Elsa (detail), 2012, oil on canvas, 11 x 14 in


This is a detail of my portrait of Elsa, who was the beloved Golden Retriever of a Montreal family.  She became ill and passed away.  The family was devastated by her loss. My son rented a basement suite in their home and was the recipient of much kindness and generosity. He asked me to paint a portrait of Elsa for them.  With the help of their daughter, my son got a beautiful photograph for me to work from. When the family received the gift of the portrait, they were overcome by emotion.  The painting now hangs in their bedroom and is much cherished. 


Portraits of adults and children by Calgary artist Monique Westra in oil on canvas

 Pet Portraits: Dogs

Dog portraits|oil on canvas |Calgary artist|commission|pet portraits | Monique Westra |Portraits of Pets| dog art| With each new commission, I ask for a number of photographs of the dog. Because I work from photographs, I need a very clear image, especially of the eyes. I want to get a sense of not only what the dog looks like but also of its personality. After a particular image is selected, I transfer it as a drawing to a canvas. Often, I start with the background. I love abstraction and my designs are inspired by the photograph or by something that the owner has said about the dog. For example, in the photo for \"Toby,\" the adorable little dog was sitting in front of a big cushion. I used the pattern on the cushion as the inspiration for my background. After I paint the background, I start on the dog, always beginning with the eyes and the nose. Then I use small brushstrokes to follow the direction of the fur. This is done in many layers. The entire process may take up to 30 hours.