Commission a Painting

Boon weimaraner painting
Jake golden retriever painting
Crash pit bull painting

Did you or a loved one recently lose their beloved pet?

Or maybe you’d like a fun, unique painting to add to your home décor?

Or maybe you’d just like to give the most amazing gift EVER?


Memorialize your cherished pet in a beautiful work of art. One-of-a-kind and painted on canvas with dedication and attention to detail, South Paw Custom Pet Paintings will provide you with a wonderful way to treasure your 4-legged friend forever. Deck out your own home with a hand-crafted painting, or give the perfect gift to the pet lover in your life.

Plus, save the lives of the homeless and needy animals in your town with your custom purchase!


photo alterations



The first step in commissioning a painting is choosing the right photo. Photos should be:

  • digital and high resolution. That way, photos can be enlarged and won’t loose pixilation when trying to zoom in for detail.
  • taken in natural lighting, either outside or indoors by the light of a nearby window. Avoid flash so that you don’t get red-eye!
  • in focus. It’s hard to pull detail from a blurry picture.

Having some trouble getting a good photo? Here’s what I can do to help:

  • adjust the shadows and lighting if the photo is too dark.
  • combine your photos (IE: if you have two dogs and can’t get a photo of the two of them together, no worries! Just make sure the photos you take of them are from the same angle.)
  • change the background to whatever you prefer.
  • change features about your pet (remove a collar or harness, add a tail, etc.)
  • touch up old photos. If you had a pet that has passed away and you don’t have recent photos, then that’s OK – send me whatever you have and I can work with it.

Remember to be patient with your pup. Try using treats or making a high-pitched noise to get their attention if they’re always hyper!


All paintings are done on 7/8 inch thick canvas with the sides painted to match the front. Thicker, 1 ½ inch gallery canvas is available at an extra cost.

Not sure what size is right for your painting? Take a look at my pricing guide to help you decide. If you don’t see the size you’d like, email me for a quote. When choosing a size, keep in mind how much of the photo you’d like to be included within the canvas. If you would like to see how your photo would look on a couple of sizes, I’ll be happy to show you in the mock-up stage.


photo alterations

Once I’ve received your photo and canvas size selection/s, I’ll crop your photo so you can see how it will fit. I will also use professional design software (Adobe Photoshop) to touch up your photo in terms of brightness, contrast and color. At this stage, I can also substitute in a different background, combine multiple pets onto one canvas, or remove certain elements from the photo (as shown on the right). Once I have your photo mocked up, I’ll email you a digital proof so that you can make sure everything looks great and is visually correct before I start sketching and painting.


After you’ve approved your digital photo mock-up, payment must be made in full in order to reserve a spot on my client list. This is due to the amount of time and cost of supplies I spend on each painting. Payments can be made through PayPal, Etsy or mail-in check – whatever is easiest for you!


Because I have a full-time career as a graphic designer, I’m only allowed so much time to paint each day, which means I always have a growing list of customers waiting for their pet portrait. I take orders on a first-come, first-served basis, and completion of an oil painting typically varies between 6 and 8 weeks. These factors include size of the canvas, number of subjects in the painting, background complexity, changes throughout the process, and most importantly, the number of paintings that I currently have in my queue. If you have a certain date that you need the painting by, please specify when ordering so that I can do my best to accommodate you or make alternate arrangements.



Once I start your painting, you’ll begin to receive weekly photo updates from the start of the sketch through completion of the painting. This way, you get to watch your painting unfold! This is a great time to give any feedback and make changes to the painting if necessary. When the pet portrait is completed, I will send one more digital proof of the final painting for your approval before I send it out to you.

Colt labradoodle progress painting
Colt labradoodle progress painting
Colt labradoodle progress painting
Colt labradoodle final painting


I absolutely love hearing about my happy customers. If you’re thrilled with the way your painting turned out, please let me know!

There are no words to describe the emotion that I felt upon opening the portrait.... The painting made me cry and brought a flood of memories for each of the dogs pictured... we are quite the animal lovers and each dog held a special place in our lives and hearts over the years... It's beautiful! Thank you so much for painting each dog just as they were and giving me and my husband much joy... now and in the future.

― Sue and Lloyd, Proud Parents of the six Labs, Pittsburgh, Pa.

the Hopeman lab family of PA

Toby the black lab painting
5+ STARS! I couldn't have asked for a better experience or product. Heather was there from Day 1 answering questions about her services. She communicated throughout the process with updates and made sure I successfully received the shipment. Most importantly, she is an absolutely incredible artist. The custom dog portrait was stunning and brought tears to the recipient's eyes upon seeing her painted pooch :) I cannot give a high enough recommendation.

― Kim, Mass.