Painting Bailey, a Custom Portrait of a Beagle Dog

Fine arts painter Erica Eriksdotter sits by her easel with a custom painting of a black lab

Oh my goodness! I surprised ABC7 anchor Julie Wright live on Good Morning Washington with her own pet portrait. Julie was going to interview me about how healing my pet portraits are to owners who’ve lost their pets, but I had heard she, too, had recently lost her dog so I decided to paint her a portrait in the weeks leading up to the segment.

Watch Julie’s reaction as she unwraps her surprise custom painting of her darling dog. There wasn’t a dry eye in the studio.

You can read about my ABC7 segment here.

Let’s take a look behind the scenes of how Beagle Bailey came alive on canvas.

Pet portrait of a french bulldog by artist Erica Eriksdotter and a chair

I only had a few photos from Facebook the producer had share with me. They were poor quality but had just enough details for me to make it work.

After the eyes, I wanted to make sure the face had all the right shades of brown. Not too much yellow-brown and not too much red-brown.

I put down the first layer and then went back to rework Beagle Bailey’s nose. I couldn’t get it right at first and ended up going back to it a few times.

Many more hours adding brown layers and finally starting to add finer details. I really enjoyed working on this soulful dog. I mean, who wouldn’t want to stair into those eyes for 60 or so hours.

But I have to admit. I was nervous. What if she didn’t like her surprise? What if it was too much for her? I couldn’t help but worry.

The background color was all on me, so I looked over the few photos I had access to and saw a pillow Beagle Bailey was napping on. The pillow had this shade of green together with some neutrals. It felt right, so I took a deep breath and went with it, hoping the photo hadn’t been been taken at a friend’s house. Yikes.

Many hours later and it was done. Now it was time to sign it and wrap it up before surprise Julie.

And boy was she surprised! Click here to read about my experience on live TV and learn what Julie truly felt about the portrait. 

View more finished pet portraits in the gallery or learn more how you can commission your own pet portrait.

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