Tag Archives: Step-by-Step

Shiloh Winner

This is the prize-winning photo submitted by Jill C., CEO of the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, for our “More than a Pet, More than a Friend…Family” photo contest. The photo shows Shiloh entertaining some of the children at the House, something he does every day!

Once again, I want to walk you through my step-by-step process of creating a custom oil painting of Shiloh, a four-year-old Golden Retriever. I hope the painting will be as beautiful as the subject, who is not only a handsome fellow on the outside, but a wonderful fur playmate for the children of the Ronald McDonald House.



As I have said before, the photograph is key. I went over to the Ronald McDonald House to meet and photograph Shiloh, and I found out a lot about Shiloh in the process! Shiloh is a service dog, trained to serve as a guide dog for the blind. But his current job is “Chief Cheer Officer” at Ronald McDonald House in Dallas. And he does just that, spreading joy and cheer to the children and their families staying at the house.

Painting Shiloh

Painting Shiloh 2


Initial Drawing

A charcoal drawing is an important aspect of the painting. I must get the drawing right, for the painting, literally based on it, to really capture the personality of the subject. And Shiloh has an amazing personality. When I met him, he walked right over to where I was sitting and laid his head firmly on my arm. Jill told me that was his way of giving a hug! I see why he is “Chief Cheer Officer”.


Full Color Palette

As you can see in this photo of the painting in progress, I have put in the full palette of color. If my charcoal sketch was sound and I have structured the painting properly, it comes together nicely in this step and I think it has here. There’s a lot more to do – adding details like the texture of his coat, details of his face, the official title on his service dog vest, and so on, but I’m about a third of the way through the process.

Painting Shiloh 3

painting Shiloh 4


Stay Tuned for the Completed Portrait!

I can’t wait to share the final portrait of Shiloh with you. As you can see from this photo, he really enjoys being around children, whether doing his job or relaxing at home. I am sure that his final portrait will showcase his great personality and capture the big heart under that golden fur!

I hope you enjoyed seeing the progression of Shiloh’s painting. I will blog here about the completed portrait and show it off. It will also be available in my Gallery.

If you would like a chance to win a contest like Jill and Shiloh did, be sure to sign up for my newsletter. Just click here or click on the graphic below! Once you sign up, you will receive my next newsletter. Also, if you are on Facebook, be sure to LIKE my Facebook page for more announcements about the contests and other fun things!

If you don’t want to wait for the next contest and you have a portrait that you want created just for you, just complete this form. If you have any questions, just contact me via email or call me at (214) 405-1834.

And a big THANK YOU for reading my blog!

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In this photo, you can see my client Russell receiving a Larry Gekiere-Artist Gift Certificate for his birthday. The gift certificate was earmarked for a custom oil painting of his beloved sidekick, PJ. Although Russell has three dogs, the only one who gets to ride shotgun is PJ.

In this post, I am sharing with you the steps to create a custom oil portrait of Russell’s beloved PJ.


Step One:Selecting the Right Photograph

It took us some time to select the pose we wanted for PJ. Russell wanted to have his friend in his usual place, where he sees him on the way to work on the front seat. That was a first for me. However, the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.

So when Russell and I selected the picture, the right pose for his custom oil painting was obviously PJ riding shotgun. I would paint PJ in his usual place in the front seat of the car going to work with Russell.


Step Two: The Drawing

The next step in the pet portrait after selecting the photo is to do the drawing that will form the basis of the painting.

custom-dog-painting-shaggy-wash-gekiere 2

Step Three: Wash

This is the first run-through of the custom painting of PJ. It is a ‘wash’ which defines the dark and the light areas of the final custom painting.


Step Four: Before Detailing

In this step, I am layering color into the painting. I’m not going for detail here, but rather for perspective.


Step Five: Closeup With Detail

In this closeup of PJ, you can see the little details I added to the portrait shown in Step Four.


Final Step: The Finished Painting

And here we have the final custom portrait of PJ – Russell’s sidekick in his usual spot riding shotgun with Russell. Check out his portrait in my Gallery, along with the custom paintings of many other beloved companions.

I hope you enjoyed this walk-through of my process!


Once again, I am walking you through my step-by-step process creating a custom oil painting of Bailey, a six-year-old King Charles Spaniel. I believe that the painting will be as beautiful as the subject matter, and, as you can see in her photo, she’s a beauty. I am posting pictures from start to finish so that you can get a sense of the process and the result.

Initial Drawing

In my initial drawing, I drew Bailey and a part of the chair she was sitting on. This charcoal design will be the basis of the final painting. I thought that Bailey looked very regal sitting on the chair, befitting her breed.

painting Bailey

painting Bailey 2



Here, I have painted what I call a wash. This is a process of putting a very thin coat of oil paint on the canvas. The wash shows me the lights and the darks I will use for contrast. I have decided with this composition that I will paint Bailey on a canvas that is 20 x 20. The square will be good for this pose of Bailey.


Full Color Palette

At this point, I have begun to put in a full palette of color. If I have structured the painting properly, it should come together nicely in this step. The key is having it set up correctly as it is very hard to correct drawing errors at this stage.

painting Bailey 3

painting Bailey 4

I thought you might enjoy seeing a closeup of Bailey’s face at this point. You can see here that detail is missing. The next step will be one with the detail that is lacking here.

Detailed Closeups

These are closeups of the nearly final painting showing you the detail in Bailey’s face.

painting Bailey 5

painting Bailey 6

Nearly Final

This is the almost complete painting. There are just a few more details to add at this point, then Bailey’s portrait will be complete.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the progression of Bailey’s painting. The completed portrait is available in the Gallery.

I thought I would take an opportunity to share with you the step-by-step process that I use, in this case, painting a portrait of a puppy.

First, I want to capture the puppy the way the owner wants to see her. This may be slightly different than the way that I would picture the puppy.

Two Pictures

In this case, Poppy’s owner wanted the puppy picture with the dog looking forward and the tail up. Try as she might, she was unable to get the exact photograph she wanted, so we worked from two different pictures to create a pose that is what she wanted.

Pup 1 1

Painting Poppy Steps

Painting Poppy Steps


The first step is for me to create a drawing that will show the pose and orientation. This is the first pass and forms the basis for the ultimate painting.


At this point, I have a design that will fit the pose desired, I do what is called a wash. This is where I start to introduce oil to the canvas, but without regard to really organizing final color. It is a way to start visualizing the dark and light areas in the picture.

Painting Poppy Steps

Final Painting

As you can see, in the final portrait, the background changed to one of field and sky. I felt that the fence and stones in the original background would not provide the best backdrop. I also lightened up the puppy and added final details.

I hope you enjoyed this look at my process. Please visit my Gallery for a look at other portraits I have created.