Dog Pet Portrait of a Whippet in Oils

It's been a while since I posted. My excuse is the new baby chicks which arrived at my home almost eight weeks ago. I've still been painting custom work, but the chicks have kept me busy in all my spare time.

They were SO adorable at only a couple of days old - little fluff balls as you can see in the picture of three of them below:

But they oh very quickly have grown! This is Dorothy saying hello :

The good news is they are all feathered out and can be outside in a run for most of the day. This frees me up to get more work done.

In between "taking care of baby chick tasks" I have completed five oil on canvas portraits of some very beautiful dogs. The first is a Whippet named George. George is peeking out at you in the first photo on this page.  You can see the full oil portrait here or keep reading to see how I did this painting:

Starting out with a couple of photos that the customer sent, I decide that I like the pose on the left best, however the photo is in black and white. Fortunately, she sent a color photo for reference as well.

To get started, the first thing I do is make a box of foam core board and insert a 5x7 canvas into it so the sides do not touch the box. You can see my method here:  How to ship a wet oil painting.

I find the box is a fabulous way to safely ship paintings on canvas whether or not the paint is still wet.

Next I draw the portrait on the canvas making sure the eyes and nose line up correctly and the shape of the head is right. I have written a G at the top of the canvas because the back has his name on it and the canvas is securely adhered in the box. Since there are multiple 5x7 canvases secured in boxes that are ready to paint, I don't want to mix them up!

The next thing I do is decide upon a background color. A soft blue will work beautifully with George, I think, so I use a mix of ultramarine, white and burnt sienna to make a soft blue-gray. You can see the nice contrast with the color of his coat below:

As you can see in the photo above, I also start to paint his fur and ears with a flat oil brush. I do not paint any details yet - I'll fill in all his color first and paint the details afterwards. Such as...

The nose:

And the eyes:

Details take the longest time. Often I need to leave a painting alone for a day and go back to it, especially if the painting is in oils. This gives the paint time to dry a bit in between sessions and gives me a new perspective on the portrait.

When I am finally satisfied with the likeness, I send an image to the client for approval. She is very happy with it! Below is the finished piece. Isn't George the sweetest dog?

Dog pet portrait of a whippet
'George' pet portrait in oil on canvas 7"x5"

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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