Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Commissioning a Pet Portrait Painting - Ben + Angie & Mike's Cat, + Emme the Shih-Tzu

Ben - 2011 - 16 x 20 - oil

Anne wanted to honor Ben with a portrait for their family.  I painted Ben from client supplied photos.  I never got a chance to meet him. 

Angie and Mike love Figaro, and she loves them back!  Figaro was adopted by Angie over ten years ago. After being commissioned I went to the house to meet Figaro for the first time.  She made sure I was friendly and then she warmed up.  I shot about 50 photos of Figaro, and Angie provided me with some of her own favorite photos via emailed jpeg images.  We looked at the room Angie planned on hanging the painting (a bithday gift from her husband Mike).  She selected a 14" square format that I would paint on canvas and frame for them. 

When I got home I looked at all the pics and sent them a few to review.  I made suggestions, but it is always up to the client to select the photo upon which the portrait will be based.  We went back and forth via email a few times until they settled on the pose shown in the pic.

As you can see from the finished painting below I try very hard to capture an impression of the pet.  I add color, bold brush strokes and texture to emphasize important areas.  I try to bring attention to the face, eyes and nose while everything else plays a supporting role.  I also try to create a piece of art.  This is not just a pet portrait to me.  I think that is an important distinction.  I am not a pet portrait artist, although there is nothing wrong with that.  I am a painter who loves and respects animals.  I do pet portraits upon request.  I try very hard to capture the beauty of the animal on canvas.  I prefer to meet the pet in person and take some pics, but I have painted many pets from around the country using only pictures that were provided to me. 

Here are some additional examples of the pet portrait work I do.  

Emme - with her ball - 12" square oil on panel

Emme passed in 2010 and the owners daughter purchased a commission pet portrait for them as a surprise gift! 

Olivia 16 x 20 - oil


  1. Figaro is a beautiful cat! You've captured his regal look in your painting. Angie and Mike will love it!

  2. Thanks for sharing, I will bookmark and be back again

    Pet Portraits