You can never have too many portraits of your dog in my opinion, especially when they are one of the wonderful dog watercolours by London-based artist Emma Cox, founder of Small Creatures Studio. In Emma’s own words, she paints watercolour portraits of “mostly dogs, with a soft spot for rescue dogs, old dogs and underdogs” – sounds just like the kind of small business we love.
British born, Emma lived in Australia for 10 years where she adopted her own rescue dog Harry, so we asked Emma to tell us more…
“I’ve had a real affinity with dogs all my life. There is something so special about their souls (yes I do believe they have souls!) and our connection with them. My soft spot for “older dogs, rescue dogs and underdogs” is very much down to my late rescue dog, Harry.
I adopted Harry from a rescue centre in Sydney in 2013. We (my then-boyfriend and I) had only gone there to do some volunteer dog-walking but they brought out this 10-year-old terrier cross who was so sad and gentle… he had been in the centre for several months but kept getting overlooked, I guess because of his age. We had no idea of his background, only that he had been rescued by the centre from a council pound where he was about to have been put down…
A week later, Harry came to live with us. It took a little while to get his confidence up (he was quite fearful and had clearly been mistreated) but he soon became the heart of our little family. We had lots of adventures discovering dog-friendly spots around Sydney (we even started a blog – Sydney Dog’s Life, although it no longer exists now), and he was Best Dog at our wedding. Harry brought so much laughter, happiness and love into our lives, I only wish we could have found him sooner.
Harry passed away in 2019 after suffering from multiple illnesses. I still miss him and always will.”
Scrolling through the Small Creatures Instagram, I saw so many dog watercolours I fell in love with so when Emma got in touch to paint Belinha, who ticks all of those three ‘soft-spot’ boxes, I couldn’t wait to see what my big-eared girl would look like in watercolour and as you’ll see, I wasn’t disappointed.
It all starts with a photo….
To create your dog watercolour or pet portrait, Emma will ask you for a photo to base the portrait on. This for me was actually very hard to do! How do I choose just one out of the many, many photos I have?! Fortunately, Emma is happy to help and can either choose one for you or help narrow it down from a shortlist as she has an eye for what will work best.
After much (and I stress much) deliberation, a photo was finally selected and in the end, I chose one of Belinha that showcased her trademark ears and wearing one of her fabulous bow-ties you will usually see her in at one of London’s dog events.
And then your pup portrait comes to life…
Once Belinha had been captured in watercolour, Emma sent me a pencil sketch for review with the offer to make any amendments needed to make sure I was happy with Belinha’s pup portrait. And then once I was happy with the sketch, in no time at all, Belinha’s watercolour was ready and on its way to me!
When the watercolour portrait arrived I was over the moon! It was just the right balance between fun and whimsical with Belinha’s personality (and ears) shining through. And the grey mount offset the portrait perfectly, with an elegant accent that will fit into most decors. Now I just have to decide where it should take pride of place…
How to Commission Your Own Dog Watercolour Portrait With Small Creatures Studio
A watercolour pet portrait from Emma at Small Creatures Studio will make a fabulous gift for yourself or for a pet parent who deserves a treat. Emma told us…
“‘It’s a privilege to be asked to paint a beloved pet. Our animals are such an important part of our lives and bring so much joy – often when nothing or no one else can. I love to try and capture the heart and soul of an animal in my work.
I work from photographs and begin each piece by creating a draft pencil sketch which is emailed to the client for feedback before work starts on the painting. I want people to be 100 % happy with their painting and so a photograph of the final piece is sent for approval before it is posted out.”
Based on our experience, you can rely on Emma to create a special portrait you will treasure forever so Small Creatures Studio definitely gets a BIG paws up from us, both for the beautiful portraits and our mutual love of rescue dogs, old dogs and underdogs!
Commissions can be ordered through Emma’s website.
Dog watercolours and pet portraits from Small Creatures Studio starts from £80 for an A4 size portrait with other sizes available on request.
The turnaround time for orders is approx. four weeks but Emma will, of course, keep you updated throughout the process.
Small Creatures Watercolour Dog Portrait Giveaway
GIVEAWAY TIME! Do you wish you could have your pet captured in one of the wonderful watercolours from Small Creatures Studio hanging on your wall? Well, you could be in luck as we’ve teamed up with Emma to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a fabulous A4 size watercolour and ink portrait of their pup or pet (for one animal).