Shih Tzu Pet Portrait Oil Painting on Canvas

Have you ever tried to photograph a fast moving object? If you have a frisky pet, then most likely you have.

A request came in for a pet portrait from a local collector. They brought Ebby, their little Shih Tzu, to my studio for me to take pictures.

Well. I have a whole new appreciation for my customers who try to get a good photo of their pet to send me online. I took over 70 photos and most of them were a blur. Little Ebby was so cute, but could not stay still for one moment.

Fortunately, she finally got tired and I was able to take a few somewhat decent pictures. The portrait will be 14x11 inches in oil on canvas. I'll show you how I painted it below. Or you can skip to the finished pet portrait here: Shih Tzu Pet Portrait.

The first thing I do is print out any likely photos and pick the ones that will be most helpful. I've attached three around my canvas but I have a few more at the ready should I need help with details.
Then I draw the outlines of the pose I want onto the canvas:

I mix blue and brown paints with a bit of crimson and white to make gray for the fur. Some areas will use more brown, some more white, some more blue depending upon how the light hits the fur.

Below, I continue to shape the fur with light and dark of this mixture. You can click the images to see them in more detail:

The client requested pale pink for the background, so I paint a mix of crimson, a touch of blue and plenty of white - see below. Fortunately oils don't dry fast. This makes it easy to blend the fur with the background a bit to make soft edges.

I experiment with using a vignette effect but ultimately I decide to paint her body to the edge of the canvas and wrap the painting around the sides as you'll see in the finished piece:

After all the fur is painted in roughly, I start on details, like the nose:

Then the eyes. They are dark brown, but where the light shines on them, it will look lighter brown, just like the light coming through a translucent marble:

A catch light in each eye in the right spot brings the eyes to life:

Finally, I work on more fur details. Her fur looks too light to me, so I darken certain areas and add color and values to get the likeness. Below is the finished portrait:

Shih Tzu Pet Portrait Oil Painting
Shih Tzu Pet Portrait Oil Painting
Isn't Ebby a cutie?
Do you have a precious pet you'd like painted? Check out the details here, or contact me.

I'm happy to take custom orders. Contact me for a custom painting of your pet, home, garden, grandkids, favorite vacation spot or whatever your heart desires.
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