has done a great job of these subjects considering the short time she has been using the pastel pencils.
I always think it is better to put in a background which in my mind turns a picture into a painting rather than an illustration. Even if it means a very simple one colour background. Another rule I apply when choosing a background colour is to either use a colour or colours that were used in the subject or, choose a colour that compliments the subject. In the case of the dog above I would start with a light grey. 270 would be ideal here and then add into that some of the tones used in the hair.
For the cat I would choose ivory as a base colour and then pick a couple of colours used in the animal. A hint of the green would look good too.
For the horse Carol would have already seen what I used in the original painting and has used some of these colours in her picture. However I would certainly rub these in as at the moment the background is not supporting the subject. They also need to be in the bottom half of the painting.
One other point I would like to mention is the white hairs over the dogs collar need to be thinner and more natural looking. I know this is difficult but it would be better not to include them rather than keep them as they are at the moment. I do have a great many examples in my videos as to how this can be achieved.