Art With Jenny K.


In Memoriam Dog Painting

dog painting


My friend recently lost her long-time beloved friend Ella—an American Foxhound. I wanted to do something for her and her 7-yr old daughter. Then my daughter said, “Mom, maybe we could paint a picture of Ella” to give to our friends so that “they could remember Ella whenever they saw it.”  What a wonderful idea—an in memoriam dog painting!

I thought it should be colorful, fun, and sweet, and stir up good memories. Getting kids involved in the painting process made it even more special for everyone.

I asked my friend for her favorite picture of Ella. I thought it should be colorful, fun, and sweet, and stir up good memories. Then I asked my daughter if she and her friends would contribute to the dog painting and then present it to my friend and her daughter (who was their friend).  “Of course!” was the immediate reply.  So we got down to work.

In Memoriam Dog Painting from Art with Jenny K.

Note: We made this dog painting as a nice memory of a deceased pet, but it could be just as nice for one of our (or a friend’s) living loved ones!


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First, I sketched the dog’s outline onto the canvas (big enough to fill the canvas). Since I was going for fun (and not realism)…and since I knew my co-artists were 5, 6, and 7 yr-olds, I sketched out large shapes for easier painting. When I was happy with it, I painted my sketch with black acrylic paint and let it dry.

In Memoriam Dog Painting from Art with Jenny K.

Then, I chose a color palette for the painting and prepared the area for the girls (my daughter and her two friends) by squeezing out the paint from the tubes, laying out the brushes (trying to keep one brush per color), and putting the canvas where they all could easily work on it together.


The girls then set about painting in my sketch. I told them to try to use only one color in each area, be sure to paint in the background, and use care and remember that they were making the special dog painting for their friend. But other than that, I let them have at it—really only hovering around to keep the mess down and the acrylic paint off of their clothing (it doesn’t come out).

They worked together so well, took great care, and were cooperative and complementary to each other.  It really was a special time for them (and me).

In Memoriam Dog Painting from Art with Jenny K.

The dog painting came out wonderfully!

In Memoriam Dog Painting from Art with Jenny K.

After it had dried, I had the artists sign the back of it in a black Sharpie. We dated it and added a short, sweet message to the back as well.

Presentation Day

Then came presentation day!  The girls were so proud of their dog painting and their gift. Tears and hugs abounded, but they were happy tears and hugs! It was a special and meaningful occasion for everyone involved and one that will always be remembered.

In Memoriam Dog Painting from Art with Jenny K.


In fact, my daughter’s two friends that helped her with the painting had recently lost their dog, Bayou, and wanted to make another one of her!  And in that process, it helped them heal from their loss. Previously, it had been too hard for them to talk much about losing their dog, but it made them happy to work on the painting. Instead of trying not to think about Bayou, her portrait hangs prominently in their kitchen, and she is sweetly remembered daily.  And the girls are happy again!

In Memoriam Dog Painting from Art with Jenny K.

This was such a successful and special project that I wanted to share it with you all. The dog paintings came out so well that I think I’ll make two more of my two cute, little Shih Tzus—while they are still making our lives happy every day.

I hope some of you have (had) some loving canine (or feline) family members whose fun; colorful portraits will help evoke great memories. Getting your kids involved in the process will make it even more special for everyone.

As always, thanks for making art with your kids!

Jenny K.

Since I originally wrote this post, I have been asked by several people to help them with paintings of pets they have had to say goodbye to. Here are a few images from those sessions.

dog painting
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