CELEBRATING 300 PET PORTRAITS

300 oval

I feel like it wasn’t too long ago I was celebrating my 200th Pet Portrait painting (which you can read all about HERE if you like). And now, approximately three years later, I have officially reached my 300th! Holy moly, how time does fly! To celebrate this milestone I decided to create a special oval piece:

Vinnie oval

For this project I wanted to feature my cat-brother Vinnie. He was rescued by my sister & her family at a rest stop on their way to my dad’s house in BC a few years back. The little guy was found hungry and alone, meowing in the bush nowhere near any houses, so they thought it’d be best to scoop him up and take him somewhere safe. And as soon as they got to my dad’s he knew Vinnie was a keeper! After checking that he wasn’t a missing pet, he officially became my cat-brother and has been living the sweet life with my dad ever since.

The reason I picked an oval panel for this one, is first I just think they’re neat lol, but also because I feel that they have a certain traditional vibe to them. Since my dad is an antiques enthusiast, I thought this shape would be a great fit with his decor. And for the colours, I went with a sepia-esque background and antique bronze for the edges to keep with the vintage aesthetic as well. Oh! And I popped a cute little red bowtie on Vinnie too just for fun and to make him extra fancy for his portrait :D . Such a dapper little fellow!

And here we have a picture of Vinnie posing with his portrait:

Vinnie doppelganger

So cute!

It’s still hard to believe I’ve completed 300 Pet Portrait paintings now! When I first started I had no idea it would lead to this many, I can tell you that for sure lol. I want to give a big thanks to all of my Pet Portrait clients & supporters over the years – you help make it possible for me to be an artist for a living, and for that I am super grateful <3

2018 HOLIDAY SEASON RECAP

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a bit behind on my blog entries :D . And although it’s later into January than I usually write this post, I still wanted to put together my annual Holiday Season Recap! It has been a tradition for the past five years, and I do not want to stop now :) . So below I’d like to highlight the artwork that was completed in the last few months of the year, all of which headed out under Christmas Trees in December 2018:

xmas 2018 pet portraits

From October to December I completed 10 acrylic on canvas Pet Portraits, as well as approximately 60 Pets-a-Sketch pieces. One pet was even ordered in both portrait formats and headed to Victoria BC! Beautiful Monty the cat, shown below:

monty x2

Some of the holiday orders this year were local, and some even traveled to the East & West coasts of the country! Individual photos of each acrylic painting can be viewed in my Pet Portrait Portfolio if you’d like to see bigger pix of those guys. The majority of the sketches that were ordered this year seemed to be in the ornament format, so I have put together a collage of 40 of them here:

2018 ornaments pt 1

2018 ornaments pt 2

A unique sketch that was ordered was in the form of a greeting card, that was given as a custom Christmas card between co-worker friends. It featured the recipient’s adorable cat Ullar, drawn in ink + watercolour with name text upgrade. Below is a video of the custom card showing it from all angles:


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A post shared by Art by Robyn Millar (@artbyrobynmillar) on

(if you’re having trouble viewing the video, you can also view it directly in Instagram here)

One of my favourite things ever about painting people’s pets for them is when they send me pix of their pet with their artwork! Here are some “Animal Doppelgänger” snaps I received over the holidays, I love these so much:

primo dopp

Primo posing with his acrylic on canvas painting.

miss dopp

Senior doggie Missy posing with her acrylic portrait.

mango dopp

Mango with his framed watercolour Pets-a-Sketch. (Ps I love his sweater so much haha)

cotton candy dopp

Double doppelgänger! Cotton & Candy posing with their framed watercolour Pets-a-Sketch.

Earlier on in the season I also prepared a handful of new small-scale work for Kootenay Gallery’s “Christmas at the Gallery” show & sale. I created a combo of landscapes & florals, done in various mediums: oil on panel, acrylic on canvas, as well as ink + watercolour on paper. For availability of these paintings and sketches please feel free to get in touch, or you can also contact Kootenay Gallery directly:


I want to thank all of my clients and supporters for following along with my art updates during the holidays and throughout the whole year. Your commissions, shares, and referrals help me to keep creating art, and for that I’m always so very grateful. I hope that your 2018 was wonderful, and that your 2019 is off go a great start too! Happy belated New Year :)

CHRISTMAS AT THE GALLERY 2018

xmas banner

I’m excited to be participating again this year in Kootenay Gallery’s annual juried “Christmas at the Gallery” exhibit & sale, which opens November 13th 2018! I recently completed twelve brand new small-scale paintings for the event, all of which will be on display and available for purchase for the duration of the exhibit.

If you are in the Castlegar area do feel free to pop by and check out my new pieces in person, plus a wide variety of work by talented local artisans! Here is the event info:

What: ‘Christmas at the Gallery’
When: Nov 13 to Dec 24 2018
Opening Reception: Friday Nov 16, 5pm – 8pm

Where: Kootenay Gallery of Art (120 Heritage Way, Castlegar BC)
Admission: Free!
Gallery Hours: 10am-5pm Tues-Sat in November, and 7 days a week 10am-5pm from Dec 1-24.

The new work that I sent to the gallery for this year’s event can be previewed in the following Portfolios of my website:
‘FLOWERS & PLANTS’ (featuring four new oil paintings)
‘CLOUDS & SCENERY’ (featuring four new mini black and white acrylic landscapes)
‘FRAME-ABLE ORIGINALS’ (featuring four new watercolour drawings on paper)

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LILY (x2)

lily set on easel

This spring, a lovely return client asked me to paint her pup Lily – x2! One canvas was to be added to her set of existing pet portraits (Ruby, Bailey & Steve, which can be seen in my previous post), and the second was to be gifted to her mother-in-law. Both pieces were painted using the same batch of background paint, which I thought was a nice little touch for bonding the two Lily versions. I couldn’t wait to find out which version my client kept for her collection, and all was revealed when she sent me this great doppelgänger pic:

lily doppelgänger

Lily looks slightly not amused haha! But I love this pic all the same. I’m told she’s a squirmy little creature, so I’m excited that she was able to hang in there for some photo taking :)

Since Lily’s piece was being added to an existing set with a blue & brown theme, we went with a medium grey tone for the background for this one. I have a sweet spot for a neutral & blue colour scheme (if you’ve been to my home then you’ve seen it for yourself – it’s everywhere lol!), and I totally love how this set looks all together! My client was so kind as to send me a photo of all four paintings hanging on the wall together that she said I could share:

set of 4 on wall

Love love love!

Thanks again LM for having me paint all your fur babies, x2!

RUBY, BAILEY & STEVE (x2)

IMG_4761

Back in 2014, a client contacted me to paint her three pups – Ruby, Bailey, & Steve – x2! Firstly as a set of individual 8″x8″ canvases for her home, then once again of them all together on one long rectangular canvas as a gift for her mother-in-law:

IMG_5162

I loved working on these fuzzy faces (two times!), and I was so excited when my client sent me these excellent animal doppelgänger pix of each pup posing with their paintings:

bailey dopp

ruby dopp

steve dopp

I could have sworn I already wrote a blog post about this adorable trio, but after going through my archives I see I was mistaken! So I wanted to rectify that at this time, especially because there was a fourth addition to their pack recently – which I will share about in my next post :)

TANNER

tanner name text

Earlier this month a custom 30″x15″ pet portrait of a beautiful German Doberman headed to its home from my studio. When my client initially got in touch with the photo he wanted painted I immediately fell in love with the composition. Such a beauty of a pose, and dog, oh my! We chatted about using a rectangular canvas, and I suggested we go with one with a 2:1 size ratio as it framed Tanner’s pose so perfectly. He agreed with this format, and so away I went!

I like to sometimes put together what I call ’50/50 split’ pix, where I show the original reference photo side by side with a finished painting. But I recently discovered this cool app that does a similar thing but in an interactive fashion where you can move the slider, which I thought was so cool! Check it out:

(if the image slider isn’t showing properly within the post, you can also view it HERE)

Tanner’s dad had a special request for the painting in that he wanted me to include Tanner’s name on the front of the canvas, which can be seen in the bottom right corner of the finished piece. In addition to the name text, I requested to include the “sunbeam” of light going across the ground from the photo too. There was just something about it in the original photograph that I loved, plus it tied in so well with the highlights on Tanner’s fur too. I’m super glad we opted to leave it in there, and I am so excited with the final result!

Before the painting left my studio I took a quick video tour of it for fun also, which can be viewed here:

(if you are having trouble viewing this video, you can also watch it HERE directly on Instagram, even if you don’t have an IG account)

Once Tanner’s painting made it home, my client was so kind as to send me some “animal doppelgänger” photos of Tanner posing with his painting. I couldn’t pick a favourite lol, so I have included all three pix here (with his permission):

(if you are having trouble viewing these within the post, you can also view them HERE)

When the painting was complete I got to meet Tanner in person during pick up which was pretty cool! He is huge (approx 80-90lbs), adorable, and so very friendly. Thank you again to Tanner’s dad for having me paint your beautiful pup!

THE DOG WITH A BOW PHOTOGRAPHY

Skye the dog with a bow

Skye, shown above (& featured in my previous post), is the trusty and adorable sidekick of Paul Manning – the man behind the camera at The Dog With A Bow Photography. You can instantly tell by looking at his photos that not only is he skilled, but he is truly passionate about what he does too! So I wanted to share a bit more about him and his work here :)

“I can’t imagine what life would feel like without a dog to share it with so I want to capture their unique and quirky personalities, through fun, vibrant and active photos.” -Paul, The Dog With A Bow Photography

Based in Cochrane Alberta, he specializes in on-location dog photography (in the Cochrane, Calgary and Kananaskis Country areas) capturing each doggies’ personality,  indoors and outdoors, throughout all four seasons. Here are a few of my favourite examples:

example fall

example winter

example spring

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SKYE x 5

IMG_4353

This Spring I was hired by a local photographer – Paul Manning, of The Dog With A Bow Photography – to create five individual sketches of his dog Skye. The intention was to use the finished artwork in his promotional materials, such as on his website and business cards etc. And I was totally in!

Paul sent me his selection of Skye photos to be sketched, and indicated which he’d like in watercolour and which were to remain black and white for variety. For some of the poses I suggested we go with a custom rectangle set up, instead of the standard square, so that we could fit more of Skye proportionally on the paper. He was totally on board with that idea, so away I went and put pen (and watercolour) to paper:

skye sketch side by side

(example of Paul’s reference photo on the left, vs my sketch in progress on the right)

I put together a little slideshow that shows the five finished sketches as well as the original five photos, if you’d like to take a peek here:

[click to continue…]

PETEY

petey 12x12

Earlier this month a custom 12″x12″ painted Pet Portrait of Petey the dog headed to its home in Victoria BC.

When my client initially got in touch and sent me photos of Petey, almost all of them showed him nestled into bedding/blankets, looking happy as a clam:

snuggly petey

So instead of going with my usual head shot style with a solid colour background for the portrait, we decided to include the bedding detail that showed Petey tucked right into the bed, snug as a bug in a rug. We also opted to keep the red collar detail in the painting to add a punch of colour to the piece, subtle yet eye catching.

I took a little video tour of the painting before I packaged it up, if you’d like to take a peek you can view it here:

A post shared by Robyn Millar (@artbyrobynmillar) on

(if you are having trouble viewing the video, it can also be seen directly on my Instagram account HERE)

I’m really excited with the finished painting, and quite enjoyed working on the bedding detail as well. I’m so happy we went with a photo/pose of Petey nestled into the bedding like that, as it really looks like he’s in his happy place :)

SET OF 6 PET PORTRAITS

IMG_3871 (1)

Earlier this month a custom set of 5 Pet Portrait paintings headed to their home in Ontario. A client had ordered a painting from me a few years ago of their rottweiler named Baldwin, and they wanted to add to their collection in the same canvas size & style. She sent me the photos of each pet to be painted, and left it to me to select the colours for each of the backgrounds. She mentioned that their living room was white, with accent colours from their wedding (royal purple, lavender/lilac, and daffodil yellow). So based on those parameters, and considering the blue from the painting they already had from me, I picked out complimentary colours for the new additions:

IMG_4091

Markers came in handy for this step to narrow down which colour direction to go in for the group as a whole, then the final shades were fine-tuned in the painting stage. In addition to picking out the colours, my client requested that I include name text on each of the paintings like we did with Baldwin’s piece:

juno name

So for the 5 new pieces we have Amber the grey cat (with the ‘amber’ orange background), Lance the orange cat (with the royal purple background), Juno the husky (with the green background), Aura the rottie (with the lavender/lilac background), and Gotham the black cat (with the yellow background and his little scull & crossbones collar included).

And finally, here is a photo of the five new paintings hung on the wall along with their original piece to create their custom set of 6 all together:

set of 6 on wall

I really love how they hung the paintings on the wall! Very unique, and I bet quite difficult to do as well. Thank you again J&A for having me paint your all your fur babies, this has been such a fun set :)

Ps – For closer up photos of each individual painting from this set, please visit in my Pet Portrait Portfolio page.

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