Saturday, 30 October 2010

Cocker Spaniel portrait

Cocker Spaniel - Sh Ch Dillonpark Ambrogina - 20" x 16" watercolour

My apologies for lack of posts recently but back to normal now.  Unfortunately I can't show you some completed paintings as they are gifts and I wouldn't be very popular if I spoiled the surprise! 

However, here is a painting I can show you; the cocker spaniel - or as my American friends would call her - English cocker spaniel - Show Champion Dillonpark Ambrogina. I will have to check with her owner when I next speak to him but I believe I am right in saying she is the all time top-winning black cocker spaniel bitch in the UK and as you can see is a very beautiful girl.

I did manage to take one work in progress photo. I have done a lot of work on her eyes even at this stage as I always find it helps to build a relationship with the subject. (I think maybe it's a good thing that artists have a reputation as being a little 'odd'!!)

The ears show the first layers of paint which just mark out areas of shade and start to build form and there is no attempt at detail. However, you can see I have been putting in the coat and much more detail in her head, although this too is at a very early stage. 

If you have any questions or would like to commission a painting of your pet, please email me at or you can click on the Commissioning a Painting tab above.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Looking To The Light (Dalmatian painting)

Looking To The Light - 7" x 5" oil on hardboard/masonite


Here is the finished portrait of little Sydney who I wrote about a couple of posts ago. I feel a bit tearful now she is finished and in a way am reluctant to stop working on her. I suppose that maybe it is the close relationship an artist feels with her/his subject which is the reason for this - I feel now I am letting her go.

On a practical note, I hope you can see the amount of work which has been put into her eye since the WIP - I sometimes think I spend as much time on eyes as on the rest of a painting! To those who wonder how such a small area can take such a long time, I can only say that I keep altering the expression until I feel it fits the dog. As I explained in the Charleigh Bear Boxer portrait, this means that it will not always be the same as in the reference photograph, or even if the same, some parts will be exaggerated and others played down. I would also point out to would-be dog portrait artists, that you should take note of the eye shape - it is so important and so frequently got wrong and remember not all dogs of the same breed will have identical eye shape. After all, breed standards, which are blueprints as to the ideal of a particular breed of dog, are very open to interpretation and of course mongrels or mixed breed dogs will have a huge variety of eye shapes.

Sydney was rescued by Dalmatian Rescue of Southwest Virginia 

My thanks once again to Diana Morgan Crush in whose home Sydney was loved and who took the reference photograph.

If you would like to contact me please email me at

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Spencer's Birthday

Late last year I painted a portrait of Spencer the English Setter. On Monday Spencer celebrated his 13th birthday and his mum sent me a photo of him at his party. You can see him here, looking so sweet you just want to hug him, with friends chosen because they would leave all the cake for him! What a lucky boy and a lovely photo which brings a smile to my face every time I look at it. 

Happy belated birthday Spencer!