This is a portrait of three jack russell dogs called JJ, Arthur and Freddie. I worked on the painting a few weeks ago. The client commissioned it as a birthday present for his father. They are all rescue dogs and very precious to their owner. My client wanted to give something very special to his father for his big birthday and contacted me with a query about a painting of his dogs. He gave me some photographs of the three dogs together on the sofa sitting with their owner. The green blanket was really his leg, which I painted in as a blanket. I also had a lot of individual photographs of each dog which I used for capturing details.

jack russell portrait painting
A Portrait of three dogs, 50 x 60 cm, acrylic on canvas

The painting was large at 50 x 60 cm. I worked with acrylics on a fine grain canvas. I removed some all the details from the background behind the sofa and put in some dark shading. I wanted to keep the background fairly dark so the white of the dogs pops in the portrait.

close up view of the portrait
Freddie the jack russell dog, detail

The client was very happy with the result and emailed me when he saw the photo and when he received the painting:

ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE. It looks amazing.  Thank you so much. I’m really so delighted with it…
Oh my god. I’m totally blown away with it Ivana.  Can’t thank you enough for you unbelievable work. Really looking forward to getting another.

Henry, Kenmare
detailed photo of JJ
Close-up view of JJ

I took photographs as I was working on the painting which you can see below. I couldn’t scan the finished painting as it was so large, so the finished image is a photograph which never does it justice. For the portrait, I started with a sketch using a watery mix of yellow ochre and burnt umber. I find this mix is just perfect for sketching as even if it shows through the final layers of paint, it is warm and adds interest. The second step was to colour block the painting to create a base to work on. I always cover the entire canvas at this stage. These basic colours inform the finished painting. The portrait is then worked on in layers to create depth and add fullness to the main subjects. I work the background in only a few layers of paint to help it recede further. The composition was quite successful, the eye being led across the canvas and the client was happy which is the most important thing of all.