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

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


Dogs Drawings

Preliminary pencil drawings for oil paintings.

Dog Pencil Portrait 100319
Oliver, pencil, 7 x 5 inches by Marlene Lee
Dog Pencil Portrait 102119
Kirby, pencil, 7 x 5 inches by Marlene Lee
Pencil Dog Portrait 100419
Tyler, pencil, 7 x 5 inches by Marlene Lee
Dog Pencil Portrait 100719
Jinga, pencil, 7 x 5 inches by Marlene Lee

Pet Portraits Commissions

I just completed two pet portraits commissions. Very fun to do.

Chloe_Lynn 150_dpi 2019
Chloe, 8 x 10 x 3/4 inches, oil on stretched canvas 

Chloe was a bit of challenge to do especially with the amazing amount of fur. Besides her fur I wanted to capture her sparkling brown eyes and her cute little mouth to reflect her perky personality.

Gus, 4 x 4 inches on canvas panel

The commission for Gus came through Etsy. It’s one of the tiny paintings of only 4 x 4 inches. It was a challenge but a learning experience on painting tiny. I started off with bristle brushes by Robert Simmons, my favorite. But when it came to the details, I found another Robert Simmons brand, Simply Simmons. The brushes are softer but were great for details. I used mainly the filberts.


Interested in a pet portrait commissions?Visit my Etsy store for more info. If for a Christmas the deadline would have to be the end of October. Too many projects in November.

Tabby Cat

Tabby Cat 2019
Tabby Cat 2019, 12 x 9 x 3/4 inches, oil on stretched canvas.




Another painting for the upcoming exhibit at the International House “Feathers and Furs” exhibit in March 2020. This little dog lives with his owner at one of the many senior residents places throughout Davis. A chihuahua mix he is a great companion for his owner, a retired minister but on guard if anyone comes near.

Tyler 2019
“Tyler” oil portrait painting, 10 x 8 x 3/4 inches on stretched canvas by Marlene Lee


Interested in a painting of your pet, click to go to my Etsy shop for more info or email me.

Red Flower Crown

Part of a series of paintings for the International House in March 2020

Red Flower Crown 2019
Red Flower Crown, 10 x 10 x 3/4 inches oil on canvas by Marlene Lee

The process….

Deciding on the background was a bit challenging but I went with the warm darker blue background.

All Curled Up

This painting is for the Trekell Pet Competition, 2019. The only entry fee is to purchased one of their six-sided wooden panel. It’s an unusual shape but I found two little chihuahuas that fit perfectly.

All Curled Up_MarleneLee
“All Curled Up” oil on wooden panel, 9″ x 14″ x 5/8″ by Marlene Lee