Another finished commission. A bit challenging. The photo reference was not to accurate with the color. Thank goodness for other photo references provided by the client to help determine the proper color.

Nugget 2020
Nugget, 8 x 6 x 3/4 inches oil on canvas by Marlene Lee


Just finished a commission. Was a bit of a challenge especially trying to figure out the background. I started with a cool blue, ultramarine blue. But the blue came across to cold. The pink around her eyes gave me the idea to paint the background a soft blue-green color. Perfect colors.

Maggie 2019
Maggie, oil on canvas panel, 7 x 5 inches by Marlene Lee

Two Dog Portraits, 2020

These are two dogs that I had already done for their owners but in different postures. They will be part of the upcoming International House Exhibit in March.

Tara Profile 8x8x3.4 oils 20200114
Tara’s Profile, 8 x 8 x 3/4 inches, oil on canvas
Gus 8x8x3.4 oils 20200114
Gus, 8 x 8 x 3/4 inches, oil on canvas

2019 Review

This has been an amazing year for pet portraits especially dog oil portraits. I have gotten commissions as far away as Dubai, Germany and Finland as well as local and around the US. It has been a pleasure to work such great clients. Most of the clients contacted me through my Etsy store, PaintingsbyMarlene.

Black Labrador Portrait

My goal this year is to do more portraits in graphite. After spending three years on Sadie Valeri online drawing/painting program, I finally finished up this year.  I wanted to apply the techniques and concepts that I had learned to this drawing.

This portrait of Tara, a black lab, took about six hours to do. I’ve worked from a photo that a client had provided (though I had used a different photo to complete a commission for this client).

In the photo there is lighting coming from the right side but reflective light all around. So there is a slight change from dark to light. Here I did a lot of squinting to simplify the dark and light shapes. Those shapes I identified as planes. So I worked on the concept of the value sphere – establishing the core shadow, getting lighter as the shape come to the light.

What I would like to do is to learn about animals head anatomy. It would help to understand the planes more.

Profile of Tara 2019
Tara 2019, graphite, 11 x 14

Oil Portraits Paintings

These paintings were done back in 2015 and 2016 when I was often attending the open sessions at Patris Studio. I have to say they are not as bad as I thought. But I do need to go back and painting portraits again. Maybe that would be one of my New Year’s resolution.

Square Dog Portraits

Chardonnay belongs to my neighbor’s granddaughter. Despite her busy life as a nursing student and caring for her grandparents, she took the time to provided photos for me to paint. Thank you, Christiana.

Chardonnay, 8 x 8 x 3/4 inches oil on stretched canvas by Marlene Lee

I met Kirby and his owner on a walk with my dog, Kava. Kirby is a full blooded Maltese and is a one person dog.

Kirby 8 x 8 x 3/4 inches oil on wooden panel by Marlene Lee

These two paintings will be part of the International House Exhibit in March, 2020.


Pet Portraits in Oils

Oliver 150dpi 2019
Oliver, oil on stretched canvas, 9 x 12 x 3/4 inches by Marlene Lee
Tyler 150dpi 2019
Tyler at Rancho Yolo, oil on stretched canvas, 10 x 8 x 3/4 inches by Marlene Lee
Smoochie 150dpi 2019
Smoochie the Cat, oil on stretched canvas, 8 x 8 x 3/4 inches by Marlene Lee