Seamus feature image

Seamus Growls

topdogPet Portraits 2 Comments

“Keep moving, Pal.” This portrait commission was a memorial for a beloved family pet, Seamus. Apparently, Seamus was quite the character and loved going for rides in the car and growling at people who passed by the vehicle – in a “keep moving – nothing to see here” kind of way. This hobby (or habit) was so amusing to the family that one of them commissioned me to memorialize it in a second portrait. The …

Hughes Brothers: Murphy

topdogPet Portraits

A few years after I painted Junior, the next Hughes Brother came along: Murphy. A swell looking fellow, he had lighter coloring than your typical German Shepherd, and I accentuated that in the portrait. I think it’s a fair observation that German Shepherds need proper training to be their best at protecting their pack and accepting non-threatening strangers. In a neighborhood setting, you don’t want a dog that is aggressive towards everyone they see. So …

Detail of Ginger image

Ginger, but not MaryAnne

topdogPet Portraits

I love repeat customers! This portrait is of Ginger, who belonged to the same owners as Bo. In this portrait, I really think I nailed the golden color of her fur. For some reason, I’ve struggled creating blonde and gold fur on these digital paintings. But this was the first where I felt confident all the way through without having to paint over weak areas. I think part of the recipe for success is not …

Bo Feature Image

Happy Bo

topdogPet Portraits

Bo was a singularly happy Bernese Mountain Dog. Well, that’s not entirely correct. Every Berner I’ve known has been, without exception, a super happy camper, so it’s hard to say “this one is the happiest”. And though I never met Bo in person, the photos supplied for this memorial portrait certainly gave the impression of a very happy dog. Possibly it’s the breed, or, more likely, the loving pet parents. Normally, I try to focus …

Hostage Letter


It’s been sixteen days since we were taken hostage. This is my secret note to the outside world. Hopefully someone will read it and spread the word of our plight. Though I have little hope for ourselves at this point, it may help others who find themselves in similar straits. Our captor is sleeping at the moment, and I have to be very careful as I’m typing not to make excessive noise, lest he wake …

Beorn, R.I.P.

topdogRural Living

We said goodbye to our beautiful Beorn on Columbus Day, 2023. The hole in our hearts is massive, but we remember Beorn with great fondness, and are pleased to have loved such a gentle giant.

Big Bernese Mountain Dog Beorn resting on a cushion

Beorn Is Dying

topdogRural Living

We’ve been on a pseudo-vacation for a couple weeks with the dogs (more on that later). When we came home we took Beorn to the vet for some tests, as he’s been having trouble breathing. The tests showed that Beorn has a cancerous tumor in his lung(s). We’re meeting with the vet today to sort things out, including possible treatments. This is sad news. We love Beorn tremendously, as we do all our dogs, and …

Sleeping Arrangements


Our friends looked at us in shock when we told them of our sleeping arrangements. Previously, the only decision regarding sleeping arrangements in our house had to do with who spoons who. That was until we started letting the dogs sleep on the bed with us. After that, there was no spooning. In fact there was no room for any utensils. Frankly, I do miss the forking. We’re accustomed to strange looks when people learn …

Chuy feature image

Charming Chuy

topdogPet Portraits

This is smilin’ Chuy. Like most little dogs, he makes up for a lack of physical stature by means of a massive personality. I love this portrait! Let me tell you why. First off, you can’t look at Smilin’ Chuy without smiling back. I think I captured his happy nature with this portrait. Secondly, in terms of technique, I love the sense of depth I created by carefully placing dark areas next to lighter areas. …