Pet Portrait Techniques to Loosen Up.

Towards the end of last year, I started painting on flat oval ornaments and discovered that I preferred that substrate to the birch slices I have been using. The recent portraits are less detailed, more whimsical, and include lots of Golden Iridescent Copper Fine paint.  There is no skimping on these ornaments as I am still using the best quality paints along with some sparkle here and there for interest.

Here is a small sample of flat oval ornaments on which I have painted a few pets including my Rosie.


These were the last wood slice ornaments I painted in 2022.


Four feline friends painted by Louise Primeau, Ottawa pet portrait artist.
Four feline friends.


Of course, I will still offer the wood slices as they are a more traditional ornament and many people like them.

New series in the works.


Pug in a Sweater by Louise's ARTiculations, Ottawa pet portrait artist.
Pug in a Sweater based on a photo sent to me by my daughter-in-law of her Pug, Frankie.


During the last month, I have been learning a new technique for larger portraits such as the ones on gallery wrapped canvas or on 9 x 12 inch watercolour paper. Even though I am painting on paper, I only use the best artist quality acrylic paint, that is, Golden Fluid or Heavy Body paints.

With this technique, I mix paints and keep my palette limited to a few colours. I really like this broad strokes style moving forward. In these two studies, you can see some colours are repeated from one portrait to the other.

The portraits give a general impression of the animal without getting too bogged down into the details which is an obsession of mine. I also really love painting pets on watercolour paper and then adding them to the acid free backing board and framing them with the white mattes. They are protected by an acid free sleeve. I ordered custom sets  from the USA and they were well worth the cost. Unfortunately, no Canadian company supplies the same type of sets and I do think I contacted all of them.

In January, I joined the Fresh Paint group to learn to use a limited palette. The same techniques can be applied to other reds, blues, yellows which is something I want to try very soon.

However, for these portraits, I use Hansa Opaque Yellow, Phthalo Green (blue) and Phthalo Blue (green), Alizarin Crimson, Quinacridone Magenta, Payne’s Grey, Titanium White, and Pyrrole Red Light, all by Golden. The reference photos are copyright free and are from unsplash.

Commission work in January.

You may have seen the veteran that I am painting using pointillism method. I was contacted to paint a Canadian Women’s Army Corps (CWAC) veteran toward the end of last year. She is nearly complete and I will publish her soon.

WIP - CWAC pointillism on a recent commission by Louise Primeau.
WIP dot art. CWAC reference photo used with permission.


So the first month of 2023 has been a busy one.  How about you?




6 Responses

  • Hi Louise, I am interested to see your new process, I have a photo of my sisters dog that I reproduced in two colours which I plan to paint, am hoping I can do as good a job as you. Hope your February is as productive as January. ?

  • Dear Louise, as always I admired your pet portraits. You do such a great job!!!! Furthermore I like the technique of pointillism method. At an exhibition in a museum I saw landscape paintings worked in this method. Simply wonderful!!!! .

    • Thank you Birgit. Pointillism is an exercise in patience…I can’t imagine painting a whole landscape in this method but I could hardly resist when I was asked to paint this beautiful veteran who is now 98 years old. Cheers Birgit! Have a great week.

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