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Olly is my friend’s  husband’s dog. He is also a friend to Hailey, featured in the previous post. I really enjoyed painting these two collies. Olly is the Rough Coat Collie, like Lassie of TV fame. The one thing I had to concentrate on, throughout painting him, was that his painting may hang with the one I did of Hailey.  This is why I faced him left. That way, when they hung on the wall,  they would face each other. The other thing I had to be aware of is that they would look better if paintied in much the same style, using the same color scheme. That is why the background is the same and I approached sculpting the forms of his face similar to the way I painted Hailey. I have never attempted something like this before, so that was a learning experience.


Above is my initial drawing. I had to draw him twice. The first attempt was way off!  I had trouble with getting the length and width of his nose correct. I used cross hairs the second time and that did the trick. My perspective had been off.


Olly had white hairs running through his coat, so I frisketed those. I also frisketed the highlight in his eyes as well as the lighter areas to either side of his iris and began adding the first tentative strokes of color.


This step was largely sculpting the nose forms and studying where I would need to have lighter color under darker color. I felt a need to establish the darkness of the eye because many of the darks in Olly’s coat matched the values found in his eyes. I pinked the nose as my initial step on that and pinked the shapes on the inside of his ears. These were all the lighter colors I saw under and around the darker values I had yet to render.


In this step, I did most of my painting. I frisketed the pink dots on Olly’s nose. I darkened the areas of dark coat in the way I read the patterns. I frisketed more of the long hairs from his ears so the would show up after laying in the background. I, then painted the background in. I knew I’d need to do that so I could finish my darks in his ears and his nose and have the correct value tones. So many times, I have painted the background in, only to find I had to retouch the portrait because the background lightened the foreground dramatically. At this stage, I always know how I am going to finish a painting. I have enough information down and it is just a matter of detailing and getting the darks to read right.

Olly  finished painting

In the last step I  detailed the darks in the ears and painted in some of the white hairs that poked out from around them. I detailed the nose and mouth, darkened the darker portions of pattern in his coat, erased the frisket and worked on softening some of the edges around those frisketed patches.  I darkened the whites on either side of his iris and painted a faint shadow under the upper lid of his eye. I added the whiskers with a rigger.  The last thing I did was shadow the coat under Olly’s chin with a mixture of the blue I used for the background and a light touch of the browns I had used. I also shadowed the white patch of his coat in the lower right hand corner for balance.

A huge thank you to my friends for sending me the photos to use for reference, so I could paint these two beautiful dogs!    🙂



  1. Whoa! What an amazing beauty. It is a perfect match for the first one. (I may like the first one just a teeny bit better because a smooth collie is more exotic, to me anyway!). But wow, what a pair! Delicate and wonderful.

    • That’s okay to be biased to liking one over the other, I think. I do think it is the exotic look of the smooth coat. Good choice of words to describe the difference, Cindy, because I had to be very careful to carve Olly’s face in a similar fashion. The other thing I wanted to pass on was to make him appear decidedly masculine and I hope I accomplished that. Thank you for that “delicate” comment. That was something I searched for, also in these! 🙂

  2. What a gem! Both the dog, and your painting! Now, I must go look at Hailey!

  3. Oh my goodness, Leslie! Ollie is beautiful and so is your take him. This is so precious. Many thanks for posting. 🙂

  4. This is beautiful, Leslie! I love your play by play descriptions and the way you “sculpt” his features! Love it!

  5. He is magnificent , a competitor for the previous one, love your process, felt like you were sculpting out of clay or a rock!

  6. I think Olly is even prettier than Hailey! What a beautiful couple those two make and I like that you painted them so they face each other on the wall. Beautiful work, Leslie, and I enjoyed seeing the steps.

    • Thank you for commenting on them being a couple. Perhaps I did pull off a decidedly masculine look to Olly? I am glad I thought about that facing each other thing when I was selecting the reference photos to use for this project. I could have, easily, not considered that until I was finished and how dorky that would have looked, like they were in single file on the wall, Ha! Thank you, Sherry!

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    • Posted February 6, 2013 at 8:23 am
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    God, Leslie. You are off the charts!!!!! This is outrageously beautiful. He is so regal. I want to just sit with him, and I’m not even a “dog person”. Your progression photos are a tremendous gift/joy as well. I always forget to do that. You, in fact, are the reason it ever occurred to me. Wonderful watching Your steps; but YOU steps are ALL BEAUTIFUL! Thank You!!! Cheers and Namaste. 🙂

  7. stupendous, Leslie! You did such beautiful work with both of these gorgeous collies. Thank you for giving us the step-by-step photos and work processes. What a special pair of portraits–bravo!

    • Thank you, Sheryl! Hope you are have a great time this winter. We miss you for sure.

  8. I’m really loving these dog portraits. Just makes me want to hug them.

    • Thank you for this comment, Gretchen. I consider you the “guru” of animal painting.

  9. Love it!!

  10. i have seen you do a ton of animals, yet I am always in awe of your work, with their expressions, muscle tone and color, you are a marvel Les.

    • Wow! You made my day, Tracey. You, of all people, know the time it takes me to do these and that it is first in the drawing…… Thank you.

  11. My favorite detail is his nose! There is a lot of subtle light happening there.

    • Believe me, Al, you hit it on the nose. If I had just painted it flat gold tones, that is just what it would have looked like, “flat”. Thank you, because, with a home photo, it is often left up to a bunch of squinting and experimenting to get it right.

  12. This is a lovely companion piece. I have always loved rough collies and had one for a few years after college. Albert Payson Terhune was one of my favorite authors growing up.

    • How very interesting, the Terhune books about “Lad”. Probably while you were busy doing that, Ruth, I had my nose buried in Walter Farley’s Black Stallion books. Thank you!

  13. Leslie, this is stunning! I love seeing your step by step process and as I read your detailed account of how you painted it and the techniques you used I am reminded again of why you are a professional artist and I am a would be artist – I just slap the paint on (I don’t even pay heed to the specific colour name!) and hope for the best!! This is superb!

    • Hi Nic,
      I feel like a “would be” artist all the time, so you just made my day!. I am constantly in search of new ways to explore and create. Sometimes I feel like I have crashed and burned, only to be inspired to get up and try again. I try to remember color names so I can share them with you and my students, just in case you would like to try them. Thank you, again, Nic! 🙂

  14. Hi Leslie
    I love this work.
    Your sketch is so full of care.
    Getting this right is such a journey

    and the build-up is beautiful.

    Your postings are always so inspiring

    • Hi Stephen,
      Thank you for the visit and the comment….. I get nowhere with a likeness unless I get the drawing down. Guess that stems from my background being, first, in graphite. 🙂

  15. A continuous inspiration. When I come to check you out, I go over your posts – no, I visit your gallery.

    It seems I can reach out and pet Ollie – though I know with service dogs that’s a no-no. You’ve done an exquisite job, Leslie. With BOTH Ollie and Hailey.

    • Oh, Olly? You can pet him. He is a pet. Hailey is the service dog. I’ve heard he, Olly, is FULL! of energy and he will play and play and play, Amy. 🙂 Thank you!

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