Cocoa: Dog Portrait, oil on panel, 8x8"

Cocoa: Dog Portrait, oil on panel, 8×8″

When I was given the photo of Cocoa to paint from, I pointed out that her face was covered with mud or sand. I was asked if I could paint her without the dirt. I laughed, since I’d just finished a commissioned watercolor from a photo of an industrial building that was partially hidden by cars, which they requested I remove in the painting. Since I pulled off that bit of x-ray vision (not really—I visited the facility to see what was hidden), I thought I might be able to paint a clean dog from a dirty one.

My favorite part to paint was her nose. I referred to the second photo below to see her fur color sans mud.

Cocoa in her sandy face photo

Cocoa in her muddy-face photo

Cocoa minus the mud

Clean Cocoa

The person who commissioned the painting as a gift for Cocoa’s owner said the painting looks just like Cocoa and she was sure her owner would love the painting. (I hope so!)

Cocoa Preliminary Sketch 2

Cocoa Preliminary Sketch 2

Cocoa Preliminary Sketch 1

Cocoa Preliminary Sketch 1

Above are the preliminary sketches I did loosely, just playing around, trying to get to know Cocoa. I love dogs and I love painting dogs!

Animals, Oil Painting
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Join the conversation! 13 Comments

  1. I LOVE this painting Jana! Sweet sweet Cocoa– nice “clean” painting!

    • Thanks Judy, I appreciate the word clean”–not sure if I’m interpreting it correctly but I think you mean that I kept it simple and stopped before it got overworked? If so, I’m happy! Jana

  2. Oh, Jana..Too wonderful. What a sweetie. You have captured it all.

  3. Beautiful work. I love the eyes although I have to admit it’s the nose that give him the nobility.

  4. Jana, Great work, and the spirit we all can feel from it! Looks like the dog was yours :-)

  5. You have done a wonderful painting of Cocoa, minus mud!

  6. Cocoa is just gorgeous. I would love to pet her head and belly and give her dog treats. What a beauty. You did her justice.

    • Thanks Carol. Me too! I can’t go for a walk without stopping every dog/owner along the walk so I can pet their dog. Definitely have a serious case of dog envy thanks to two cats that probably wouldn’t tolerate another pet in the family. Jana

  7. At first glance, I thought your painting was a photo! (In my little world, that’s a compliment)

    Does it really help to do the sketches first? I’ve never bothered with that on portraiture, only on buildings when trying to decide the view.

    And don’t you just love it when people expect you to know what isn’t visible in a photo? That either makes me laugh or makes me scream, depending on whether I have access to the missing information!

  8. It’s wonderful! Such talent!

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