Nash the French bulldog

It took 5 sessions, but I finally finished Nash the French bulldog’s portrait.  He has a rather complicated pattern of coloring on his face, I guess to make up for the fact that his body is all white.  That raccoon mask gives him a rather distinguished look, don’t you think?  Anyway, he is off to his new home this week.

Nash, Trip’s new little brother

Nash the French bulldog

Trip the French bulldog got little brother recently. As often occurs, there might be a bit of sibling rivalry going on just yet.  You will love his little bandit mask face.

Trixie the corgi



After a lot of tweaking, the corgi portrait is finished and in the client’s hands.  I think I must have fiddled with this for days longer than I normally would, continuing to adjust the ears and neckline along the way.  It took me quite a while before I felt that the “corginess” was apparent.  The eyes are no longer buggy and the nose sits properly on the face.  I was making adjustments even into the day it was mailed when I scrubbed out a bit of fur color right above the eyes.

But whew.  The client is giving this to her husband and we had to have rather clandestine communications along the way.  She was worried he would find out before hand and spoil her surprise.  I assured her that the mailing box would have no indication of what was inside, just her name as the recipient and mine as the sender.  I am happy to say it got there safely and secretly.  She told me that she cried when she saw it.  It makes me so happy to know that this fulfilled her desires for her very special gift.

Corgi dog portrait

corgi pencil drawing


My last Christmas commission was a memorial pet portrait for a dog that had very recently crossed the rainbow bridge. I was pretty nervous about it because the client wanted the ear position changed from what the photo showed – to facing forward instead of to the side.  There was no chance of getting another picture, so I just had to make do.  And with the death so recent, the image in my client’s mind was very strong and emotional.  I needed to get this right, even if the photo was not exactly what I needed it to be.  I looked at an additional photo from her that showed the upright ear position, but was too blurry to use and the client preferred this angle anyway.  I also checked a bunch of online corgi photos for additional references on ear shape and position and the width between them.

As you can see, I did change the neckline on the right side and the ears a bit. The eyes were a bit “buggy” and the nose slightly wonky at this stage, but those would be fixed once the colors went on.  I was more concerned that “Trixie” didn’t quite look corgi enough at this stage. Tweaking would need to continue.

I finished the dog portrait


Silly me. In my eagerness to start the watercolors, I forgot to photograph the inked phase, so here is the finished portrait.  What a cute little dog this is.  After I started the watercolors, the overhead perspective from the photo made her harness start to look more and more like a neckerchief.  I had to widen the base somewhat to make it look right.  It wasn’t so apparent in the pencil up or even the inking, but about half way through the watercolors, the orange harness fabric started to bother me.  I widened the base with the ink.  Fortunately, that area is in shadow, so I could get away with it.  In the end, I am pleased with it.

A new dog portrait commission

Dog portrait

A dog commission came up recently while I was working on the little book, entailing a sudden change of gear.  I hadn’t done a commission pet piece since last year, so it was a nice surprise.  The client saw Gizmo the cat’s portrait posted on my instagram account and inquired about one for himself.  It’s a cute little dog, don’t you think?

Zeke and Ernie

Zeke and Ernie

Zeke and Ernie

I worked the last few days adding the colors onto Zeke and Ernie, the miniature schnauzers. I took it slowly because I didn’t want to overdo either the gray of the coats or the bronze on the muzzles.  That and having my glasses on the end of my nose wasn’t really conducive to long work sessions.  I think they both turned out just fine, although I prefer Zeke on the left a bit more.  I think he has a bit more character in his expression.  I wonder if he is the more opinionated of the two.  They sure are cute.

I was particularly pleased getting with this order.  It is my first return purchaser.  She had me do a friend’s pet earlier in the year and came back this fall for her own dogs.  Now it’s on to the home portrait up next.  It is actually two portraits of the same house to be given to different family members.

The Two Miniature Schnauzers



I managed to get the inking almost finished a few days ago. Because they have such wiry, spikey hair, I wanted to leave the final inking until after I did most of the watercolors. I don’t want to have them get overly dark and sometimes the best way to accomplish that is to make the final ink touches last of all.  I do think that their colorful neck scarves will liven up their grey coat colors and I am looking forward to painting those.

I have had to hold off on the watercolors for a few days though. While the drawing was in the rest phase after the preliminary inking, I developed a swollen right cornea and couldn’t see much out of my eye except a big blur. I went to the eye doctor right away and ended up getting some steroid drops for it.  We don’t know why it happened, just that it did.  I must have irritated it somehow and my contacts didn’t help.  It has improved and I can now see okay.  Unfortunately, I can’t wear my contacts until I am done with the drops on Thursday and my glasses have to be on the edge of my nose for close up vision.  As you might guess, that is not comfortable for an extended period of time.  Since I rarely wear them, I never had a pair made with bifocals, plus I can’t find a small enough frame.  I would be considered legally blind if I did not have corrective lenses.  The current fashionable frames are so huge, with my prescription, I’d look like I had beady little eyes peering out.  Not a great look for me.  I do think I’ll try to work some later today after the football games are over.  Maybe short sessions will work out.

I have 3 architecturals in the queue right now so I need to get this finished.  It’s going to be a busy fall, which is a fun prospect.

Miniature Schnauzers

The two boys

The two boys

I have been able to start on the first of my commissions this week- the dog one.  I am putting two miniature schnauzers onto the same board so I have to work on both at once.  I did do those three red vizslas dogs at once a while back so I have done this before, but these are hairy guys and I need to get that right.

I started the pencil up Monday and worked on it some since then.  I like the left one more than the right.  The right guy has a little too much of Lady and the Tramp in him yet, so he may have to sit a while for me to gain some perspective.  The inside eye is is almost totally in shadow in the photo so I will have to kind of fake that, but I am more concerned with their whiskeryness.  I don’t want to overdo or underdo the wiry hair with the inks.  We shall see.  They both also have cute scarves around their necks which will liven up the colors from the basic grays and browns.

Boomer, almost done

Boomer, the cardigan corgi

Boomer, the cardigan corgi

While still haven’t finished his eyes, Boomer is otherwise pretty well done.  I added more shadowing and color since his last post appearance, but am still working on his eyes.

Normally, I like to keep the surprise factor in play for a client and don’t give them a preview.  I like them to open that box and got “wow” (or at least I hope they do).  But because I still have these questions about his eyes that are not resolved, I had to send her a photo.  There are still too may questions in my mind and I want to be correct.  I think the problem lay in the fact that her photos came straight off of her phone without a download and she thinks they show more than they do.  I hope the preview will do it for us and she still will be “wowed” when she opens the package.

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