All posts by larrygekiereartist

While photographs are a very important part of my job, in producing a hand-painted oil portrait of your pet, these kinds of photos MIGHT not be perfect for a painting.
Winner of the “Gone to the Dogs” category =======>
This was the first year of the Comedy Pet Photography Awards , a companion to the hysterical Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards .

(Click on the photos to get a full-sized view!)

pet photographs
pet photographs
Just as the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards are devoted to conservation, the Comedy Pet Photography Awards are devoted to animal welfare and have entry rules about the way the photographs are taken and the breeds allowed (based on the British Kennel Club’s KC3 list).
< =======Winner of the “Pets who look like their owners” category
Winner of the “Larry Gekiere’s Favorite” category=======>
My own category, of course. I call this photo “Romeo and Juliet”. Beautiful composition.
pet photographs
pet photographs
< =======Overall Winner
The pictures are amazing and funny, just the right uplift for the new year!

Here’s hoping that, in 2018, your pets are as happy and healthy as the ones in the competition.


The Challenge

Every year, I enjoy painting more and more. The reason? There are always new challenges and overcoming them can feel like a real accomplishment.

An example is this painting of Dolly and Bella.

Just like about 50% of my work last year, the portrait of these two lovely dogs was to be given as a gift. Gifts can be challenges no matter what, first in getting the best photo without the recipient finding out and then in the timing.

This particular portrait was a gift for my client’s adult daughter. With some planning, I was able to organize a rendezvous to take the photos, and that’s when the fun began.

Originally, I thought the painting was only of one dog, but as it turns out, I was asked to paint two dogs. This is not unusual or challenging of itself, as you know from some of my other paintings, but this particular situation was a bit unique.

challenging pet painting

challenging pet painting


Getting the Pictures

One of the dogs, Bella, was a rescue, and, as it turned out, was afraid of some men. It is difficult to get a good photo of a frightened dog. The other dog, Dolly, who wasn’t feeling well that day, oddly enough was the one who would not stop moving! I did get a shot of both, but it included the client and was too far away. I also tried putting their favorite toys on a blanket to grab a photo of them together, but that didn’t work.

After crawling around on the ground and sneaking about (check out my blog post on how to get good photos of your pet), I managed to get over 100 photos and, finally, two separate pictures of the dogs that might work. Then I had to get them to the correct size and then meld them together in the position the client wanted.


The Most Important Thing

My client had a couple of poses that she thought would typify her daughter’s pets. In addition, she had specific marking on the dogs that she wanted to be shown in the painting. After some drawings and sketches (see one of my posts on the process), she agreed to the planned portrait.

I painted the portrait and delivered it to the client, but I could immediately tell that she was not as excited as my clients normally are when they see the portraits. I asked what was wrong. After some persuading, she admitted that she thought that one of the dogs would be sitting. When I mentioned the drawing that she had approved, she said she was so focused on the positioning of their heads, that she didn’t pay attention to the body positions. We both laughed and I said that I would redo. The most important challenge? Making sure portraits like this are something you love not just something you think is ok.

challenging pet painting

challenging pet painting

I redid the painting with the positional change and delivered it once more. This time my client was happy, but I told her that if her daughter was not thrilled with the gift, I would redo the portrait until she was.

After Christmas, I received my own gift – something I can only hope for in all of my work – an email from my client that said this:

“My daughter cried and was thrilled with her painting of her two beloved friends.”

My deepest gratitude to all of the clients who have trusted me with their treasured memories. I look forward to this next year of “challenges”.

Once again this year, my studio offered the donation of a hand-painted oil painting to be auctioned off at the Crystal Charity Ball. The Crystal Charity Ball is an amazing organization that has been helping children for over 60 years and raised more than $137 million for more than 140 children’s charities.

