Carrie L. Lewis, Artist

Helping You Create Art You Can be Proud Of

Jessie Photo Reference

New Canine Colored Pencil Project

I’d like to introduce you to a very special drawing project this week. This is Jessie.

Primary reference photo for portrait of Jessie

Jessie was my canine companion for 13 years. She came into my life as one of two six-week-old puppies. One of them found a good home within a few weeks. Jessie did, too. She just didn’t have to go any further.

In 1997, Jessie died of congestive heart failure. A large hole was left in her wake. One so large that I’ve been unable to do a detailed portrait of any type in the many years since her passing. A few sketches, yes, but nothing more.

With no formal portraits on the easel and free studio time available, now is the time to make another attempt.

I’m also writing a book about drawing Jessie. Tentatively titled Drawing Jessie, the book will include detailed step-by-step information on drawing the portrait.

But I’m also planning to include memories and thoughts about Jessie and the time we spent together. It will not only be a guide book for artists who want to learn to draw with colored pencils or to improve existing skills; it will be a book for anyone who has had the honor of having a Special Dog in their lives.

I’ll be offering periodic updates, but am not currently planning to document it step-by-step. I’ll be excerpting Drawing Jessie on and possibly here, too.

Plans are subject to change, though. If you’d like to see a step-by-step demonstration, let me know.

Tweet It!

[Tweet “Jessie was my #canine companion for 13 years.”]

[Tweet “I’m currently working on #drawing a #portrait of my #dog Jessie in #coloredpencil.”]

[Tweet “Special #canine companions deserve special portraits. I’m working on my own #dog’s #portrait now.”]


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  1. John P Garrett

    Hi Carrie,

    Sounds like a great project. I have a similar Dog story and I wanted to do her (Onyx) portrait but is still painful. She was a Greyhound and I helped deliver her and she passed in 2009. Here is a picture of her if you’re interested.
    Good luck on the book.

    • John,

      What a great picture and what a great story about Onyx. Greyhounds and the other sight hounds have always fascinated me.

      I currently have a cat, Max, who was birthed and abandoned the same day. He’s the only survivor of a litter of three. He’s my newborn. He and I were on a three-hour feeding schedule 24/7 for about three months. What an experience. Maybe I should do a book on him, as well!

      Thank you for the very kind words on Jessie’s portrait. It’s been almost 20 years since her death, now. Even at this point, looking through the few pictures I have is difficult. The drawing is complete and working through it has helped revive memories, so it’s a good thing.

      The prospect of looking through my journals for real-time accounts of specific memories is a bittersweet idea.

      I’m also in the very early stages on another portrait that’s an “In Memory of” portrait. This time for a horse, Admiral’s Express. I discovered several months ago that he died as the result of a pasture accident. So I’m planning to do a large painting of him.

      Thanks for reading and for sharing a little bit of Onyx. Best wishes,


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