This unique pet portrait painting is of two dogs named Trucker and Jackson. It was completed on December 10, 2020, and was created with acrylic paints on an 18″ x 24″ stretched canvas. Trucker is the English Mastiff, and Jackson is the brindle mixed breed dog. Trucker is using Jackson as a pillow, and they are laying down on a blanket on a couch. This was created entirely from one photograph. The person who commissioned the painting had a limited number of photographs to use, and wanted both dogs in the same painting. I chose this one since it had both dogs already, and was a cute and unique pose. You can see a larger view of the artwork in my Portfolio Gallery.
This painting was a bit of a challenge, both due to the unique poses the dogs have, and the colors of their fur. The customer requested my colorful realism style, and I had to make it work in the context of the dog’s actual fur color, without tipping over to being too psychedelic. In order to contrast with the mostly lighter colors of the mastiff, I chose to have a dark blue background, with a slight gradient of violet on the left side and teal-green on the right. In the reference photo, they are laying on a black leather sofa, but I did not want the background to be black.
Trucker, the Mastiff, is the typical fawn with a black mask. However, he has started to go gray in the face, and has a lot of white hairs on his muzzle. For his mask and ears, I used a lot of blue and purple as a base, and added many layers of lighter blue, green, magenta, violet, and a very sparse amount of white. I did this following the direction of fur on his face. For the fawn areas, I used a base of very light yellow, and added layers of orange, hot pink, green, light purple, and light blue. I added some white highlights to some areas to create highlights. The collar and eye color were left natural.
Creating Jackson, the brindle dog, was a bit more challenging. Jackson is mostly various shades of brown and red, with white on his muzzle and underside with brindle markings all over. I wanted to give the impression that he was “brown” without actually making his fur brown. Whereas most brindle dogs are more or less the same tone all over, Jackson actually has a sable base coloration underneath his brindle. Sable colors are what is typically found in collies, and results in darker coloration on the top of the head, ears, along the back, and the tops of the legs. For his fur, I used a base underpainting of orange, and layered on many other colors depending on the markings in that area. I used a lot of fluorescent pink, red, and purple in various amounts. The brindle markings were created with multiple layers of darker purples with light blue on top. This helps to soften the markings and also make them stand out more against the orange tone of the fur. The eye color was left natural. The collar is as it appears in the photograph: dark blue with a light blue clasp, and with little whales printed on it.
The blanket they were laying on originally was black and white, with a pattern on it and a teal border. The pattern of the blanket was too chaotic for the portrait, so I used the teal from the border and made the whole blanket teal. This also helped to contrast nicely with the oranges and reds of Jackson’s fur.
If you like this painting of these two dogs, and want one of your own pet, please visit my Pet Portrait Information page.