I am absolutely delighted to be working for this client again. This is the first dog portrait I have painted for him however. I have over the last two years painted two horse portraits for him, Cruz is his name. One had is owner in it and you can view it here , and in the other horse portrait he is in front of a poppy field. For now though it is time for a gorgeous old man called Ike! We decided not so large would be required for this gentleman so we have opted for 15×10 inches and we have a different frame too. More on the frame later.

This is a much closer up portrait, the photo is cropped in quite tight to him, so I really do get play with some detail! I am so looking forward to painting those beautiful dark, soulful eyes and all those strands of fur. If you are wanting a dog portrait and you aren’t sure what you would like it is always worth browsing my dog portraits gallery to get ideas from the paintings I have have done in the past. 

Reference for a pastel dog portrait of Ike

Here is the reference photo I have for Ike. I am going to remove that fussy blanket he is lying on, not sure what I will replace it with yet. I think either dark brown flooring of some description. There isn’t much on show, or maybe some grass. I will decide later with my client I think. 

And here is Ike all sketched out. Even in the sketch I hint at the fur direction, to make sure, for the most part I get it going in the right direction the first time. I know I keep repeating certain things, but these are some of the most important things I have learnt as pet portrait artist over the years. Fur direction, eyes and fur length! And never, EVER forget the whiskers. I have seen so many pet portraits where they have been left off. Big mistake. Even if you can’t see them in the reference and you aren’t sure add  the tiniest ones, just a subtle hint will do, but no whiskers is a fatal mistake!

Dog portrait outline drawing, ready to start painting Ike's pet portrait in pastels

Painting The Portrait

I have finally sat down to make a start on this gentleman today. It is really lovely to have a break from all the black I have been using, and it is going to be fun to paint all that long fur! 

Long fur takes more observation and often more layers as you tend to get it going in different directions also in different layers, so you really need to apply yours accordingly. Look hard to see which way his undercoat is going and do your first layers in the same direction and so on. This is the beauty of pastels and the paper I use, it takes lots of layers and so is perfect for this sort of thing!

The start of Ike's dog portrait, first layer of colour going down

I will be using a wide range of colours for this pet portrait, from yellows, ochres, greys, burnt siennas, right down to pinks. I can see a lot of pink in his fur, from darks, to really pale pinks and dusky pinks. You would think I would mainly use it for tongues, but pink is a big go to colour for my pet portraits. Particularly this pale pink by CarbOthello, flesh tint I think it is called, but is especially useful for highlights. The code should you wish to order is 681.

Pink pencil used for highlights on Ike's pet portrait

I am still softly build up the layers, my strokes are longer for Ike’s fur, as he has long fur and again making sure it is going in the right direction. As you can see more layers of fur in the photo I want to make sure that is reflected in his portrait so I am probably a little softer handed, making the layers lighter so I make sure I can get enough layers on the paper. If I press down to heavy it will fill the tooth of the paper too quickly and you won’t be able to add more layers after.

Pet painting of Ike is nearly finished, tongue still to paint

I am still slowly adding layers to Ike’s portrait, it is a bit of a random process, I find that if work in a less tight style and I am a bit freer and looser than short haired dog portraits, somehow I feel it makes them look more natural. When I get to the top and final layers I will return to my tighter style and work slower again, picking out all the fine hairs and the ones that are going in random directions. I am really pleased with how Ike’s portrait is coming together. 

Home Straight

So I am in the final stages of Ike’s dog portrait now. I still need to layer up the fur a bit and fill in his pink tongue! Not forgetting the whiskers either!

I have decided to put a hint of flooring underneath him, I am going to see what my client thinks, but it can easily be changed to grass. I picked the brown though as it matches the overall colours in the pet portrait and the frame I will be using.

Below you can see one of the progress shots, I have thinned out his fur at the bottom of the right ear and pulled out some highlights and shadows and added the whiskers since this photo. You will be able to see all this final detail in the scan. Once scanned it is a good opportunity to notice anything that needs adjusting this end. It will also get the colours much more accurate to painting than my Samsung can!

Photo of the finished dog portrait

Ike’s Dog Portrait Finished!

Ike is now pretty much finished, unless my client has some amendments. You will always receive a final scan of you finished pet portrait for you to approve and let me know if there is anything you would like adjusting. Client satisfaction is guaranteed with all my pet portraits. I haven’t had an unhappy one in the 15 nearly 16 years I have been a pet portrait artist.

Please find below the scan. I love the colours in this portrait and as mentioned before the frame will work delightfully with this little chap!

Dog portrait in pastels of Ike, the long haired little dog with his tongue out

Over the weekend Ike was framed. I mentioned earlier in my blog post how I thought the frame was going to look great with his pet portrait. I was right. It works really well.

It is a lovely dark wood frame with some gold guilting round it. It is quite a popular frame for my pet portraits as it has quite a traditional feel to it. Ike’s portrait was double mounted as usual with all my portraits. They look so much better with a double mount. It draws you eye in nicely to the main focus, the painting.

Here are some photos of Ike’s framed dog portrait,

Close up of the frame used for Ike's dog portrait
View of the double mount and frame used for Ike's pet portrait

And here is Ike in his frame. I think you can see what I mean about how well the frame suits his portrait.

Ike's framed dog portrait