I recently completed the largest pet portrait I have done to date. It was created with acrylic paints on a 24″ tall by 36″ wide stretched canvas. This painting took me 6 weeks to complete. It was completed on February 4, 2020 and features five dogs sitting in the snow. Four of the dogs are Australian Shepherds, and one is a mixed breed shepherd. Their names, from left to right, are Caliber, Jerry, Chips, Ammo and Lexi. This was based on an actual photograph taken by the customer, with all five dogs sitting patiently in the snow, waiting for their picture to be taken! It was such a great and unique picture that the customer wanted it to be captured as a portrait for his wall.
Please click on the thumbnails below to see closeups of each of the dogs.
This portrait was created with my signature colorful realism style. I used their real colors and markings as a base for which colors were chosen. You can still tell what their real colors are looking at the painting, even though full saturation bright colors were used instead. The dog on the far left, Caliber, is a tri-color (black, copper and white). Her black areas are represented by purples and blues, the copper areas by orange, yellow, and magenta, and the shadows in the white areas by an assortment of colors. The next dog, Jerry, is a blue merle with copper and white,. The blue merle parts were also represented by various shades of blues and purples, and the copper by red, orange and yellow. The dog in the middle is Chips, the shepherd mixed breed. his fur is a black and tan color, like a German shepherd. His fur is a colorful mixture of red, orange, yellow and magenta for the tan areas, and blue and purple for the black areas. The next dog is Ammo, the red tricolor. The red areas of his fur were created with various shades of magenta, brick red, orange, and purple. The copper areas were created with red, orange and yellow. And the white areas with a mixture of all kinds of colors. The last dog on the right is Lexi, and her coloration is similar to Jerry, but she has blue eyes and a slighter body structure.
Above you can see the two main photos that I used as the references for the portrait. The process for this painting was very meticulous. The owner picked out a really good photo to use as the main reference, but minor modifications were made. For example, Caliber, the dog on the left, was laying down in the original photograph, so her reference photo was trade for one where she was sitting up. Also, Lexi originally was next to Caliber, but the customer wanted her moved to the right side. It was a great decision, and the result created a more balanced composition.
My first step in the creation of this portrait was to sketch out each dog individually, then scan them into my computer and digitally create the composition. Once a composition was agreed upon, the sketch was printed out and then transferred to the canvas using graphite transfer paper. This is my preferred method of transferring a sketch to canvas, as it leaves a nice clean sketch without eraser marks. The background was painted first, then each dog, and finally the snow was painted last.
This was a fun project, challenging, and also a learning experience. I take joy and pride in the portrait I have created, and hope to have the opportunity to do more like this in the future.
The owners were kind enough to allow me to make this painting available as a fine art print. Please visit my store to purchase this artwork as a print on paper, stretched canvas, acrylic, metal, or wood. There are hundreds of options for framing and matting. It is also available as a greeting card and a coffee mug.
To order your own custom colorful pet portrait, please click on the Pet Portraits link above or the image below.