Portraits of animals with irregular and asymmetrical markings are always fun because everything is unexpected as I work. Obviously a Dalmatian’s spots are going to be everywhere, and drawing them is like charting the stars. I love their hound-dog features, the long but deep muzzle, soft flopped ears and liquid brown eyes as well as their muscular physique under their sleek, crisp fur.
Pongo’s person had won a certificate in a shelter auction and was very excited to have a portrait of her ten-year-old Dalmatian, knowing that sometimes their lifespan wasn’t too much longer than that. He was still quite active and in good health so she had and took a number of photos of him. She wanted a fairly simple portrait of her dog, all of him, but just enough background to show him off, no scenes or toys. As do many dogs, Pongo loved the outdoors, and like a good Dalmatian, he was very happy and playful. Initially, we had decided to use the pose in the upper left of the reference photos, below, which both of us really liked, but we also liked his quiet side in the lower right. In the end, the second choice won.
In the end, I used elements from other reference images, using the summer grass from one as well as the reflected highlights from another since the chosen pose was quite dark. I love the pose as well as the simple background, and because of the lighting, late in the day and angled, his white fur reflected both the green of the grass and the blue of the sky from the left and above. As with many others, I didn’t get the detail shots I’d like to have now, but the image below shows more detail of his face and chest.
Honestly, I love color and often add touches of accent colors in highlights and shading, but I don’t think my portrait was quite as intense as this, though the goal was to make a striking portrait, one of the reasons we wanted all the grass; the camera I was using then had a tendency to overdo it a bit…
And how do you draw every blade of grass without drawing every blade of grass? You just make it look like you drew every blade of grass! And I owe it to the dog portraits I’ve painted that I worked that out to a system of strokes, shades and colors worked in layer after layer, blended with fingers and the side of my hand, and worked out with more strokes.
I did finally get to meet Pongo after the portrait was done. I was set up as a vendor at Panhandle Tails for National Trail Day in 2007 and Pongo would be attending along with his people and his canine siblings, so I got to meet the whole family and hand over the portrait. I’m so pleased to have given them a lasting memory of a dog who meant a lot to all of them.
Take a look at other portraits and read other stories
Read articles here on The Creative Cat featuring current and past commissioned portraits.
Read about how I create commissioned portraits.
|Commissioned Cat Portraits||Commissioned Dog Portraits||Portraits of
Visit my website to see portraits of my cats, commissioned cats, commissioned dogs, people and a demonstration of how I put a portrait together from photos.
Download a Brochure
My brochure is an 8.5″ x 11″ two-page full-color PDF that half-folds when it’s all printed out, showing examples of portraits with an explanation of my process and basic costs.
Purchase a Gift Certificate
I offer gift certificates for portraits in any denomination beginning at $125.00, which is the basic cost of a portrait; the recipient is responsible for any amount the portrait costs over $125.00.
The certificate itself is 8.5″ x 11″ and features a collage of portrait images with the recipient’s and giver’s names, printed on parchment cover stock. The whole thing is packaged in a pocket folder and includes a brochure, a letter from me to the recipient and several business cards.The certificate package can be easily mailed or wrapped as a gift and shipped directly to your recipient.
I can also make it downloadable if you’re in a hurry.
Portrait certificates are a minimum of $125.00 because that is the minimum cost of a portrait.
Certificates are good for up to one year after issue.
You can purchase gift certificates here or from my Etsy shop if you are also purchasing other animal-inspired merchandise.
You only need to enter an address if it is different from the address I’ll receive through PayPal. These are often surprise gifts and need to be shipped away from the home address to make sure they are a surprise.
Subscribe to My E-newsletter
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
Read more about the Petties in this post.
All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.