Pet Painting #16 Reggie (Needs A Home)


“Reggie” Acrylic on 12×12 canvas

 Reggie, ID # 15527

“2 year old 42 lb male black and white Pit. Reggie is available for adoption at Suffolk Animal Care 514-7855. Reggie walks well on a leash and will sit upon command. He is active and would benefit from a large fenced yard in which to run and play. You can visit him in kennel # 31.”


Pet Painting #15 Bella Beth Von Coxburg


“Bella Beth Von Coxburg” Acrylic on 9×12 canvas panel

 “Squirrel! Squirrel!”

Bella is a feisty little dog that loves to chase squirrels and geese.  Don’t judge a tiny book by its cover, though.  She was raised with German Shepherds, so you better not get between her and a bone.

I decided to keep this one very loose and use bright blocks of color.  I like the way it turned out, and it more than makes up for my frustration with last night’s painting.  Plus, how can you look at that cute little face and not be happy?

Ever wondered about the history of toy dog breeds, well according to this article, they date back about 12000 years to the Middle East, where smaller dogs were most likely bred to fit into densely packed agricultural societies.  (They also may have been used for fur or food, but we will pretend they have always been pampered pets.)

Pet Painting #14 Cletus Junior


“Cletus Junior” Acrylic on 9×12 canvas panel

Tonight I was so tired that I’m just happy I got as far as I did on this one.  It’s not my best work, but I still think this puppy came out pretty cute.  This is Cletus Jr.  He was a puppy when I took this the reference photo for this painting at my friend’s mother’s house in Marion, VA, but now his is all grown up.  Cletus lives at a farmhouse out in the mountains and spends his days playing with my friend’s 8 year old niece and bothering the farm cat.

I might revisit this one again to touch it up and smooth out some of the rough patches.  I feel like it has potential, but isn’t quite there yet.  If I do any edits, I’ll post it again.  For now, though, it’s time to go to sleep, and tomorrow is another day and another painting!


Pet Painting #13 Sasha

Sasha edit
“Sasha” Acrylic on 11×14 canvas panel

I got asked to do a showing of my pet portraits.

Tonight took me a little longer than usual because I did an 11×14 instead of the usual smaller size.  The subject is my parent’s cat, Sasha.  In the photo, she’s lounging on a newspaper, so I gave her a pillow instead because, well, she’s a cat and she deserves a pillow.

This painting along with 5 others (yet to be created) will be on display for 8 weeks at one of the city municipal buildings in Suffolk.  I’m super excited to show my work for the first time, and I’m hoping it will give me some new clients, too.  For the next two weeks, every other painting will be a creation for this showing, so it’s still a mystery what will show up on this blog on those days!



Pet Painting #12 Oakley


“Oakley” Acrylics on 12×12 canvas


Bloodhounds are one of my all time favorite dogs.

I think my affection for them started when I saw the 1973 Disney animated version of Robin Hood. In the movie, there is a kindhearted dog named Otto, who is the village blacksmith.  They never specify what breed his is, but he’s totally a bloodhound.

Bloodhounds are one of those breeds that always look old.  They are big and droopy and sometimes kind of shy, but they are super sweet and they have crazy magic noses that can detect anything!

I also thought I would share my amazing artist’s studio with you today.  

It consists of a fancy chair that has been hand scratched by free range artisan cats, a white minimalist style chair that doubles as a computer stand, a vintage oak coffee table that has been danced upon by the feet of several small children to give it a distressed look, and my easel, which easily folds up so it can be thrown in a closet when company comes over.

If you are interested in an art studio like this, I recommend visiting your local thrift store or driving through your neighborhood to see what people have thrown out, grab several items that are already “broken in” and put them right in the middle of your living room. Voila! You now have an authentic Suzette Vida artists studio.

Here are some pictures:

Pet Painting #11 Domineaux Deux

“Domineaux Deux” Acrylic on 12×12 canvas

Here she is again!  I had to retry painting this perfect poofy poodle.  The first painting just didn’t do her justice, and she had no eyes! Now she has eyes and this painting is less about the landscape and more about the personality of the dog. . . and that awesome hairdo.

Pet Painting #10 Chester


“Chester” Acrylics on 12×12 canvas

He ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog.

Gonna keep this short and sweet because it’s soooooo late. Elvis didn’t realize this phrase is a compliment, not an insult.  Hound dogs like Chester are sweet, loyal, lovable, and adorable!  Just look at those eyes.

For this painting, I decided to use a mottled background in some of my favorite colors, and colors that coincidentally remind me of Mardi Gras.  Pet a hound dog today, and laissez les bon temps rouler!

Pet Painting #9 Tripp, Big Chief Puppahua, fearless leader of the tribe Cha-hooah-hooahs!

“Tripp” Acrylic on 9×12 canvas panel

 We love our pets and we lose our pets.

Since I’ve started this project, I’ve had several people request paintings of pets that have passed away.  It’s very rare to be outlived by a pet.  Many times throughout our lives we have several pets, and all of them live with us for several years, and then depart from our lives.  Many times the loss of a pet is our first experience with grief.  It’s also a point when many parents have to decide whether to tell a child that a pet has died or lie and spare them the pain.

I remember when my pet parakeet, Heathcliff, died when I was 5 or 6 and my mom said that she had to give him away because I didn’t take care of him.  Heathcliff was a blue and yellow bird that I loved dearly for about a week until we had to clean his cage and he bit my finger.  Then I pretty much hated his guts.  My mom still made up a story so that I wouldn’t have to deal with his death, and instead deal with the fact that after he bit me I had absolutely nothing to do with him anymore and she was left to take care of a bird I’m sure she only got because I begged her for him.

I have lied to my own children. We once adopted a sick kitten that had to be euthanized.  I thought that I would be totally honest with them, but when I got home late at night after having to have her put to sleep, all I could do was tell them that she went to “live with the vet”.

I also remember the first time I knew a pet had died. Our cocker spaniel, Mitzy, was hit by  a car, and it was the first time I really grieved over the death of someone.

Pets are great companions, but they are also a great lesson in loving an losing someone.  I hope that the people who receive paintings of pets that they loved and lost will look at them and be reminded of how important that pet was and feel lucky to have been able to be a part of the entire life from beginning to end.

Thank you to my cousin Catherine for the awesome title of this piece!



Pet Painting #8 Trixie and Kim

 Trixie and Kim

A portrait of two best friends.

I don’t know Trixie or Kim.  The reference photo was sent to me to by a good friend of Kim’s, but I can tell you just from looking at the photo that Kim loves Trixie and Trixie loves Kim.

Painting a pet a day this whole past week has shown me just how much people love their pets.  These animals that we take into our lives are family, and the love between a pet and its person is both visible and visceral.  I’m thankful that I get to give my interpretation of this relationship to my friends and family as well as people I’ve never met before.

Below are some progress pics of this double portrait.  I painted it with my limited acrylic palette that I’ve grown so fond of this past week.  I enjoy painting people just as much as I enjoy painting pets, so this one was double the fun!


Pet Painting #7 Rolo


My cousin says this dog has “an attitude of gratitude”.

He just looks so happy, and I love that.  I love that about dogs in general.   We spend all day getting angry and stressed over everything, and they just roll over and smile.  I’m going to try and have an outlook on life like Rolo and not let all of the little things make me bitter, just enjoy life as often as possible and not worry about what tomorrow holds.  Today I have a loving family, a roof over my head, and so much more for which I can be grateful.

I just wish that everyone could find someone to scratch behind their ear—enjoy it, roll over and smile.

Here are some progress pics: