This sweet girl is Piggy Jane! She is a white Staffordshire Bull Terrier dog with very subtle faint black spots all over her body, which can only be seen under certain light conditions. Her portrait was painted with acrylics on an 11″ x 14″ stretched canvas, and was completed in November 2023. I used a mostly natural color scheme for her portrait, blending in subtle amounts of light blue and purple into the greys of the shaded areas. The background is a solid color of Brilliant Purple (lavender), a choice by the owner. I do not commonly do solid color backgrounds and I think this was an excellent choice!
This painting was a bit of a challenge for me. She is a solid white dog, which provides its own challenges, but that was not the main issue. Her features are very round and smooth, and there is not much definition in her face. So the challenge was to make sure the portrait did not look too flat but also not put features on her face that were not there. Most of the reference photos were taken in indirect light or were backlit, so her facial features were washed out. The owner and I went through dozens of photos before we found a few that had some good shadows in her face, and I used those to help make her face look more three dimensional.
Another challenge was her markings. She has spots on her skin that do not actually show up on her fur, so they are very subtle and kind of hidden. The spots look different in every reference photo; in some they appear, in some they do not, in some they seem to move around or change shape. Again, working with the owner we found a few good photos that showed her spots fairly clearly so I was able to get her markings as accurate as possible.
It is for these reasons, and many more that I always request that the owners provide as many reference photos as possible. With multiple reference photos, I am able to mentally composite them into a final portrait that best resembles the animal. The colors and markings of the pet are very dependent on the light source, direction, and intensity. A pet will look very different in a photo taken outdoors in direct sunlight as opposed to one taken indoors with lamplight. Multiple light sources can wash out features as they eliminate shadows. The color of the light can change the color of the fur. Even a well taken photograph can accidentally remove some key feature.
If you like my art style and you want a custom portrait of your own pet, please visit my Commission Information Page. I paint using acrylic paints on stretched canvas. The canvases are varnished and have a hanging wire installed on the back, so they are ready to hang. I ship worldwide. I will paint any animal species, including cats, dogs, horses, farm animals, fish, reptiles, birds, and even invertebrates. Please visit my Portfolio to see all of my works.