This year’s very worthy children’s charities benefiting from donations during the Crystal Charity Ball’s annual giving include the Autism Treatment Center, Inc., Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star, Children’s Medical Center Foundation, Dallas Holocaust Museum, Hunger Busters, Presbyterian Communities and Services Foundation, Rainbow Days, Santa Clara of Assisi Catholic Academy, The Crystal Charity Ball Educational Scholarship Project, and The Crystal Charity Ball Endowment Fund.

oil portrait donation

Dallas Holocaust Museum Experience Fund

A good example of the Crystal Charity Ball’s work is the project involving the Dallas Holocaust Museum Experience Fund. The donated funds will be used over three years to fund teach thousands of Title 1 and economically disadvantaged students about the history of the Holocaust, to advance human rights, and to combat prejudice, hatred and indifference. The children will be admitted to the Museum, free of charge, and their teachers will receive necessary curriculum support. A portion of the funds will also establish an endowment, allowing economically disadvantaged students admission to visit the Museum in perpetuity.


Children’s Medical Center Foundation Comprehensive Gait and Mobility Program

Another example of their work is the Children’s Medical Center Foundation Comprehensive Gait and Mobility Program. The donated funds here will be used for the purchase of five pieces of state-of-the-art robotic gait and mobility training equipment: The ErigoPro early mobilization tilt-table, the LokomatPro robotic based partial-weight-bearing treadmill system, the Andago body weight supported mobile robotic gait system, the Natus balance and gait assessment system and the HydroWorx therapy pool. Training for staff and robotic software upgrades are included with the purchase of this equipment.

oil portrait donation

And those are just TWO examples of the many projects undertaken and funded by the Crystal Charity Ball. Amazing work being done by these wonderful folks.

After many years of participating, I was delighted to once again offer up a donation to the Crystal Charity Ball’s extraordinary charitable work. I look forward to finding out who won the bidding on my donated painting and what they will want to be created just for them!

To donate to these worthy projects, just go to the Crystal Charity Ball donation page
for details.

If you would like to order a painting for yourself or as a gift, don’t forget that you can just complete this form. If you have further questions, just contact me via email or call me at (214) 405-1834.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and yours!

A gift certificate from Larry Gekiere – Artist for a one-of-a-kind oil painting makes a thoughtful and unique present for anyone on your list! Someone in your life would certainly treasure a portrait of a beloved pet or a painting of a very special person. You might even have the exact subject in mind for their painting.

A One-of-a-Kind Present

Imagine the look on your friend or loved one’s face when they unwrap such a unique and very personal gift. It shows your understanding of what such a painting would mean to them.

So this holiday season, just click here for the “Order A Painting” form on my website. Simply fill out as much as you can on the form, including the desired painting size, and check off “Gift Certificate” under “Do you need an extra service?” Please include the name of the recipient in the “Your Message” section. Don’t worry about leaving some sections blank.

Gift Certificate

Or, if you prefer, simply call me at (214) 405-1834 to work out the details for your gift certificate.

A Gift That REALLY Keeps On Giving

Custom oil paintings are the kind of gifts that keep right on giving. When your friend or loved one hangs the painting on their wall, they will constantly be reminded of their feelings about the subject and your thoughtfulness. A gift certificate from Larry Gekiere – Artist is the gift that keeps on giving.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and yours!

Pet Portrait Gift
Looking for the perfect gift for a pet lover in your life? A hand-painted oil portrait of their pet would make a thoughtful and unique present for someone on your list.

Imagine the look on your friend or loved one’s face when you present them with such a thoughtful gift. It shows that you really understand how much they love their fur family member and it can be especially thoughtful for the parent of an older pet.

Gift Options

Just click here to order a painting. If you are doing last minute shopping, I also offer gift certificates. Once you submit your order, I will let you know the possible timeframes for completing your gift.

Heartfelt Gifts

Pet portraits are heartfelt gifts that will keep right on giving. When your friend or loved one hangs that portrait on their wall, they will constantly be reminded of their beloved pet and your thoughtfulness.

How It Works

For a great perspective on the steps involved in creating a gift portrait (and in this case, presenting a gift certificate for an original Larry Gekiere Pet Portrait), take a look at my post about creating a painting of PJ, beloved sidekick.

To Order

To order a painting, just complete this form. If you have further questions, just contact me via email or call me at (214) 405-1834.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS to you and yours!

special offer
HOUSTON, TX – AUGUST 27: Naomi Coto carries Simba on her shoulders as they evacuate their home after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on August 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

I was glued to the news, just like you, watching the heartbreaking story of Hurricane Harvey unfold. And like you, I really wanted to do something to help. So I came up with a special offer to assist the SPCA in Houston through the medium of my painting of pet portraits.

