Commission painting from a photo: how to get a pet portrait you really want?

Why we commission portraits and art at all?

Throughout history, it has been common for rulers and governments to commission public art as a means of demonstrating power and wealth, or even for specific propaganda purposes. We collect art because firstly, it moves us, and we have an emotional connection to the subject. Secondly, we buy art because we want to make a statement in our space. Thirdly, we commission portraits because we love someone. Or fourthly, we commission art because we want to create an heirloom painting that will be cherished for many generations. And last but not least, we buy art because it is relevant to our life. Likewise, people commission portraits of their animals because they want to tell others how much they love their pets, and they just want to celebrate them in their lives.

The one-two-three of a commission painting from a photo. Let’s get to it!

Commissioning art is a beautiful adventure and a great investment. It is also easy to do once you know how to go about it.


There’s no better way to capture your dog or cat’s personality than a custom portrait of them in a suit, uniform or historical attire. The client and I work together on making the whimsical costume match the character of the pet. Such portraits celebrate a wonderful gift that animal adds to your life. You have the option to provide the costume/uniform and background in the painting or we can figure out what would work best for your interior. And yes, it does not have to be a pet portrait, especially if you have an idea of a portrait for yourself or somebody you want to impress.

commission a painting from photo, Mona Lisa dog portrait in costume custom made

With this painting of Mona Lisa the dog it was an easy choice, we went by the book. Mona even likes to lay down with her paws crossed, so it went seamlessly. I also studied the issue of old yellow varnish and after a conversation with the client, we went with how a painting would look without the yellow varnish. If you want this yellow vintage look, of course I will make it happen. More than that, your painting can have even crackle finish to imitate the ages old painting.

if mona lisa did not have old yellow varnish



Oils and acrylics look almost the same in a finished work, oils being slightly more vibrant, but modern day acrylic paint producers offer a vast choice of brilliant lightfast colors. Under varnish a painting in acrylics is almost indistinguishable from one in oils. So when it comes to paint, I prefer acrylics due to its quick drying time, because I work in multiple layers and use glazes. With oils this process takes up a lot more time.

Painting surfaces:

You can choose between canvas, canvas boards, canvas panels, canvas paper, watercolor paper, hardboard panels, wooden boards of all sorts and metal surfaces. I can paint on anything, if it is relatively flat. When it comes to surfaces, I know how to prepare each type of surface for acrylics or oils and get a good result in the end. Canvas, being most popular and universally accepted, is my choice number one. But let it not limit your designer imagination, we can discuss what painting surface your interior would be most enriched by.

Leo Caesar has a majestic appearance combined with bubbly personality.


Painting usually takes about 2-3 weeks but may take longer depending on the complexity of the portrait (number of subjects, background, changes requested, etc.). If you want an estimate of the time required or if you have a deadline before which you need to have the painting, please indicate it in the query. I’ll send you a photo of the painting when it’s finished so you can check it and approve it. Only when you are satisfied will I ship the painting.


Item is shipped once I receive the second part of the payment. We use USPS expedited shipping which takes about 5 business days and has a tracking number.


Are you purchasing your portrait as a gift? Yes, you can order a portrait same way as everyone else. However, are you wondering what to do if you don’t have the photos you need? Or, even worse, you are late for that special occasion!? Don’t worry! I have the perfect solution for you, my special and unique Gift Certificate package. You only pay the amount you would like to give, the package along with shipping is free.


dog portrait in a historic costume lady victorian dress and roses
The client made some changes to the reference costume and was very happy with the result.



Leave a comment or find me on social media, if you have any questions about paintings, canvases, painting supplies, and art in general. I’m not selling anything, so my advice will not be affected by affiliation to any brand or store. In this post you can get a few ideas of how to improve your painting and start making quick progress. And if there is any additional information you need, I’d be happy to share, just let me know.

And, as one of the coolest painters said: “All you need to paint is a few tools, a little instruction, and a vision in your mind.”
Bob Ross