Commissioned Dog Portrait

A little while back in this blog, I talked about how much I love the diversity of projects I get to work on – and my most recent project is another great example!

Pam has a portrait of her own dog and had the idea to have me paint her sister’s dog Gus as a birthday gift.  The process started with the picture below, but I also met with Pam to talk about what she wanted to see in the painting.  Her sister likes this particular picture, so including the rug and the chair were going to be important, but we also wanted to make sure Gus was the hero of the final piece.  In addition to capturing the appearance of Gus, we also talked about his personality to make sure I could show that as much as possible – so understanding Gus is a sweet, feisty, playful and mischievous dog was essential.

Pam did not want to include the red kerchief, and we talked about cropping out the hardwood floor and pillow and deleting the chair leg to clean up the composition.  I also simplified the chair and pulled it in closer to overlap with Gus so that were not too many lines to pull the viewer’s eye away from the dog.

Finally, I shifted Gus’ gaze slightly upward to make him look more at the viewer.  I also accentuated his crouch slightly to make it look like he is ready to spring into action!

The best part is when I delivered the painting to Pam and her first words were “You nailed it!  That’s Gus!!”