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Annie's blog about art techniques, creativity and life

ART BLOG article

"Ruby", a Border Collie Mix

One of my favorite things to do in my studio is paint pet portraits.  I love watching that special animal come to life and I feel like I have an actual relationship with them by the time I’m done. This is “Ruby” and I talked with Ruby’s owners’ daughter on the phone and over email, and I asked her questions about Ruby and what made her so special.

Ruby is a Border Collie mix. My parents got her as a puppy about 13 years ago. As a young dog, she liked to herd everyone around and loved walks and running on the beach. For most of her life, my parents had another dog named Jingle who was an Akita Chow mix. She is in a lot of the photos too. Ruby LOVED Jingle. Jingle passed away a few years ago. The past few years, Ruby is definitely showing her age. She has a hard time walking, her head tilts and she shakes a lot. She and my dad have a very special connection and Ruby follows him around everywhere. He says she is the best dog he has ever had. 
My parents are both retired and recently moved from Seattle to Dallas.  At our house, the animals (dogs and chickens) come first. My parents bought a mini-van specifically so that moving the animals from Seattle to Dallas would be more comfortable for them.
My parents are very eclectic, most of their walls are covered with tons of various items and lots of colors.

This is a painting the couple already had of Jingle. Ruby will be on the green wall next to Jingle. I wanted to incorporate some blue and green to match Jingle’s portrait and the wall color.

This is the original photograph…

… and here is the final painting.

What an honor to paint this wonderful dog. I can’t wait for Ruby’s owner to unwrap this portrait and have her memory immortalized on the living room wall. And I hope the real Ruby is with them for many more years.

If there is a special pet (or person or place or object) in your life, you can take a look at pricing and samples of my work here.


Annie Salness Artist


  1. David Weber on March 27, 2018 at 3:33 pm

    I just received your March letter and am looking at the painting of Ruby. I have several photos of my dog worthy of a painting. A recent one with lots of attitude. He’s a Schnauzer. So it’s got me thinking about a series of him. Like he doesn’t get enough attention already.

    • Annie Salness on April 1, 2018 at 1:42 am


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