Good things, small packages.

Marketing challenges

Good things come in small packages or so they say.  Sometimes those good things are trembles; a staccato succession of nervous, high-pitched barks; frenetic scampering; and utterly adorable cuteness. The cuteness! My God, I don’t care an iota about the bad PR they have because, people, I have held a warm, little, sweet, 4-pound chihuahua in my hands and it licked my thumb. The tongue was the size of a dime. I would’ve swooned but I feared for the dog’s safety.

To know is to love

Few small dogs hold a place in my heart like a chihuahua. I adore them. How could you not be smitten by the smallest dogs on earth? Yet, when you say “chihuahua” you will get a wide range of options covering the full spectrum of love to hate. For myself, the chihuahua defines irresistible. I see a chihuahua and I want to touch it.

Hands down

When I first decided to paint a dog portrait, there was no contest—that painting would be a chihuahua portrait. They completely capture so much as a breed all in one tidy little package—huge personality, sprightly energy, springy movement, and an abiding, deep devotion to their people. I picked my reference photos and set to work on my beloved chihuahua.

After my initial washes of tonal color to sketch in proportion and scale, I quickly mapped in the eyes and sent it to a friend to simply announce, it’s begun! I was shocked to hear back, “I love it!” Love it? Wait, wait, I’m not done yet! That’s just the start, only the beginning.

Chihuahua pet portrait.

The first layer in painting this portrait.


It’s a complicated relationship

But he persisted, no, the color and the abstract quality, I love it. This totally changed my course. I was planning on a tight, formal approach to painting this dog and I’m so glad I didn’t continue on that path. I most enjoy painting with a representational goal but with the rich, impressionist brush strokes and color blends left on the canvas. I feel it celebrates, well, the paint. That is what it is after all, paint on a canvas.To capture the subject yet keep the truth, let’s say, of the medium and perhaps add some feeling or nuance with the use of color is the complicated mix I always want to achieve. It’s a complicated thing, like a chihuahua.


If you would like a portrait of your favorite pooch (or other pet), please contact me. I’m happy to do a variety of sizes and can work remotely using your photographs.