Heartbreaking Separations

It struck me that there were so many stories about people who have lost all their possessions. When it came time to evacuate, the one thing that they were most concerned about saving was their pet. People lost their lives going back into harm’s way to save their dog or cat.

I am always truly honored when a pet owner is willing to have me make an original oil painting of their pet. I love pets and always love the reaction I get upon delivering one of my custom oil paintings. It is exciting to have people who cherish their beloved friend tell me I have captured their pet perfectly.

Our pets are not possessions. Yes, legally we are their owner, but in reality they are beloved members of our family. The bond between us and our pet is unbreakable. During Harvey, many people would not evacuate until they were sure that the family pet was safe.

Hoped-for Reunions

But, in spite of all their efforts, there were hundreds of pets separated from their owners. Both owners with missing pets and pets separated from their owners have such a look of anguish on their faces. But those hoped-for reunions, when they happen, are joyous beyond measure. Our pets love us unconditionally, and we return that love.

I wasn’t in Texas during the storm. On the road back home, I saw mobile animal rescue trucks on their way to Houston to help with the difficult task of uniting families – locating lost pets or finding their owners. These no-kill shelter trucks and their crews would soon be there to help.

Special Offer

After some thought about what I could do in addition to giving money to the relief for the disaster, I came up with this special offer. For the next 60 days if you decide to have an oil painting of your pet and place an order, I will give half of the proceeds of my work to the SPCA in the Houston area to help with uniting families. This is a win/win. You will have a great original oil painting of your pet and will help someone get reunited with their loved one.

Just place an order here – Order a Painting, or call me personally at 214-405-1834.

Pet Portraits

Best Friends

Have you heard of the phrase “man’s best friend?” It’s a common phrase referring to domestic dogs as pets who are close to their owners. The phrase dates back to the 1700s when Frederick the Great of Prussia first introduced the idea in reference to one of his Italian Greyhounds.

Dogs, for many people, truly are best friends, as are cats and other pets. They are to be celebrated in many ways, and, as you know, it’s especially hard on a person when they lose their beloved pet.

If you have a pet whom you consider to be “like one of the family,” then you should consider allowing me to paint a portrait of your pet.

Why a Formal Portrait?

Why have a formal portrait done? This piece of art helps capture the spirit of your friend in a way that’s unique and long-lasting. Even when your dog is not around, you can look at the portrait and smile, thinking of fond and happy memories with your faithful companion.

We tend to show off those whom we love to other people, letting them know who or what’s important to us, right? Just like you’d want a family portrait of humans hanging on the wall in your living room for visitors to see, it makes sense to have a pet portrait there, too. Jokingly, some people say they love their pet more than their (human) family!

Why a Painting?

While photographs are nice, they can fade over time or even disintegrate. An oil painting, though, has a more permanent feel — it can last generations. There’s something timeless and exquisite about an oil painting hanging in a room.

As an artist, I take my time using oil paints on canvas, using my hand and a brush rather than a computer. I want to capture the essence of your pet. Previous clients have remarked about the artistic beauty of my renderings of their fur family members.

Our pets are such wonderful and unique creatures. They all have their own individual personalities. Some are shy and quiet, while others are outgoing and energetic. No matter what their temperament, when they bond with their owners, it’s almost magical. Indeed, there seems to be a spiritual, supernatural connection between pets and their owners.

Celebrate YOUR Relationship with YOUR pet

To celebrate this important and worthy connection, let me paint the perfect portrait of your pet. Call 214-405-1834 for more information.


Those of us who paint are always in awe of painters in the past century. They had to work under much tougher conditions. They could not go down to the local art store and buy a canvas pre-stretched. When I decide what size canvas I need, it is a simple trip to the art supply store and I can purchase canvas of any size or type. On the other hand, many of the old masters’ paintings were painted on wooden boards. In addition, frequently the canvases were of varied sizes due to the non-standard hand work of making and stretching canvas.


Recently I visited the Houston Museum of Art where they had a Edgar Degas exhibit. The museum had a large showing of many of his early works. He is well known for painting groups, mostly famously dancers. One of his frequent group subjects was also race horses. degas

While at the exhibit, I learned one of the techniques that he used to save time and add variety. I always thought of these artist as purists. I did not realize that they were always thinking of ways to make a painting better without adding a large amount of time to the process.

