Stella the Havanese Portrait Begins

The first stage of a custom pet portrait of a Havanese by Hope LaneI was asked to create a small custom pet portrait of Stella, a darling Havanese as a gift. Stella, I was told “had put the light back into” her human’s life after something sad had happened. This commission had special meaning to me because I had lost my own Havanese a few months before–and he looked quite a lot like Stella.

The painting was to be an 8″ x 8″ in acrylic. This photo shows the first rough paint layer which came together easily, and already has quite the look of Stella. To me, no two pets look quite alike–even if they are of similar breeds. I try hard to catch whatever characteristic makes each animal look distinct.

When a breed has many different colors or markings like havies do, the differences between dogs are fairly easy to see. But I also often do black or yellow labs, and I’ve found that although their coloring is pretty consistent, they still do have all kinds of differences–from the shape of their skulls to their eyelids to the folds under their jowls.

I hope every one of my paintings will capture each pet’s unique qualities, not just be a nice painting of the type of animal it is.