Animals Drawing Oil Painting Painting Sketchbook Pages

Leo Take Two: Same Dog, Revised Painting

After Leo’s people approved the commissioned portrait of him, I realized I wasn’t happy with the background and asked for their permission to adjust it. It’s a good thing they are patient people…

Leo, Dog Portrait, Take Two, oil on panel, 8x10
Leo, Dog Portrait, Take Two, oil on panel, 8×10

After I varnished Leo’s painting and was going to deliver it to the family that commissioned it, I realized I wasn’t satisfied with the background. I asked for and was granted permission to adjust it. It’s a good thing Leo’s people are very patient: I asked for an extra two weeks but then my dog Millie started having epileptic grand mal seizures and my cat Busby got sick and I was spending more of my time nursing animals than painting them.

Finally, after many visits to the emergency vet hospital, my family vet, and a veterinary neurologist (thank goodness for pet insurance) Millie has stabilized on her meds (no seizures in over a week), and Busby has sadly has passed on to Kitty Heaven. He was a beautiful cat and my remaining kitty Fiona misses him, even though he was a bit of a bully, like big brothers can sometimes be.

Back in the studio I explored how to rework the background. What bothered me was the way the it divided the painting in half vertically and how vague it was. With my realistic approach to the dog, it felt like the background needed more detail so I tried to suggest some of the actual greenery in Leo’s Northern California backyard (see photo below) and added some sky to add depth.

Below, copied from the previous post, are the reference photo and the work in progress before I got to the finished painting above.

4 replies on “Leo Take Two: Same Dog, Revised Painting”

I’m so sorry to hear about Millie and Busby. It’s tough to be creative during such a crisis, but you managed to paint a beautiful portrait of Leo. Thanks for showing your process sketches.


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