This is the latest dog portrait I worked on this summer. It is of two gorgeous schnauzers standing on a hill. Balhu is the black one and Albus is the white one. I just loved the reference photo, the setting works so well. The dogs were back lit and quite dark so I used some other photos I received from the client to detail their true fur colour. The painting is 25 x 20 cm in size painted with acrylics on stretched canvas. The small size really lent itself to this portrait I think.

Two schnauzers in acrylic, 25 x 20 cm

The painting was commissioned as a present for the client’s wife of their own dogs. They are both so gorgeous, it was a pleasure to paint them. I wanted the painting to feel warm so I used a combination of earth colours, umbers and ochres, together with warm ultramarine. For the greens I used a combination of ultramarine, yellow ochre, cadmium yellow and cadmium lemon for the cooler highlights. The client was really happy with the result:

Hi Ivana, I hope this email finds you well this morning. That is just amazing! Thank you so much, she’s going to love it (if I don’t steal it for myself!). Just blown away. Delighted and can’t wait to see it in person…

Dear Ivana, I’ve just come home to find your portrait. It is just stunning. Wow! Thank you so much and we’ll certainly be recommending you to others. Absolutely delighted with it. Best wishes

Conor, Galway, Ireland
art materials used for a painting
The finished painting with acrylic paints and brushes

For acrylic portraits I use artist quality paints by Winsor & Newton and Old Holland. The Old Holland Venetian Red is beautifully opaque and mixes very well. From Winsor & Newton, I like to use either Artist’s Acrylic or their Galeria range. For brushes, I usually reach for Richard Oliver made synthetic brushes. They are very reasonable, so I can change my brushes often. For support I use fine grain stretched canvas made in Italy by Belle Arti.

The finished painting on a shelf in my studio

I took some photos of the painting progress, starting with the sketch through to detailing the dogs’ fur.

  • Client photo
  • Initial sketch
  • Colour blocking
  • Detailing Albus
  • Detailing Balhu
  • Detail of initials