A Peek at How I Paint my Pet Portraits

I’ve been very busy painting lately! This time it’s been dogs.  I have painted six new dog portraits in various humorous scenarios, and have documented my creative process to share with all of you!

Creating these dogs have actually taken me a very long time to do. Those of you who have submitted photos to me are probably wondering if I was ever planing on painting any of them! I have to admit making these paintings stumped me at first. I have found painting dogs more challenging then painting cats. The reason being is due to the way I perceive dogs and cats. When I think of cats I think of them hunting bugs, squirrels, and birds. This also applies to dogs, but there is so much more I feel I can do with a dog! I love how they like to beg, eat food, and look guilty when they think they are caught doing something wrong. I really want to capture them in those moments too! So there was a lot of thought put into these next few paintings in hope to make you smile. Smile

I refer to a photograph for all the dogs I have painted. Some times I change them a bit to create a look I want, especially if it helps create an emotion or a mood in the composition.

The supporting characters in my paintings are usually made up from my imagination. My usually go to favorites are birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and bugs. I take reference photos of these things as often as I can, but usually I find myself struggling to manipulate the creatures accurately to appear in a position that creates a funny made up scenario. Planing and drawing the composition to my paintings is the most tedious and time consuming part of my whole painting process! 

You may notice in a lot of my paintings I save the eyes for last. The are my favorite details to paint.

Lately, I have taken an interest in documenting my process. It’s been fun to look back at how my paintings are made! Below you can follow the progression of the creation of three fun loving dog portraits.

The making of Brain Freeze was a major break through for me! This painting of a Pug and a giant strawberry milkshake has open the flood gates for many more great paintings to come with dogs and desserts!

Brain Freeze



I’m extremely pleased with the way Chipmunk Mischief turned out! I knew immediately after I drew the chipmunk he would go down in my history books as one of my favorite critters I have ever made. The colors of this painting was also a success to me too. I wanted it to feel like this Jack Russell Terrier had wondered into the woods hot on the trail of a small critter. The painting came out exactly the way I envisioned it! 

Chipmunk Mischief


This next portrait of Let Me Retrieve My Orange may have been the most difficult portrait I have ever painted. When I first came across the photo of this Retriever with a bright orange ball in its mouth I knew I wanted to immediately turn the ball into food, and draw a squirrel trying to take it from the dog. This is one of those rare times where the planing was quick, but the painting took a while in order to get the angles just right. 

Let Me Retrieve My Orange


I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to send in photos of their amazing and awesome pet! I know many of you are patiently waiting to see if I paint your favorite four legged friend, and I hope to paint as many of them as I can! My quest to paint pets is a long ongoing process, and in the meantime I hope you enjoy the ones I have accomplished to date.

If you like the idea of me painting your dog and what to summit photos to me for the chance to be picked to be painted next I would love to see what you got!  Please take a moment and read the details for photo submission in my post: Do You Have a Dog Just Begging to be Painted?