Great Dane Paintings in Oil — by Zann Hemphill

Handmade pet memorial with ashes dog

What draws you to Great Danes?

Great Danes are a favourite subject of mine because they’re just such striking dogs. Capturing all that mass on canvas… sometimes it really does feel like I’m painting a horse!

And not only that, but their short, sleek coats mean I can see bone and musculature more easily than with a fluffier subject. While this makes them more challenging to get “right”, there’s also more beauty and power to capture.

Chaka and Buddy, two big friends

Zann Hemphill Pet Portrait Painting Artist

It’s really satisfying to paint big dogs on big canvases. So naturally I was delighted when an order for two 30″ x 40″ Great Danes came in! These are actually part of a complete series of three paintings, with the last being a chocolate lab who fits in just fine with her large friends.

Glossy black fur is wonderful for drawing your eye across the contours of a dog’s face. If you’re interested in learning how to paint black fur, I’ve got a black fur demo video here, which features this exact painting.

Great Dane Dog Art Memorial in Oil

Dolly the Dane, Fine Art in Oil

This dramatic piece captures a Harlequin Dane named Dolly, who is exhibiting her breed’s classic mistrust of all things water.

Behind her, a swelling storm blots out the bright afternoon light. Warm sand still reflects off Dolly’s chest as she prances in consideration.

Goofy, a Great Dane Memorial Painting

This beautiful boy, another Harlequin Dane, was one I painted for a client as an ash memorial. When I paint ash memorials of dogs, my clients mail me their pet’s ashes to incorporate into the painting itself. That’s why you see so much texture on the canvas!

Great Dane Painting: Classic Portrait Style

Technically Figo here is a mix, but you can clearly see the massive angular head and gentle, soulful eyes that are so characteristic of Danes. This portrait was an early piece for me, from 2017. It’s on a small 8″ x 8″ canvas, but I think Figo’s big heart shines out.

Great Dane Painting Portrait in Oil

Monochrome Painting of a Great Dane

Dexter is another mix, but with strong Dane characteristics. I painted him here mostly in monochrome. Washy oils on a neutral background make his bright, intense eyes stand out even more as the only colour in the piece.

Canadian Dog Portrait Artist Great Dane Art

Great Dane Abstract Art

Lastly, I wanted to share a small abstract piece. Before or after painting, I sometimes like doing these abstract dogs to warm up or wind down. This one came out as a recently alerted dog just in the process of perking up. Is that my people coming home? Or a stranger?

Since it’s not a commission, this piece is for sale in my gallery of oil originals.

Great Dane Abstract Art
Picture of Zann Hemphill

Zann Hemphill

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

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