Two Paintings – Henri and Shadow

This is a project I worked on in August. It is of two lovely dogs called Henri and Shadow. Henri passed away and his owner misses him terribly. He was a jack russell terrier. Shadow is a shetland sheepdog. The portraits were commissioned as birthday presents for the dog owners who are twin sisters. The whole family have decided to surprise them with the paintings. The portraits were the same size of 40 x 40 cm and painted with acrylics on stretched canvas. I worked from photos provided by the clients.

dog portrait acrylic

The reference photo for Henri’s portrait was his owner’s favourite photo and the client was very keen to include the basket and blanket in the portrait. We opted for a simple shaded background as there was a lot happening in the painting.

sheepdog acrylic painting

Shadow’s portrait was adjusted a little more from the reference photo. The clients wanted a landscape background because Shadow loves his walks. I added some out of focus trees to the back and a grass meadow.


Labrador Flo in heather

This is Flo, a lovely black labrador retriever. I completed her portrait a week ago for her owner. Flo loves her walks in the Irish hills and the client wanted this in the painting. The painting is 30 x 30 cm in size painted with acrylics on stretched canvas. Flo is sitting in some lovely heathers and long grasses. I love the colours in the photo, the rich browns and ochres work very well. The client was very happy with the finished painting. I hope you all like it too.

black labrador retriever dog painting

I took some photos of the painting in progress. I am including them below together with the reference photo and some photographs of the finished canvas.

Toby the collie

I completed this portrait two weeks ago. Toby is so lovely here, I really wanted to capture his beautiful expression. The client provided me with lots of reference photos and a lot of them involved Toby jumping up onto his owner’s lap. I thought it would be lovely to capture this in the painting. She was very emotional when she picked up the painting and the client was delighted his girlfriend liked the portrait so much and sent me a lovely email:

Just want to say a very big thank you for work on this, it looks fantastic and you could see for yourself how moved she was by its likeness. Will definitely have no hesitation in recommending you to friends/family in future

Thanks again, Stephen

collie painting

The painting is 30 x 40 cm in size and painted with acrylics on stretched canvas. Toby was a black and white collie with gorgeous eyes. I used burnt umber and ultramarine blue for the blacks and the background.




This is the latest portrait to come off my easel. It is of Bran, the beautiful mixed collie shepherd dog. She was rescued by her family when 6 months old and stayed with them for 15 years. She was very special to them and so they commissioned Bran’s portrait with me as a keepsake.

pet portrait

They were very happy with the result and I was just honored to work on such a special portrait. The reference photos were excellent. They were taken outside on a lovely day. It is a beach setting, which is wonderful (I have a thing for beaches so I was very excited to work on this painting :)). We decided to choose a profile image of Bran. I think it really captured her good nature and gentle character.

dog painting detail

I suggested a wide landscape format, 40 x 20 cm in size. It captured just enough background without overpowering Bran in the centre of the composition. I worked in the detail in Bran’s fur with small brushes. It is a sunny scene, so the shadows are quite deep in tone. The basis of my palette were burnt umber, venetian red and yellow ochre. For contrast I used cerulean blue and ultramarine. It was important to capture the warmth of the sun in the image. I took some pictures of the finished canvas on the wall, together with some progress images as I was painting.

Isa and Darcy cavachons portrait

This is one of the many Christmas commissions this year. It is of two cavachons called Isa and Darcy. The painting is 50 x 60 cm in size and painted with acrylics on stretched canvas. I had lovely reference photos to work from for this one. It makes all the difference when painting. There was good lighting coming from the left and there was lots of detail in both dogs’s faces. I had a lot of work painting all the curls 🙂

painting of two cavachons

Above is a scan of the painting. I also took some photographs which show the light in the painting a bit better.

cavachon portrait painting - detail

cavachon acrylic painting detail

I took some progress pictures when I was painting. I am also including the reference photo I work from. The client was very happy with the result:

Hi Ivana ,
You have done a great job they both look so good and real ! Looking forward to hanging it up .

Three dogs portrait

I have completed this portrait a week ago. It is painted on two square canvases, each 25 x 25 cm in size. I worked on them both at the same time so they can be hung together. It was a surprise birthday gift so I waited a little with the blog post. I didn’t want to spoil the surprise 🙂

jack russell and chihuahua paintings

The dogs pictured are Puddles the Jack Russell on one canvas and Rizzo and Scuddles the Chihuahuas on the other canvas. I worked with acrylics on stretched canvas as usual. I am including some progress images together with some photos of the finished paintings.

jack russell chihuahua paintings

Sam the Collie in the Donegal mountains

I recently worked on this lovely painting of Sam, a lovely collie dog with a backdrop of the Donegal mountains. The portrait was commissioned as a Christmas present for the client’s partner and Sam’s owner. Sam is no longer with us and I wanted to capture his lovely nature in the painting. He was a rescue dog and his owners were very fond of him.


Sam’s portrait -detail

I was given lots of reference photographs for Sam’s portrait so I had a lot to work from. One of the photos was of Sam in the Donegal mountains, and I thought it would make a really lovely background. The painting was 50 x 60 cm in size and painted with acrylics on stretched canvas. There was some fog coming over the mountains in the background and I decided to keep the painting quite soft to work with that. I am including a detailed view of the painting which I scanned and pieced together. Below are some work in progress images of the painting and a reference photo.


Jack Russell ‘Eddie’ – work in progress

This week I am working on a new dog portrait. It is of a Jack Russell called ‘Eddie’. The canvas is 20 x 30 cm in size and I am working with acrylics as usual. I have been taking photographs of the canvas as I am progressing, from the initial sketch to the completed first stage of the painting. I will be starting detailing tomorrow, concentrating mainly on the head, chest and front paws. The background is more-less finished now. I will return to it when finalising the painting. The portrait will be finished in a few days and I will post the scan then. I hope you like the progress so far.

Chocolate Labrador Painting WIP

chocolate labrador portrait work in progress

I have been working away on this portrait over the past week. It is almost finished, but I just wanted to post the first photo I took of the sketch. I am really loving working on this portrait. Well, besides the fact that I have my own chocolate lab, I just love the reference photo. Bobby looks so majestic here, and I want to capture this in the painting. The background I am using is from another reference photo the client provided me with, and it is a field where Bobby’s is often walked. The painting is 30 x 40 cm in size and I am hoping to finish it tomorrow.

Horses Painting in Progress

I am working on a new painting of three horses in a field. I have taken some pictures of the progress. I have completed the first sketch and started applying some colour washes to the painting. The painting is 30 x 30 cm in size.