Tracing Technique

What Degas did was so simple that I wonder why I did not think of it before. He would use tracing paper and draw a dancer on it and then reverse the paper and trace it. What he would have then is two dancers that did not look alike but were in effect the same. They were being viewed from a different angle. Of course, I cannot do this, as I am never painting duplicates. Each animal I paint has a distinct look and personality that I need to capture. But it is interesting nonetheless!

Now have discovered this, I wonder what other labor-saving techniques were used by the great masters. I feel fairly certain that other painters have used tracing paper to reverse an image for repetition. It will be interesting for me and maybe you to try to look at paintings with repetition of images and see if it is an example of the techniques of using tracing paper.

Kodos Progress

Drama on Canvas

In this blog post, I am sharing with you the step-by-step process as I painted a portrait of Kodos the cat, capturing drama on canvas. The owner and I selected a photograph (on the left above) with a unique pose full of drama that would translate well to canvas. In the middle above is the sketch I made to begin the process. On the right is the wash which defines the areas of dark and light for the final painting.


This photograph and the resulting painting is a perfect example of the artistic device called foreshortening. During the Renaissance in Florence in the 1400’s a new technique of painting called foreshortening was first used to present dramatic perspective. Up to this time painters were not concerned with realism in art. Painting did not have the depth that we have now grown accustomed to.

As a pet portrait painter I am constantly using techniques to represent three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface in a way that looks natural and realistic. Foreshortening occurs when an object appears compressed when seen from a particular viewpoint. The effect of this perspective causes distortion. Foreshortening is a particularly effective artistic device used to give the impression of three-dimensional volume and create drama in a painting.

Final Portrait

What do you think of the final portrait of Kodos?

Kodos Final

Doing a pet portrait is more than a creative outlet for me. I would like to tell you three recent stories that touched my heart.

love oil portraits

First Story: A Beautiful Memory

A lady called and told me that she had a wonderful pet that was sick with cancer. Her beloved pet’s face had a big tumor. She wondered if I could paint a portrait that would show her dog the way she was before she fell ill. She wanted a beautiful memory.

We met in a park and I took many pictures of her dog in this natural setting to capture her spirit. When I delivered the painting, she was very pleased and said it looked just like her pet at her best. She sent me a picture of the painting on her wall with the dog lying below the painting. She and I were so pleased that we had created a lasting memory.


Second Story: The Best Picture

The second story is about a daughter who wanted to give her dad an oil painting of his best buddy for his birthday. I gave her a gift certificate to present to her dad. Shortly after that, I spoke to her father and he sent me four photos of his buddy. I emailed him that I thought the one on the couch was best. I thought the one of the dog in his car was not the one to use. He responded that he liked the one in the car best, but he would agree with my judgment. I decided we should talk on the phone about the painting. During the discussion, I discovered the dog went everywhere with him. He always rode shotgun in the truck. After the discussion, I agreed that we should paint the dog in the car setting because the two buddies went everywhere together.

I delivered the painting and the owner was pleased. We have discussed other dogs that he might want me to paint. I hope someday I’ll have the opportunity since I have learned a lot. The best picture to paint is not always the one that is potentially the most artistic. Portraits of dogs and cats are memory makers.

love oil portraits
love oil portraits


Third Story: The Rest of the Story

A client asked me to paint a pet portrait of a pet that was getting up in age. The man knew his wife would love to have a portrait. I asked him to take several pictures in secret because he wanted to surprise his wife.

The next week he said that he was not going to have the painting done as his wife had seen him taking the pictures and he had to confess why. She said that it would cost too much and not to do it. I said fine, but if you think it is something that she would like why not surprise her. I offered him his money back if by chance she really didn’t want it. The long and the short of it – she loved it and called me to help place it in the best place in her home.

As Paul Harvey would say –  “here’s the rest of the story”. I got a call at home one Saturday night, months later, telling me that they were sitting with a glass of wine looking at the picture. They had wanted to call to tell me how happy they were to have this oil painting in their home. Their loyal friend had died that day.


The Reward

What I hope you get from these three stories is that for me the reward of the painting is the knowledge that I have helped to create a lasting memory.
Do YOU have a memory in the making?