Monday, May 1, 2017

"Max" Commission

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"Max" 18X24, acrylic on canvas. It was great to do a commissioned painting of a dog from a different angle. My first german shepherd too! If you'd like to commission a painting of your pet, please feel free to contact me at

"Nala, Jax, & Miley" Commission

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"Nala, Jax, & Miley" 24x30, acrylic on canvas. My first painting with more than one dog! This was a challenging, but very fun commission to work on. Feel free to contact me if you're interested in commissioning a portrait of your dog(s)! You can email me at

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

"Skyy" Commission

Skyy, 12"x16", acrylic on canvas
The latest commissioned dog painting I finished this month. Just wrapped up another that I'll post on here this weekend or next week, and getting going on the next one right now. Feel free to contact me if you're interested in commissioning a portrait of your dog!

Friday, December 30, 2016

"Darla" Commission

Darla, 16"x16", acrylic on canvas
The last dog painting commission of 2016! This is starting to become more of a regular thing, since I have some more commissions of dogs lined up. Honestly, working on these has been an interesting endeavor as it really makes me work to understand color, shape, and dimension a lot more. I'm looking forward to seeing where this takes me in 2017. 

Hopefully there will be more ink drawings as well. I took part in the Inktober exercise this year, where I did a new ink drawing every day in the month of October, and was really happy with how it helped improve my inking technique. I'll need to scan the drawings in and post them here sometime soon. 

In the meantime, feel free to scroll down to see the process gif for this painting. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

"Bentley" Commission

Bentley, 16"x16", acrylic on canvas
After completing my last dog painting of Bruno, the owner of Bruno's brother Bentley commissioned a painting of him as well. You can see the different stages this painting went through in the gif below!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

"Bruno" Commission

Bruno, 16"x16", acrylic on canvas
I was commissioned to do another painting, this time of a cute dog named Bruno. Scroll down to see progress photos and commentary!

Unlike my last dog painting (Smokey, the bulldog), this little guy has a lot of fur, so I got to try my hand at creating a fuzzier effect with my brushstrokes. This initial stage was just the under-painting to help me get things properly laid out on top of the drawing and decide on what direction I needed to take my brushstrokes. I just kept it loose and quick, and finished in about twenty minutes. I was trying to get an approximation of the colors I would use in the final painting, but once I was done there was a lot more brown, orange, and other colors that weren't very dominant on Bruno. I would just have to figure out the colors as I went.

I decided to tackle the eyes, nose, and mouth first, since there would be a lot of hair that would go over the snout. The viewer's eyes would be drawn to these features right away, so I figured it would be good to get them finalized early on.

Next came the body. Got a good amount of fuzziness to it, though it felt a little too dark. I decided to move forward and try to figure out a way to improve the color as I went along.

This dog looks like he's been rolling in the mud! Bruno has a unique appearance where the left side of his face has a dark patch underneath the white hairs, making it look a little thinner. I had to trust myself to go over that dark patch with white to create that look, but it was a little intimidating seeing that dark area just sitting there on his face. I also painted up the ears, which turned out to be a lot of fun blending in the dark to light colors.

It was finally time to get the rest of the face painted. It felt good to get in and tighten that area up. Once I got the white down on his snout and face, it especially started coming together. One spot of trickiness was getting the area around the eyes to have the right amount of depth. I also went back in and adjusted the eyes, reducing the amount of white and color, as it felt like they were standing out too much. One other thing I finally got a handle on was the color of his fur on the face, and I did a light brushing of that color over his body to lighten it up.

So I thought I was pretty much done with this painting, when Anne, my brilliant and observant wife, noticed that the ears were a lot fluffier in the painting than they appear in the photos I was referencing. She was right; it didn't feel like the same dog without the fur having more strands on the ears like he has on the snout. This was probably the most nerve-racking moment of the whole process, because it meant going over more of the background with the fur. If I over did it, I would have had a real challenge with redoing the background to make it blend together. Luckily, I took it slow and managed to get the right kind of brushstroke to capture those strands of fur, and it really brought the whole thing together. On top of that, it allowed me to lengthen the ears a little since they seemed a bit short, and I was inspired enough to go in and add darker highlights to the rest of Bruno to give him more depth. Some last little touch-ups around the eyes, and he was done! It was a fun challenge, and I'm pretty happy with how he came out.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

"Smokey" Commission

"Smokey," acrylic on canvas, 16x16"

This is a commissioned painting I did of a friend's bulldog named Smokey. She wanted it in black and white, based on a photograph she provided, but didn't want it to be photo-realistic. It was a nice change of pace from what I usually do, and I'm thrilled with how it turned out. I managed to take a few progress photos along the way, which you can see below.

The pre-stretched canvas I bought ended up being crooked, so I had to take the canvas off to straighten up the frame, then stretched fresh canvas over it and applied gesso to get a good painting surface. It's been years since I stretched my own canvas, but this managed to come out perfectly.

I put in the background next, then drew in Smokey using a projector to make sure it was accurate.

This is my first layer of paint put down on Smokey. It was done all in one go, and I was just trying to get the basic layout of tones I would want for him. The tricky part with this stage is having it match what I originally drew and not lose track of the features as I'm painting over everything.

I started at the bottom with the body and neck for the next stage, which was thickening and defining the features more. It was easier to stay a little loose with my painting since there weren't as many specific traits to match, and with him having shorter fur, I didn't have to worry about any curls or strands of hair to include.

The right ear was done next, followed by the left. I was kicking myself for not taking into account where the ears would go in conjunction with the darker areas of the background. I was still able to bring them out enough that they didn't get lost in the darker areas.

The top of the forehead went pretty well. I was surprised to find out that his wrinkles never change, so wanted to make sure I had them depicted correctly.

I also tackled the right eye, which was another tricky spot. Since there was so much dark on dark, it took a couple passes to get it so the eye had a clear enough shape to it. This was an area that needed more detail which would cause me to get lost in being more precise and not as loose with the painting as I had planned. Still, I wanted him to be recognizable as her dog, so went ahead of tightening up where it was necessary.

Last was the left eye and the nose and mouth. Like I said, not as many progress photos as I would have liked! The left eye was even tougher than the right eye because of its shape and placement. I had to start over several times before I was happy with it. This painting also made me appreciate the slower drying times of oil paints, because the acrylic paint was too dry to work with every time I came back to start another part. I had to do a little extra work to make the features blend together on parts that had already dried from the day before, while trying not to lose what I had finished.

After all the time I took on the left eye, the nose and mouth were a breeze by comparison. There was some wonderful texture I could work with to really bring it forward, along with some nice deep, dark shadows in his jowls.