Hurley the Golden Retriever Poodle
15″w x 11″h watercolor on 140lb wc paper. Portrait of a fun and energetic Golden Retriever Poodle mix (GoldenDoodle) named Hurley.

We said goodbye to Hurley yesterday at the vet’s, there was nothing that could be done.

Hurley J01He was always a truly kind soul and full of fun all of his life. I don’t think he had a mean bone in his body.

Hurley Camera ShyHere is a picture of him when he did not want his picture taken. This big guy came to us with many allergy problems but after we got them figured out, he was a joy to have in our home. He enjoyed getting dirty every day and splashing in his doggie pool often during the hot months so that the dust he’d lay in would stick well. Our house is never spotless. He was the first guy in the water at Elk Park.

Hurley Loves Snow 02He loved cold weather, and he would chase snowballs all day long. He’d go outside and roll all over in the snow and then just lay in it with a smile on his face.

Hurley Snow 01We were truly blessed to be able to share so much of his life with him. He is already greatly missed.

Max is the Talking Dog

Max 005

Max talks to us

Max is the talking dog, check out his YouTube video link above. He is a half Swiss Mountain Dog, half Pit Bull who likes to tell us it is time to go outside and play, time to eat, time to cruise in the car or pickup, etc. He is the very “vocal dude” in the house who wants to run the fastest, always, whenever he is outside because he is a racer. We love his voice and his fabulous eyebrow expressions.

Boxer Dog Breed

dog Boxer Sketch

This is the boxer dog breed, sketch initially submitted. Isn’t it a trip to see how many wrinkles are in their foreheads and their lips hang over the jaw bone? They seem to have very expressive facial features as a breed. Working in b&w can be a very tricky thing. It was very difficult to choose a number of black areas in a manner that showed the black parts of the snout and the less dark tan areas of the rest of the face and ears, then resort to extreme minimal marks to show the white chest area.

I’ll be able to finish rendering this in a more realistic vein, using a pencil with gradual gray tones instead of just black and white areas. I have even felt pulled to pen and inking it. I will post the finished pencil portrait when completed next week.

Dozen Dog Breeds

I did rough sketches of a dozen dog breeds, and then started to finish them for a client and found out the finish I was providing was not what she needs for her wood burning templates. Ooooops. This kind of error in communication (by me) happens in an artist world, today I will redo it the way that she needs it, because, having a happy customer is always worth a rework to me.

Australian Shepherd dog breed Rough
Australian Shepherd Rough

Here is the Australian Shepherd rough sketch.

Australian Shepherd dog breed pencil
Australian Shepherd pencil

Here is what I thought would be the final for burning the image onto the wood. The dog breed, Australian Shepherd What is the result of all of this?

Pencil Drawings, images that I think are worth finishing are sitting on my desk. I glance at them and think of the time invested and energy showing in these dog faces…. I think, I could finish these into great pencil drawings.

The drawing speak to me, they are saying, “Finish me, finish me!” Consequently, another project after the project is created. My love of dogs comes out into more pencil drawings in the studio, anyone want to buy one? Another crazy artist  “finish it” desire in process.

Pet Portrait Stella Photos

I received a project from my daughter’s friend Libby for a portrait of her dog Stella that has passed away. Libby runs Cornerstone Danes out of Oroville WA raising absolutely beautiful dogs.

Unfortunately, Libby lost almost all of her photos of Stella when her phone crashed. You can imagine how horrible that is. What we had to work with are five shots. One is detailed and up close, the others are not so close up and in different positions definitely showing her personality.

Stella was deeply loved and greatly missed and I look forward to painting her. From my own personal experience, I know how difficult it is to say goodbye to our best friends! BTW. I still take photographs with a real digital Nikon D60 and love the ability to adjust for different lighting and detail when using a real camera.

Rottweiller Portraiture 04

Pet Rottweiller Portrait 04

You can see how one of the washes looks as it is still wet at his lower chest line area.
Dog, Rott 18

It is all just small areas of wet on wet paint application, with different tones of pigment until you get the result you are looking for. Over and over.

Dog, Rottweiller L1617
8″w x 10″h watercolor on 140lb wc paper.

I can really darken areas now and to achieve really dark blacks I add reds, green and magenta for that extra oomph.

The brown areas of fur seem to become warm and his black hair has a beautiful rich black hue. His eyes are touched with gold and red flecks and a feeling of life appears in them. I remember this angel and wish I could give him life but I have done all I can. We miss you, Roscoe.




Rottweiller Portraiture 03

Pet Rottweiller Portrait 03

While I was adding more color to his fur I began turning the painting to work on it.

Dog, Rott 13Now, another dilemma becomes apparent. Which orientation would look best for this piece? Horizontal or Vertical, Hmmmmm. Which orientation would you pick? Vertical or…

Dog, Rott 14Horizontal? Both views are scenes I have seen dogs take naturally.


Rottweiller Portraiture 02

Pet Rottweiller Portrait 02

While examining this layout it seems very easy to be distracted by his positioning because his whole body is not on the canvas.

Dog, Rott 05With a plain ground surface, this is exaggerated. So, some varying shapes of green are dropped onto the lawn below him to separate that surface from his body. Also, darkening the ground near his rear hips seems to help show how his body recedes away from our view in a much more believable way.

Dog, Rott 12I am slowly rendering the many different details now. Darkening the darkest places and adding rich brown to his fur everywhere. I make sure there is a slight lit edge on his jowl line so it will not get lost in his body surface below. A rim light.

Being very careful around his eyes, lining his eyes with dar lids but making sure to leave the whites of his eye outlines there along with his lighter eyelids. Lastly, adding wetness to his cornea and dropping a darker rim around the outside edges that frame the gold in the center. I love to paint eyes.

Smoothing and straightening the links of chain for the edges of his collar. These are the most tricky areas around each link of his collar, and also the shiny parts of his nose.





Rottweiller Portraiture 01

Pet Rottweiller Portrait 01

Here is a photograph of a regal Rottweiller named Roscoe. He has that forever quizzical look on such a very serious face. This guy presented this expression frequently and would even sometimes serenade us with his beautiful voice. He is someone that will always be loved by us and missed terribly.

rottweiller looking up at you

As long as I have a decent photograph or two to work with, I can paint a good portrait. A typical first step for me is to create the same size print to work from. Computers make that so easy. I take a print and use it to sketch the portrait onto a good piece of watercolor paper, and Aquarel 140 lb is what I am using today. Dog, Rott 01To begin, I lay in a good light wash in the background using greens flavored with burnt sienna and adding cool blues to where I see shadows and reserving the whites to render the highlights later.

Dog, Rott 02Next, some warmer browns are added into the browner-looking parts of the fur areas. In a short time, these layers of light wash begin to reveal depth and shape to us.


Pet Portrait 04


Pet Portrait 04, softening the golden tip of his nose by adding light washes for a more gradual transformation really smoothes out his snout. 8 softeningHis nose is washed in a red tone then darkened around those fabulous gleaming wet nose dots along the top edge. I love the way that the light catches the texture up there. His tongue is made pinker and his lower lip darkened and all around his eyes are detailed.

dog portraitMore darkening, smoothing, and then finally adding the almost black shadows under the tongue and inside the mouth. I think Hurley came out good, he is just such a beautiful spirit! I’ll stick him in a frame and quit, no more changes.