pet memorial of Derry Darbie and Dreamer

A Pet Memorial Portrait of Derry, Darbie and Dreamer

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My latest commission is a pet memorial and portrait of three dogs, Derry, Darbie and Dreamer.

The portrait was commissioned by Jim in Wisconsin after his Irish Setter, Derry, passed away. He sent me several photos of all three dogs, asking for a single portrait of them on a gallery-wrapped canvas.

Here’s the video:

Watch as I create this portrait of a cherished Irish Setter and his buddies

It’s good for me to know if a portrait is intended as a pet memorial. In this case, the other two dogs, Darbie and Dreamer are still (thankfully) very much alive. But knowing that Derry had “crossed the Rainbow Bridge” was helpful to me. Not that I treat a pet portrait commission any differently in such a circumstance, but rather it suggests ways to reflect the passing of a cherished pet in the digital painting itself.

For this pet memorial and portrait combination, I tried to create a warm, golden glow around all three dogs. Doing so suggests the dogs will always be surrounded by warmth and love, wherever they are.

I let my art do the talking

To be honest, I’m very clumsy in person when it comes to expressing condolences on the loss of a pet. I stumble and bumble my words and often end up feeling foolish and inadequate. But in these situations, I’d like to think my artwork speaks the words I am unable to find.

I tend to be anxious about my artwork up and until a customer receives the canvas print of their pet portrait, and particularly in the case of a pet memorial portrait. I wonder (and worry) what their response will be when holding the actual portrait in their hands.

pet memorial of Derry Darbie and Dreamer
Derry, Darbie & Dreamer in their place of honor.

In this case, when he received the canvas print portrait, Jim responded with a photo and the following kind note:

Steve – You captured all three of them. I’m basically in tears. Thanks for the gorgeous work.

Jim in Wisconsin

Whew! That was a relief!

Thanks, Jim! It looks great, and I’m thrilled you love it.

If you’re looking for an uplifting and beautiful pet memorial, consider a pet portrait from PetArtWorks. In fact, I recommend trying my special NO-RISK Pet Portrait which comes with several options. Above all, there’s no obligation on your part. Simply submit a few good photos, let me paint the portrait, and if you love it, you can buy it.

Also, if you like watching me create these portraits, check out these other videos:

Thanks for reading! Finally, here’s an important note for Facebook users:

Attention FACEBOOK Users

The way Facebook curates the posts in your timeline means you might miss a new post or link on my Pet Art Works Facebook page. But if you join my email list, I’ll keep you up to date on new posts, offers and giveaways. And don’t worry: You’ll receive no SPAM – just PetArtWorks news.

Video Demonstration of me painting Beorn

Pet Portrait Video Demo: Beorn

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I get a lot of questions about how I make my pet portraits. This pet portrait video might help explain the process.

When I tell people I create their pet portrait digitally they sometimes think I plug-in a photo and the computer takes over. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

In reality, I approach each painting the same way now as I did before I ever used computers. The process is pretty simple:

  • I create a rough but accurate sketch of the subject
  • Create blocked in shapes (usually dark tones)
  • Using large brushes, I work to model the major planes of the pet
  • I work from dark to light
  • I work from large brushes to small brushes

That’s a standard workflow for just about any portrait artist. In addition, that’s how I would work if I didn’t use a computer.

I DO use a computer, however, so to prove to those of you who remain skeptical that I really am painting a dog portrait, here’s a video of me painting my dog, Beorn with a view of my whole screen. The application is my favorite painting program, Corel Painter 2019. It shows the reference photo on the left and the portrait in the large area in the center. You can also see the palette where I keep my favorite brush styles to the right, with a layers palette set below.

The video is compressed down to about two and a half minutes. The painting itself took just over two hours.

Here’s the pet portrait video:

Please feel free to leave comments and/or questions below in the comment section. I’d love to hear what you think.

Video demonstration of me painting “Beorn In Red”

A couple notes:

  • Early on, you can see a grid pattern on the photo and a matching pattern on the “canvas” or working area. This is a technique for transferring proportions and positions from a reference image to a drawing. It’s used by many artists when accuracy is important. For a pet portrait, it’s vital that the subject end up LOOKING like the subject, and a grid pattern helps to accomplish that. Just about half-way through you can see I drop the grid, but in truth, I could have dropped it much sooner. It didn’t occur to me until then as I get wrapped up in the process of painting and forget to turn it off.
  • You can see early on that I dropped a bunch of bright red into the painting but covered it up later. I knew it wouldn’t be so dominant in the final image, but wanted it to peek through in places, which would add visual interest and “sparkle” to the final image. This is a common technique of mine because I’ve found it helps make even typically non-interesting parts of the portrait a bit more striking.
  • You can see me fiddling a little with the hair under Beorn’s chin. In the photo he’s got a bunch of hair from his neck that looks like a little beard. I was trying to include that but eventually realized it wasn’t necessary and in fact wasn’t helpful to an accurate portrayal.

If you’re looking for a pet portrait of your furry buddy, you’ll find several options here at As far as I can tell, I’m the only artist in all of the internet that offers a special NO-RISK Pet Portrait. There is no obligation on your part – simply fill out the form and include several reference photos, and I’ll paint the portrait. Then, if you love it, you can buy it. All the risk is on me.

pet portrait of boris the dog

Dog portrait video demonstration: Boris

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I do my best work in solitude. However, I’m breaking that rule today as I invite you to watch this dog portrait video demonstration of my buddy, Boris.

If you have four minutes, sit back and enjoy this screen-captured and time-compressed video of me digitally painting a dog portrait.

This particular painting took me over two hours, working in Corel Painter 2019. The screen was captured via Snagit, with the video produced using Adobe Premiere Pro CC. The music is “Rain At Last”, created by yours truly in Garageband.

The Missus says I use that particular tune a lot for my videos, so I guess it’s time to make some alternate tunes.

Video demonstration

Here’s the final image:

pet portrait of boris the dog
Boris ponders the eternal question: “Who’s a good boy?”

I do these portraits for me. And I’d love to make one for you, too! You can love your pet forever with a pet portrait from PetArtWorks. Prices start at $99.

PetArtWorks is now live… again.

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I started PetArtWorks early 2018 without a lot of planning. What I did have was an idea that maybe pet portraits and animal artwork could be an interesting diversion from my main work of graphic design and illustration for businesses and organizations.

Because of my basic lack of seriousness about it, I just threw a quick web site together with a few very limited products and sat back and waited for the gravy train to leave the station.

Heh. That was kind of foolish.

This year, I’m taking PetArtWorks seriously.

In that regard, I’ve re-designed the web site. I’ve added more products at a range of prices to hopefully appeal to those looking for a deal and those looking for custom traditional art.

Here are my products (so far):

I’ve made the order forms a bit easier (I think – let me know if you hate them and why).

In short, I’ve decided to give this venture the attention it deserves.

I’m still working on the site. I expect to be creating new products (group pet portraits, human and pet together, special prints for sale, etc.) in the coming months, as well as adding more content to the site, like portrait demos and whatever else interests me.

Like life, it’s a work in progress, and will grow and evolve in time.

Welcome to the new PetArtWorks.