This gorgeous dog portrait of Kuma, the German Shepherd, was created using professional Windsor and Newton Galleria acrylic paints on a Windsor and Newton quality canvas.

Kuma belongs to an old friend who lives just around the corner who wanted to commission this dog portrait from me.

I took my own photographs of Kuma which was a challenge. He is a huge 65kg dog (a full 15kg more than me!)who loves me and wants to lick my face or sit on my lap. It took a good two hours, a whole bag of treats and being completely covered in fur to finally get some good pictures!! Whoever said being an artist was easy?

I decided to just paint Kumas head and chest, as being such a large dog I really wanted to focus on that lovely soft German Shepherd expression. As his owner so eloquently put it “ Kuma is really fat, a full body dog portrait won’t be flattering”. Charming.

I painted a creamy colour over the whole canvas first of all to kill the bright white. I also took the colour of the customers living room walls into consideration when choosing the colour. I wanted a soft feel to this dog portrait to match his nature.

As with all dog portraiture – in fact, any animal portraiture – the eyes are the most important feature to get right. Bright highlights create a spark of life. I like to ask my customers what sort of personality the animal had, so I can get a feel if it is a quiet or boisterous character. 

I created layers of fur going from the palest creams to the darkest blacks, using large flat brushes to create the initial areas of colour, then fine small brushes to create individual hairs.

I feel I have captured Kumas nature in this dog portrait, something only an expert pet portrait artist could do.