The Making of a Pet Portrait

photo cred: @kingkingsley__

Pet portraits are a unique way of preserving cherished memories of our beloved pets. A step up from a boring photograph, paintings turn special moments into awesome artworks to hang in our homes. Since December 2018, I have painted a total of 25 commissioned pets from around Australia. This shows me that there are many people out there who see the value in owning a unique artwork of their pet. They are part of the family, after all.

So, what goes on behind the scenes from when you order your pet portrait and unwrap the finished artwork? I’m here to give you a little sneak peek into the Studio life for the making of a commissioned painting.

Step 1: prime the Canvas

Once a person has ordered their artwork and sent me a photo of their pet, I begin by priming the canvas. I use two coats of Gesso Primer with a wide brush. This step is essential as it ensures a smooth look without a woven canvas texture.

This step is also important as it allows the paint to blend seamlessly without being drawn into the canvas. Some canvases have a rough texture that feels as though it absorbs the paint, making it difficult to achieve the desired effect.

step 2: Draw the outline

The next step is to draw the shape of the pet onto the canvas with pencil. There are many ways to do this, but I prefer to go with the most time efficient option. For small canvases, I will trace the outline of the pet on baking paper and retrace it onto the canvas with charcoal. For larger canvases, I will use a projector. This ensures that the pet portrait will resemble your pet as closely as possible.

Step 3: Paint the small details

Using Art Spectrum oil paints, I will start the actual painting process by beginning with the nose and eyes. I loosely apply the colors, working from dark to light, and then go in with a clean brush to blend them together.

Although a dog’s nose may look black and grey, it often has tinges of blue and brown.

I will paint these small details before the background or the fur, as they require a steady hand and I need the blank canvas to support my wrist.

step 4: Paint the background

I will then paint the background before I paint the fur, as the fur would need to feather out on the sides to create a realistic fur effect. To smooth out my paint, I mix a bit of refined linseed oil to my color. This will make the paint apply smoothly to the canvas.

Step 5: Paint the fur

To begin with the fur, I will map out the fur sections with the darkest color and work towards the lightest colors. This looks like chunky blocks of paint at first, but will begin to look like fur once the paint is blended and smoothed out using a clean brush.

Once this step is completed, I will then go back in with dark paint to create depth and definition.

The Finished Artwork

Order your own pet portrait:

Would you like your own unique artwork of your beloved pet? I am more than happy to discuss the many different options with you to ensure your painting is customised to suit your needs. I will respond as soon as possible.

email me your inquiry

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