Whiskey, Portrait of Mini Aussie, oil on Gessobord panel, 8x10 inches

Whiskey, Portrait of Mini Aussie, oil on Gessobord panel, 8×10 inches

I had so much fun painting Whiskey, a Miniature Australian Shepherd, for her owner Diane. I started with a rough sketch (below) on vellum tracing paper (erases easily and is strong) and that’s when I discovered the heart-shaped spot above her nose. I’m not sure if it’s just a reflection or an actual marking in her fur but it was one of those joyful discoveries that happen when you look closely at things.

Preliminary sketch of Whiskey, graphite on vellum tracing paper, 8x10 inches

Preliminary sketch of Whiskey, graphite on vellum tracing paper, 8×10 inches

After sketching her, I printed out an 8×10″ copy of the photo and traced it onto the Gessobord using a sheet of graphite Saral Transfer Paper between the photo and the panel. Ideally I would work on a drawing until it perfectly matched the photo and then transfer the drawing to the panel, but on commissions I need to work a little more quickly than my imperfect drawing skills allow.

Below are 1) my painting and my reference photos, 2) cropped and 3) original. Isn’t she incredibly adorable!

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Category:
Animals, Oil Painting, Painting
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Join the conversation! 32 Comments

  1. Bravo! Beautiful and such soulful eyes.

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  2. Jana!!! I absolutely love it!! You captured her so well!

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  3. Wow! How beautiful! Good job! Blanket and fling are mini aussies

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  4. Awww, Jana…. what a sweetie. Lovely job.

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  5. Beautiful portrait!

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  6. Wow, a beautiful dog and even more amazing painting. I’m awed by this. Showed Hub, he said it looks just like a photo. Wonderful work!

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    • Thanks! Funny he should say that! When I had the photo print out and the painting side by side I could barely tell them apart myself….from a distance. Close up of course it’s easy because I really wasn’t trying to be photorealistic.

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  7. WOW! You nailed this one!!

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  8. That is a fantastic portrait of that darling pooch. So incredibly realistic I could hardly believe it. Great work!

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  9. beautifully done! couldn’t tell which one was the photo or the painting, so you definitely captured the portrait.

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  10. Very nice… good replica & very talented.

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  11. Excellent! Couldn’t tell photo and painting apart. Your client must be so pleased!!

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  12. Jana! That is a serious painting! And seriously beautiful… The textures are wonderful and there’s an overall glow that I love! Lucky recipient!

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    • Thanks Laura, and ironically, what made this “serious” painting work, I think, was to paint it unseriously, taking a playful attitude…the kind that dogs are so good at and can teach us serious humans–to see everything as an exciting adventure!

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  13. You did it! You totally nailed it! I’d love to know how you get such a realistic feel for her hair! Looks like I could reach out and rub those ears!

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    • Thanks Carol. I just look for and paint patches/shapes of color and value and then add a few strokes with a small brush or with a scruffy brush that’s kind of splayed to indicate the direction the fur is going (if that makes any sense).

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  14. Jana your work is incredible – I thought the beautiful portrait was a photograph. Wonderful depth to the dogs eyes and gorgeous fur!

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  15. Jana, this painting is marvelous. I can see how your preliminary sketch helped to block out shapes and structure your painting. Your share is well timed for me as I am about to embark on a Portrait Painting journey of self teaching culminating in a workshop in June with Christopher Zhang. Uncharted territory for me!

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    • Oh how exciting Marian! Sounds like we’re on a similar journey. I intended this year to be all about portraits (of people) but got sidetracked with dogs. Although the structure is different, it’s a similar challenge. It’s amazing how we all have the same features—eyes nose mouth, etc. but slight changes in shape, size and spacing between them make all the difference between it being a face and it being THAT face!

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  16. Hi Jana- I’ve been meaning to write and tell you what a wonderful portrait this is! It looks like a photo. Very well done! Catherine

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