Pet Portraits begin with the eyes

Adelaide’s unfinished watercolor portrait

With all the preparation for ARTrails I got a bit behind on commissions. It was wonderful to launch into this portrait of Adelaide, the wonder dog. She came with her owner for a photo shoot a few weeks ago. Here she is with her exotic Australian Shepherd eyes.

The portrait process starts with a careful, accurate drawing and a blocking out of values. Early on I establish the eyes, nose and mouth so that I can begin to see the soul of the animal emerging. Lots of layers of transparent watercolor get built up until rich color and depth are reached. Then the final details of some fur and whiskers are added. Can you picture the finished Adelaide above? I’ll share it when I get that far.

If you want to see more pet portraits you can visit my Favorite Pet Portraits website.


  1. This will make a fantastic portrait Susan!
    I wished I would be able to work like you, I mean i never had the patience to make such kind of watercolour paintings, with lots of transparent layers.A pity because I love that style!
    Half done is Adelhaid already so alive, bravo!


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