I have just completed another commissioned oil paint pet portrait on canvas, and this one I can share with you! In anticipation of sharing what is now one of my favorite portraits, I took photographs of the work in progress from beginning to end so that I could share with you what I do from the moment a client contacts me to the delivery of the painting.
Step One: I am given a photograph, either digital or print, to work from. It is important to keep in mind that the better the photo, the better the portrait. (For tips on taking great pet photos, click here.) The client and I discuss how he or she wants the portrait to look, and I get started. Here's the original photo I had to work from for this portrait.
Step Two: Next I sketch out the portrait on gallery-wrapped canvas with staple-free edges. I usually begin painting the background and lay down a wash of colors for the subjects.
Step Three: I typically leave the faces of my subjects for last, so the next thing I did was paint in the darks and midtones on the bodies, and some of the darks on the faces.
Step Four: Next I worked on the face of the Great Dane on the right, and then continued to add the highlights to the face and the body. In this photo the subject on the right is complete, except for some minor tweaking I always do at the very end. What a good-lookin' dog! ;)
Step Five: Next I worked on the Great Dane on the left. Here he is with all the midtones and darks, and maybe a smidge of highlights on the face. He looks like a zombie dog without all the highlights.
Step Six: Finally, I finish with the highlights on the Great Dane on the left, on both his face and his body. At this point I usually stand back away from the canvas and look at the entire portrait, and then come back and tweak a highlight here and add a shadow there. Then, this is the finished product!
After that, the next step is hopefully meeting a happy client, and giving said ecstatic client his or her portrait. ;) I hope you enjoyed the step-by-step process!