An Epic Dog Portrait

One of the biggest benefits of commissioning a mural or a painting is the ability to customize the image to make it truly unique and special.  My latest client David decided to take advantage of this when he asked me to do a 24”x18” painting of his 11 year-old labradoodle Ollie.

Of course, when it comes to portraits of people or pets – the most important thing is to capture the subject.  As the basis of the painting, David wanted to start with the image below, as he loved the fun, almost regal pose Ollie is striking in this particular shot:

Original shot of Ollie

Original shot of Ollie

Because it is an older photo and does not completely capture Ollie’s face, though, David also shared some additional images – including this one:

Then came the setting for the image.  The shot of Ollie on the couch is from an old apartment and did not quite go with the pose or the objective of creating a special keepsake.  David is an architect who also does interior design, but he has not yet designed his own home – so we instead decided to create an entirely new space from scratch.

David’s original direction was to replace the couch with a black Barcelona daybed and place it in a room that he described as “California modern” with large windows and wood trim.  To start, I sourced several images that gave me elements of what David was looking for (below) and proposed how I would combine these different elements in the final piece. 

David liked where we were going, so I did the following sketch and sent it to him to confirm the direction for the painting.  David loved the sketch – so we then talked about colors, and David gave me direction to use dark trim and neutrals for the tile, chimney and carpet.

 After this step, I usually like to wait to show the final piece for a dramatic reveal – but because David had a specific look in mind, I sent him a picture of the painting in progress to show the colors in the room (before I had Ollie painted) to make sure he liked it.

I was able to deliver the painting today, and David is thrilled with it!  His business partner was also there - and commenting on how much the painting captured Ollie, she is already lobbying to have the painting hang in their office instead of David’s living room.  Either way, I couldn’t be happier that it will be enjoyed and cherished.