Tag Archives: dogs

Two Cute Dogs Best Friends Portrait Painting

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.

Rainbow Black Lab Psychedelic Pet Portrait

This colorful pet portrait, depicting a colorful Black Labrador Retriever Dog named Rocky, was finished on June 22, 2020. I was able to capture the steps involved in the creation of this painting, and made a video, which can be seen below. This portrait was created with acrylic paints on an 11″ x 14″ stretched canvas. I used vibrant rainbow colors in a semi psychedelic style, resulting in a dynamic and interesting portrait. A larger version of this painting can be seen in my portfolio here: Colorful Pet Portrait – Rocky the Labrador Retriever.

I first create a sketch from the reference photo. This sketch is transferred to the canvas using graphite paper. I then start with the background, blocking in the overall colors that I will be using.  Then I go back and add some elements to the background, like heavy brush strokes of varying colors to make it more interesting.  Fine hairs and details like whiskers are layered over the background, so it is important that it is finished first.

After the background is acceptable, I move into the pet.  I always start with the eyes, then move to the nose and mouth.  I feel these are the most important parts of a portrait, and complete these first before moving on to the rest of the painting. Then, I start blocking in the main features of the pet’s face. The dark areas (shadows) of the dog’s face are blocked in with dioxazine purple, and the lighter areas of the face are blocked in with light blue. The edges between the dark purple and light blue are neatened up by adding some fur line brush strokes.

Details are then layered on top. Many layers will go into this, and more colors are added at this stage.  Magenta, hot pink, green, medium blue, and some white are added until the desired effect is achieved. The same process is repeated on the body.

I sign the bottom, and the portrait is complete!  The painting will then dry completely for 2-3 days, then two layers of clear gloss acrylic varnish will be added.  This varnish protects the painting, as well as evening out the different glossiness of the paints. It also makes the colors more rich.

Please watch the video below to get an idea of my process.

If you are interested in having a psychedelic portrait painted of your own pet, please contact me! Visit my Pet Portraits Page for more information on pricing and sizes.

This artwork is also available in my online stores for sale as a fine art print and other merchandise.  Please visit my Pixels.com Gallery Store for fine art prints, canvas prints, and prints on wood, acrylic, metal, and tapestries. Also available in this store is home decor products like throw pillows, fleece blankets, coffee mugs, tote bags, cell phone cases, t-shirts and more.  Please visit my RedBubble store for other products such as stickers, coasters, socks, and other cool things.

Poseidon Zeus Hades

Multiple Dog Pet Portrait Acrylic Painting on Canvas

My latest pet portrait painting is complete!  Finished March 19, 2020.  This portrait is created with acrylic paints on a 12″ x 16″ stretched canvas. From left to right, they are: Poseidon, Zeus, and Hades.  Poseidon is a Keeshond, and so is Zeus, and Hades is a shepherd mixed breed. A larger version of this painting is available for viewing in my portfolio here – Poseidon, Zeus and Hades.

Please click on the pictures below to see close up view of all three dogs.


This painting was created with my signature colorful style, but in a slightly different way. Looking at a small thumbnail version of the picture, the dogs look fairly normal, somewhat grey and black.  However, once you zoom in and see the details you can see that no grey or brown was used. The fur details of the dogs was created using the entire spectrum of colors in small impressionistic brush strokes.  For example, in the “white” areas of Zeus’ face, you can see purple, blue, green, yellow, magenta, orange, and red.  This creates a very interesting visual illusion. I chose this method because these dogs do not have solid colors.  Instead, their fur has an agouti, or ticked, appearance.  The grey areas of the dogs are actually made up of hairs that have small black and white bands that give the appearance of grey from a distance.

Comparing the painting with the photo

Comparing the painting with the photo

Here you can see a comparison view of the painting vs the reference photo. This painting is actually rather atypical for me, since I rarely use the reference photo exactly as it is. I usually do a composite of multiple photos, even for a single portrait. By compositing, I mean maybe I will use one photo reference for the overall position, but a different one for the eyes and yet another one for the markings. Most of the pictures I get to use as my references for pet portraits are cell phone shots, and they tend to be a bit out of focus, too dark, too small, taken from too far away and there is loss of detail, lots of compression artifacts, or maybe some bit got cut off. So I tend to pick one that I like best for the main reference and use the others to fill in the details. This is fine, expected, and part of the process of being a pet portrait artist. This photo was exceptional and perfect, and I didn’t feel like there needed to be any changes made.

If you like my art style and want to commission a pet portrait of your own, please visit my information page.

You may also visit my Etsy Store.