"Girlfriends" 11" x 14" Pastel on Velour

“Girlfriends” 11″ x 14″ Pastel on Velour

I know… I’m an animal artist. But once in awhile a reference photo becomes available with a cute little girl and her dog that I just have to paint. And here it is! This is Emma and Rogue. Emma is my grand niece and Rogue is her girlfriend. And that look on Emma’s face as she hugs her dog reminds me of… ME!

Painting children is a frightening venture. Forget the fact that if you get one small line wrong it no longer looks like your subject… but the skin tones are incredibly hard, especially with pastels where you’re not free to easily mix colors to get that perfect skin color. And it’s so easy to get a blotchy look as well… so as I learned from the two workshops on painting children in pastel I took from my friend and mentor, Lesley Harrison, smooth is the secret. My success with this painting has opened up a whole new venture for me as I start practicing more humans to include with my animal paintings. So now the search is on to find those adorable kid with pet moments that I can capture with my art. And I would like to put another thank you out there to my artist friend Kay Witt for sharing her knowledge of skin tones to help me with this piece.

UPDATE: “Girlfriends” has sold.

Smokin’ The Barrels

Smokin' The Barrels, 14" x 11" pastel on velour. SOLD.

Smokin’ The Barrels, 14″ x 11″ pastel on velour. SOLD.

A lot of excitement surrounding this painting. I was invited to have my art booth at a Barrel Racing Futurity at the McCourtney Road Equestrian Center in Lincoln last month. While there I took around 650 photos of horses. As a result I decided to paint this beautiful palomino from one of my reference photos. I spent some time deliberating about the rider. I really only wanted to feature the horse in the painting… but couldn’t really delete the rider. I spoke with my friend and mentor, Lesley Harrison, and she suggested I try this method of vignette where I fade the rider out… something a bit outside the box for me. I pushed myself a bit with this piece, but I’m very happy with the outcome. I was after the excitement I felt when I watched the horses speed around the barrels and run as fast as they could to the gate… and hopefully I accomplished that. As a matter of fact, I was so excited with the outcome of the painting that I simply couldn’t put it down until it was done!

I sent an image of the painting to the manager of the ranch, and was asked to paint the four winning horses in their summer series, which I agreed to do with pleasure… and she posted the painting to the ranch website. After discovering the horse’s name as Last Thing Smokin’, I decided to name the painting Smokin’ The Barrels. I’m really looking forward to more Barrel Racers in my near future… in fact, I believe there’s one on my easel at this moment! 🙂 Oh… and I’m happy to report the owner of this beautiful horse has purchased the painting.


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: Fritz


Fritz, 8"x10" Pastel, ©2010 Meb Harris

Fritz is a 12-year-old Sheltie belonging to Susan, from WAG (Western Agility Group) in Elk Grove, CA. This boy has more Agility Championship titles than I can list in one post. To mention a few: CATE, CATE-2, CS-ATE, CS-ATE 2, CATCH, NATCH 13, Vers-NATCH 8, MEDAL 3 and Vers – Medal, MACH, ADCH, ATCH, and V-MEX.  Which includes all the major organizations that were around here more than a few years.  His biggest claim to fame when younger – he was the only dog at the time with 5 different venue Championships in Agility. Other dogs have now reached that success, but Fritz is a leader in that regard!

He is awesome to watch run agility and rarely misses a cue from Susan. Over the years my dog Jasmine and I usually followed Susan and Fritz in our Agility runs and I picked up some great handling skills watching this team, which was very helpful in obtaining our own Championship title (CATCH Jasmine!). I enjoyed capturing Fritz in this pastel painting, which I made a gift of to Susan as a thank you for her help over the years… whether she knew it or not. He is an amazing dog!

UPDATE: Fritz went to the Rainbow Bridge on November 14, 2011. He will truly be missed!