Kermit, 9x12 Pastel on Velour. Copyright Meb Harris.

In my continued attempt to update my blog with some of the paintings I have completed in the past few months… this is a commission from last February of Kermit, owned by Dorris Wiglesworth. Dorris asked me to paint Kermit as a surprise birthday gift for her husband. She told me that the surprise was a great success as her hubby loved the portrait. It’s always a great feeling to know that one of my paintings brings pleasure to someone’s special somebody.

Kermit is another of the WAG dogs that I’ve had the pleasure of painting. Sometimes I’m amazed at how quickly a painting comes together… this was one of them. There were several of different colors in Kermit’s face, but they blended perfectly for me and he just popped out of the painting.

I have been asked how I’m able to blend using the pastel medium. As I paint on velour paper, I’m able to layer different colors over each other in order to ‘mix’ my colors… as if I was using a liquid medium such as oils. Pastel uses the same pigments as oil paints, without the oil binders. And sometimes with pastels, that perfect color doesn’t exist as the colors are limited. But that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve that perfect color by layering the dusts with a very light touch. The challenge in the pastel world is finding those colors to layer to get the desired color that brings the reality of the animal to life.


SamWIP_LR-CROne of my favorite people in this world is Walt Nagle. When I was 12 years old, a little red dog came in to my life. I named her Shannon. She became my best friend for 18 years. Shortly after Shannon showed up as a stray, I discovered Mission City Dog Training at the neighborhood park. Walt Nagle was the trainer and there was a group of dogs and owners learning all about obedience. I was not part of the class, but sat with Shannon off to the side to watch. Walt came up to me and asked if I would like to join the group. I happily did! I stayed with Walt and his group for seven years and Shannon and I became obedience junkies… competing in any dog trial that would allow All Americans… as she was called. So what does this have to do with this portrait of Sam?

Sam is Walt Nagle’s current dog and I really enjoyed painting this beautiful little corgi for him. I have since moved away from that neighborhood, and many years have gone by. Walt is still training at Mission City Dog Training, helping people to train their dogs to be part of the family… as Shannon was. And I have never forgotten his kindness to me that day and all that he taught me. So it is with pleasure that I add Sam to my blog.

Portrait of a Pug… Cirby

Copyright Meb Harris

Copyright Meb Harris

I’m pretty delinquent on posting my paintings to my blog. In fact, this portrait was a commission for Beth Sanford and was a Christmas gift for her husband last year. Cirby was so much fun to pull out of the painting with those wonderful eyes and that cute pug nose. I never really paid attention to how different these flat faced breeds are until I spent time studying Cirby’s little face and trying to perfect the nose. And for some reason I kept thinking about “Men In Black” while painting and that famous line… “If you don’t like it you can… ” Love these dogs!

Pastel Pet Portrait: Sadie Lynn

Sadie, 8 x 10 Pastel on Velour

Sadie, 8 x 10 Pastel on Velour

I completed another commission portrait. This is Sadie Lynn, the Border Collie. She is from the same family as Achilles the Doxie. I really wish the images that I post were of the same quality as the original. The colors are close, but the softness of the velour paper never really pops in the digital image. Sadie Lynn was a joy to paint and really just came alive on her own as I applied more layers of pastel. All that black in her coat has layers of dark blue and purple under it, which creates the rich black color. To just apply black causes a more flat looking coat on the dog. There are more than eight layers on this dog.

Pastel Pet Portrait: Achilles


Achilles, 8" x 10" Pastel on Velour

It’s been awhile since I posted anything. Shamefully, when I’m in school it seems I never have time to paint. But schools out for Summer… and I’m back to digging in to my pastels. This is Achilles the Dachshund. This little guy was great fun to paint. I loved that blue eye… I believe my first experience painting a blue eye. My biggest challenge with Achilles is the fact that his coat is mottled with spots and I wanted to make sure I got them all in the right place. This was also the first time I had not met the dog in person and worked entirely off a client’s provided image. I’m delivering the painting to Achilles’ owner tomorrow morning all framed and ready to hang. Perhaps I’ll get to see Achilles in person at that time.

Pastel Pet Portrait: Siggi

Siggi, 9" x 11" pastel on velour

Siggi, 9" x 11" pastel on velour

Siggi is another talented Sheltie who runs agility with Dave at WAG. Some of Siggi’s championship titles include N-ATCH, C-ATCH AND C-ATE, from two different agility venues. Quite and accomplishment for this gentleman… especially since he had to overcome some difficulties from his younger years. Siggi runs with a signature head tilt, but never lets that stop him from putting on a great performance in the agility ring. This painting, which was completed in December 2011, was a bit of a challenge as Siggi has such a dark, silvery blue colored coat. His eyes are the darkest of any dog I’ve ever encountered and he sports a crooked blaze. There are more layers of coat painted on this boy than most I’ve worked with. It was fun to watch him come to life in this painting.

Pastel Pet Portrait: Jag

Jag, 8" x 10" Pastel on Velour

Jag, 8" x 10" Pastel on Velour

Here is my latest commissioned portrait. This is Jag. He’s an awesome Australian Shepherd, owned by Justine, with some 14 championship titles in Agility. According to Justine, “His latest ones are C-ATE (almost to C-ATE2), ADCH, PDCH, NATCH#3 and versatility NATCH#3, Sach, jch, tm-bronze, c-Mex, bronze-sm, Mx and mxj. The bronze ones are USDAA and the c-Mex is DOCNA (which are different venues in Agilty).”

I first noticed Justine and Jag running in Agility at the CPE Nationals in 2006. Jag’s enthusiasm bounced off of him and I believe he received one of the highest scores of the entire 3-day trial…  and to watch him run today is no different. I enjoyed painting him with all the wonderful colors and that happy expression that is simply Jag!

Pastel Pet Portrait: Nitro

Nitro Pastel

Nitro, 9" x 12" Pastel on Velour

This is Nitro… asleep on his favorite pillow, which is located in the office at WAG (Western Agility Group) in Elk Grove, CA where he spends his time waiting for his turn to run in whatever agility trial he happens to be entered in. Nitro belongs to Susan Rappillus and has some impressive Agility titles, such as: CATE, CATE-2, NATCH 7, Vers. NATCH 7, MX, MXJ, MAD. Although he looks so serene in this painting, he’s a lightning fast little dog on course .

Nitro's painting on his pillow

Here is a cute photo that Susan sent to me of Nitro’s painting on the pillow from his painting. Too cute!

Pastel Pet Portrait: Kindle


Portrait of Kindle, 8" x 10" Pastel on Velour, ©2011 Meb Harris

I painted this portrait for Susan to give to her friend Sue as a birthday gift. I saw Sue yesterday at a dog agility competition and she had a big smile on her face. I also got to meet Kindle in the flesh. I had painted the portrait straight from photos that Susan provided. It was fun to see the actual dog after having studied her face for so long to get the details. Kindle is a beautiful, and very petite Sheltie with an adorable snaggle tooth… apparently her trademark. When her little lip gets caught she always has a cute smile on her face. I was so happy to have captured that in the portrait. Kindle loves to compete in agility and has achieved her CATCH title (CPE Agility Team Champion title).