Little Critter Dog Portrait

Dog portrait, watercolour on paper

Drawing animals isn’t hard, right?

Like a dog portrait. Unless you’ve been commissioned by a sentimental owner or a zoologist that can spot the variances in its anatomy!  😡
A year ago my boss at my regular day job asked me to do a painting of his dog who had passed away some time earlier. I agreed because I’m up for a challenge generally. He supplied me with a dozen snap shot photos from the 1970’s, which is to say that they aren’t of the best condition or composition.

I’m now beginning my third attempt 😬

Work in progress, sketch on wood panel
Work in progress, sketch on wood panel
Snap shot from the 1970's as a reference for the dog portrait
Snap shot from the 1970’s as a reference for the dog portrait

I rather liked my second attempt in watercolours but he thought the dog looked silly. I thought it showed his personality! Like many of the dogs in this how-to guide

Dog portrait, watercolour on paper
Dog portrait, watercolour on paper

My first attempt in acrylics from last summer s going okay until a bit a roadblock on the background. I stared at it for weeks before turning it towards the wall. I just couldn’t make the gravel of the background interesting.

Dog portrait in acrylic on canvas
Dog portrait in acrylic on canvas

If he doesn’t like number #3 I might throw in the towel 😢


This post is being linked with Sunday Sketches weekly art sharing co-op

Blue Chair Diary blog
Blue Chair Diary blog

& Creative Tuesdays a biweekly themed art challenge

Creative Tuesdays At Co-Op
Creative Tuesdays Art Co-Op

Also, Paint Party Friday

Paint Party Friday
Paint Party Friday




20 thoughts on “Little Critter Dog Portrait”

  1. I like #3 the best. I can only imagine how difficult it would be to truly capture exactly what a dog owner would want. Please don’t let him get a tattoo of the dog on his body 😉

  2. These look great. I think dogs are very hard. I’ve tried to do our little Molly (Shih Tzu) but never happy….back to the drawing board…HaHa.

  3. I like the last picture the best 🙂 Why don’t you use your
    artistic licence and paint a beautiful garden with flowers?
    My second choice is the one on wood. Looks great so far 🙂

    Have a beautiful day
    Tinna ✐

  4. the gray one with the dog looking up looks good to me. he looks very happy in that piece.

    visiting from Creative Tuesdays, have a lovely day.

  5. Terri,
    Capturing a dog’s personality is truly hard. We had an artist give us a painting of our first bichon after he died. The artist truly captured the spunky nature of that pet. Your last painting shows a strong, positive character, a dog that truly stands firm but loving. Great job on all of them.

  6. I agree that Dog Portraits are hard, but these are amazing! Wonderful capturing of the expressions, and the paint work is very well done. Love these woof-y critters (-:

  7. I can only imagine how difficult it is to do a portrait from a photo taken in the 70s!! I’ve done some from recent digital photos that were blurry and poorly taken and they were hard enough!! I like the third one the best – it’s got a lovely loose impressionisitic feel to it and I like the vague abstract background – I prefer portraits with a plain background rather than scenery as I think they often take away from the dog if there is too much clutter behind. This looks great as it is.

  8. Your dog portraits are so beautiful. I cannot draw animals at all. My attempts all look like cartoon animals so I don’t even try. You have captured the spirit of this breed in your paintings. I actually like the middle one without a colored background best. I’d say it was a finished, beautiful portrait. I wouldn’t do a complete background on it if you put any at all, maybe just a light mottled blue-gray around him. Or not. I love it.

  9. I think animal portraits would be extremely difficult. Not just because of having to capture an animal but for the sentiment of the owner you have to capture as well! Your paintings are beautifully done.

  10. Wow they are all so beautiful good job… I am loving the wood one it’s looks so true to life!! I like the background on the last one…it’s awesome…all excellent!! Let the boss decide when you’re done! I think you have captured the dogs essence!!

    Hugs Giggles

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