I have been very prolific this year as an artist. In addition to the 16 original paintings I created, I have 10 commissions, 9 of which are Pet Portrait commissions. The majority of commissions this year were dogs, with one cat. With two exceptions, all of these portraits were created with acrylic paints on stretched canvas. It is a media that I have come to really love, and now work almost exclusively with it. My style for these portraits is somewhat impressionistic, yet with realistic anatomy and proportions. I typically use bright bold vibrant colors, while trying to maintain the color tones and markings of my subjects. Thus I call my style “colorful realism”.
I am proud of every portrait I create, and honored to capture the memory of their pet. I feel like I am improving with each portrait I complete. I capture the spirit of each pet using bright colors and bold brush strokes to create a unique piece of art that the owners will cherish for years to come. I can work with almost any photo, as long as it is not too blurry or dark. I have the ability to compose my artwork using multiple references to get the best representation of my subject. I understand that for many, their pet may no longer be with us to capture more photographs. Often, we only have a few photos of our pets on our cell phones, since we take pictures for memories.
Below you can see the nine pet portrait commissions that I have created this year along with their reference photos. Clicking on the image will allow you to see a larger picture. You can see larger versions of the paintings themselves by clicking on the links on their names, or by visiting my Pet Portraits gallery.
This portrait is of a mixed breed dog named Kona. This is a memorial portrait, and was created with pastels on board. Kona was an energetic and goofy dog, and I tried to capture that in this portrait. The bright background is a gradient of pink, purple, blue and green, and I felt was a good contrast to the warm oranges and yellows of her fur, and also a good representation of her personality. This was completed in January of 2018.
These three portraits are Tucker the boxer mix, Rocky the Cane Corso, and Addie the Rottweiler. All three of these dogs belong to one owner, who commissioned me to do portraits of all of them at the beginning of this year. For Rocky’s portrait, the owner requested more natural colors. These portraits were created with acrylics on canvas, and was the first time I had actually painted with acrylics in a very long time. Prior to this, most of my work had been in colored pencils and pastels. Now, I prefer painting with acrylics.
This is a pet portrait of a corgi/husky cross named Shiver. For this portrait, the owners had a black and white photo that they wanted me to use for the main reference, and send me a few other photos for me to use for the coloration and markings. This is a great example of using multiple reference photos to achieve a final portrait. Her portrait was the final one created with pastels, and was completed in July.
This pet portrait is of a Maine Coon mix named Achilles. His owner wanted more natural colors used for his portrait. For the background, I chose a pale greenish yellow, which I felt really complemented his eye color and made it stand out, while also contrasting well with his fur color. his portrait was painted with acrylics on stretched canvas.
This portrait is of a cute little Chihuahua named Peeto. The owner contacted me through my Instagram account. He is tan and white. I used his natural colors as a base for selecting the colors in my painting. The tan areas are represented by bright orange and yellow, and using darker colors in the shaded areas. The white areas are painted with blue and purple in the shadowed areas. His portrait was done in October.
This cutie is a long haired Chihuahua named Gizmo. His portrait was created with acrylics and finished in November. Being mostly black and white, I could really chose any color I wished. I used a whole rainbow of colors in his fur, while still primarily sticking with blues and purples. The owner requested the lime green background color, and I think it complements the painting very well.
The final commission of this year was of a silly black mixed breed dog named Jackson. This was finished in December and is acrylics on stretched canvas. His portrait was the most challenging of all of the for a few reasons The first being the reference photo was very dark and lacked a lot of detail. Fortunately, I was able to use an image editing program to lighten it and increase the contrast so I could see some more details. In addition, this portrait has a lot of fiddly details, such as the teeth and collar. I spent a lot of time on those areas because I wanted them to match the reference photo. His position is very unique, as it is not a head on portrait but rather his head is at an unusual angle which I think makes this portrait very visually interesting. Since he is a black colored dog, I have the freedom to choose any color I want. I have used all the colors of the rainbow in his fur, but stuck with a primarily blue and purple tone overall. You can see hints of green, yellow, magenta, red, and even orange if you look closely!
I hope that I get the opportunity to create more pet portraits in the upcoming year. I greatly enjoy doing them, and working with the owners is always a pleasure. If you are interested in commissioning a pet portrait, please visit my Commissions Request page.