Dog Memorials: Celebrating A Lost Pet With Art

Dog Ash Remembrance Pet Memorial Painting

Dog Memorials: Paintings that Keep them Close

The only downside to having pets is that they leave us too soon.

Art can be a great way to celebrate life’s greatest companions and keep happy memories close. And the best pet portrait artists are the ones who can work with you to capture what your best friend really looked like.

In the examples below, I worked with clients to make an original painting of their pet that was more than photos could offer. Whether it was adding mementos, fixing the lighting, or creating something completely new from a composite of photos, these pet memorials took something that was already special–the bond between dogs and their owners– and turned it into art.

Dog Memorial Portraits with Special Mementos

Sometimes pets have favourite toys, collars or other objects that would make the memorial a stronger piece. And when composing a painting, it’s really easy to add these in! 

Moose Dog memorial painting

Lots of pets have special collars, but they’re not always showing in your favourite pictures of them. It’s okay if you can’t take a new photo–they can still be added in.

In this case, we didn’t have any photos of Roxy with her collar (or naturally-lit photos) to work from. But this one image had juuuust the expression she made when she was attentive and excited (and just a little bit begging).

We used the “expression” photo as a primary reference, and then her special collar was added in.

Using Many Photos for One Painting

Sometimes you don’t have the perfect photo to work from when making a memorial. That’s ok!

In this portrait, it was important to capture Tag’s quirky sit. But we also wanted to have her facing the viewer. …and of course she needed some feet. The final image made it all come together!

In this example, we wanted to put three pets together in one portrait, however, one of them had passed. So we needed to improvise. I can combine images into one portrait, so if you have a few pets you’d like in one place just get in touch and I can go through the process with you.

These were the best reference photos available. So when painting, I needed to correct for perspective and lighting to make sure it looked like they were in the same space together.

Fixing Colour and Lighting in these Dog Memorials

Lighting is a big deal in getting a portrait right. But I’m often asked if I can adjust it.

While it’s best to work from an image that’s close to what the final portrait should look like, with pet memorials that’s not always possible. Therefore it’s important to choose an artist who can be flexible.

Backlighting is also sometimes a concern, but backlit photos don’t have to turn into backlit paintings!

You can do a lot with lighting and paint to make sure your dog’s memorial portrait comes out looking just right.

Memorials are all about keeping the happy times visible in your home. And I’m here to help make that happen.

If you’re looking for a way to celebrate a past pet of yours or someone you know, you can learn more on my website, Paws By Zann.

To see more Pet Portrait Art, visit the Gallery here. Or subscribe to my newsletter below to see new art weekly(ish).

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Zann Hemphill

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

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