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Pet Portaits galore

Even though I love animals and have painted wild animals, i had never really spent time on pet portraits. Recently people started enquiring more-and-more about whether I'd consider it.

To somepeople pet portraits might seem like just a fancy decoration, but i do think they're actually pretty important. It's not just about showing off your pet's good looks. It's also about capturing their personality. Like, you know how every pet has their own quirks and little habits? A good portrait can really bring those out, and it's like having a little piece of their character hanging right there in your home.

They do make great conversation starters. However, for me its more about capturing those moments for when they are no longer with us.

The latest portrait was the first of 2 commissions form the same client. The spaniel is her own dog; a beautiful spaniel called Piper. The 2nd painting will be for a 50th birthday gift, which i will start in the coming days.

Piper was a different process for me. I had a completely free reign and went through a few different styles.I was working from a few photos that were taken in a cafe. Several photos were merged to give me a working pose.

I painted it on 5mm thick wooden hardboard 43cm x 43cm after sealing it with Golden's GAC100 to ensure the wood was protected for the oil paint that I would use. It also aids longevity in that no discolouration from the wood will happen over time.

Like all my paintings I then used a few thin layers of gesso, followed by an acrylic abstract. i really like abstract background to work on. In my opintion they remove the importance of a background and put greater emphasis on the subject while still providing an unusual visual aspect. I add mediums into the paint to ensure that the background will look a different colour depending where it is viewed from. Once it has had at least 24 hours to dry it's onto a number of layers of oil painting using NeoMegilp as a drying agent/medium. I used to use liquin as a medium but the smell from it is revolting. My dog Amy is with me 24/7 so I am always looking for more environmentally friendly panting solutions, which wont harm her.

I usually know instinctively when i am finished and this painting was no different. It's put aside for a couple of weeks to dry in a dust-free environment. Once it is touch dry, it is given a thin layer of retouch varnish. it is then put aside to dry again for a few days before I give it an initial layer of Gamvar ready for framing and delivery to the client.

I loved this painting but I openly admit it was difficult. I created a heat map in Photoshop and there was so very little variation in tonal value that made colour mixing difficult for me.

if you have any questions about my process feel free to drop me a line



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