3 Reasons Big Pet Paintings are the Best Thing

pet portrait artist Zann Hemphill

Big Pets and Big Pet Art

Everyone who’s had the pleasure of standing before a big painting that fills your whole field of vision knows the feeling: you can really immerse yourself.

And everyone who remembers meeting a Really Big Dog has had a taste of their peculiar wonder, too.

It means there’s something incredibly present about encountering something the same size (or larger) than yourself.

St. Bernese Saint Bernard Bernese Mountain Dog Mix Puppy 9 months
My Saint Bernard mix, Peaches. Still a puppy at 9 months, and over 100lbs.

This article is for people who love their pets.

Little dog people who want their Peanut to take up the space of a Bowser. Big dog people who have room for big dogs and need big art to fit their home spaces.

But why put the dogs on the walls as large format animal portraits?

Well here are 3 reasons it’s a recipe for delight.

1. Large pet paintings, like large dogs, catch attention

Big Dog Painting Spaniel Oil Art

I’ve never regretted paying more attention to a dog (even because they’re blocking the hall with a huge nap).

A dog’s priorities—food, family, fun, sleep and freedom—are wonderfully healthy things. I’m grateful for the reminders.

And big paintings? They have the same impossible to ignore-ness. They command attention and redirect your focus to the good stuff.

Where some pets can fit themselves into our lives without much fuss, big dogs cannot. Whether it’s finding cupboard space for 50lbs of food, a dog bed that takes up 1/3 of the floor, living with a giant dog is an exercise in making room.

And somehow, that interruptive bigness is exactly the point.

2. Pet art needs to be large enough to not get lost in your living room

chocolate lab custom dog painting large dog art

Here’s something you don’t think about often: walls are one of the biggest things in your house.

An animal painting that looks big in a gallery, surrounded by other work, may look completely different at home!

To get a good idea of how big a pet portrait you’d like best, one great tool is masking tape. Tape out a rectangle on your wall and stand back to take a look. Once you’re happy, measure that and you’ll have a good idea of what you’re looking for.

This article on pet portrait sizing really lays it out in full.

3. Big dog portrait paintings have a ton of room for detail

Big Pet Portrait Art Large Oil Painting of a dog

Lastly, a large canvas gives the artist of the large dog painting lots of room to play with detail, focus, and brushwork. Small canvases can be restrictive, whereas larger artwork can encompass the whole sweep of a gesture, and a full range of brushstrokes from 3″ wide to tiny pen-brushes.

This variety of scale gives the pieces more depth, so you always have something new to discover.

Looking for more pet art?

You can find more of my work in the Pet Art Gallery

For art updates, fresh pet portraits, videos and more, sign up for my occasional newsletter (below).

Or to get your own dog painted on canvas get in touch. I’d love to bring your art vision to life!

Thanks for reading, and see you next time.


Picture of Zann Hemphill

Zann Hemphill

Zann Hemphill is a practising pet portrait artist, writer, and video producer.

All Posts

get News

golden retriever dog memorial
custom cat portrait art
Pet Portrait art of a dog and kitten by Zann Hemphill

Pet Portrait Inquiries

Join my pet painting newsletter!

Get new tutorials, videos, and portraits fresh from the studio. Enjoy :)