I had the honor of being commissioned to paint a series of pet portraits of a friend’s beloved doggos as a surprise Christmas gift for his wife. Although they are meant to be displayed together, I wanted each painting to be able to stand alone, and included elements that highlight each dog’s personality.
I was originally approached to paint a memorial portrait of their first dog, Stubby, who passed away. Stubby was one of Science’s early pup-hood playmates, although it was mostly Science doing most of the playing. Stubby loved the beach, and the reference photo used for this painting was from her last beach visit before she passed away.
The original reference photo had Flapjack in a Christmas sweater, but I wanted to make the painting season-neutral, so I put him in a chef’s outfit before a stack of his namesake. I wanted to somehow visually connect the paintings, so I extended out the wave element from Stubby’s painting. The star-in-circle motif is taken from Flapjack’s favorite ball.
Schnitzel, also a beach-loving doge, does this cute little paddle with his front paws when he wants attention, so I went the mer-dog route in his painting.
Mora’s name derives from the Spanish word for blackberry/mulberry, so I incorporated wild blackberries into her painting. She’s a chewer and favors antlers, and her favorite toy is a stuffed reindeer. She was definitely the most challenging of the four to capture! Although no lines connect directly to other paintings, I related the red/white color scheme to Flapjack. Flapjack’s flapjacks are also garnished with blackberries.