Tommy, the Shih Tzu, waits expectantly…


(Tommy the Shih Tzu was published in May 2020.  The client then ordered another portrait of her Beagle, Daisy.  I was recently contacted again to paint George, a very distinguished, Frenchie. I am honoured to be entrusted once more with painting a portrait of a loved family pet.)

Shihtzu portrait by Louise's ARTiculations
Tommy is finished and ready to be picked up.

How can anyone resist giving Tommy, the Shih Tzu, a morcel of his favourite treat?

After closely examining all the details of a pet while I paint, I feel that I know this little guy’s personality.

As he is close to my Maltese, Sophie’s age, I am almost certain he loves his naps in a warm patch of sunshine.

But I will let Tommy’s mom describe him…

Tommy is a 12 year old Shih Tzu. I remember very clearly when we brought him home. Felt like it was yesterday. He was a very special gift for our daughter's 17th birthday. She picked him out of the litter.


He's super affectionate and so clever. Loves his daily walks stopping constantly to explore. One very strange quirk on his walks he WILL NOT go anywhere near a storm drain!! Strangest thing, he'll detour around no matter what.

He loves his treats and cheese. If he hears that fridge door opening he's right there. He loves giving kisses and high fives .. and if we try hard we can get him to say 'momma'.

Details of Tommy, the Shih Tzu, pet portrait.

The client contacted me in December 2019 to paint her little guy.

Unfortunately, I was swamped with Christmas orders and I suggested she add her name to my waiting list. In March, I was delighted to know that she still wanted me to paint her sweet boy.

She sent me colour samples for the desired taupe background. Taupe is one of those colours subject to interpretation. It is that undefined greige colour...i.e. is it beige or is it grey?

So I mixed Golden paint Primary Magenta, Primary Yellow, and Primary Cyan and gradually added Titanium White until I had several different piles of taupe-ish acrylic paint in my wet palette. Then, I swatched in my notebook until the mixture was light enough to resemble one of the samples in the top row of the colour card.

However, as the portrait progressed, it became obvious that Tommy was blending in too much with the background. I felt a bolder background was needed.

In Procreate (on the left below), I experiment with colours to help the client see options for the background.

Comparison photos as portrait progresses.

Once the background colour was chosen, I continue with Tommy’s finer details. All the colours in the fur were mixed from the same three primary colours I used to create the taupe. I added white for particularly bright spots.

Tommy's custom pet portrait by Louise's ARTiculations
Tommy, 8 x 10 acrylic on gallery wrapped canvas.


Finally, I sent the completed photo to the client.

And here is the best part of all…her reaction! Once again, I let the client speak…

I showed my daughter the portrait of him yesterday. She was over for dinner and I just couldn't wait.  She burst into tears. Caught me totally off guard. She is over the moon happy which really made my day.


Surprisingly (to me), my clients often react that way when they first see their pet portrait! I am so happy to capture the pet's characteristics on canvas, but most importantly, that the client is pleased.

Visit my Custom Pet Portrait page for information such as prices, various types of pet portraits, and to read more testimonials.

Or contact me with any questions. Your questions will arrive in my email inbox and I will be happy to answer them.

Different types of pet portraits.

Maybe you have a special occasion coming up and don't know what to offer as a gift? Pet portraits are always appreciated. See the various possibilities below and on my Custom Pet Portrait page.



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