"Portraits of Labrador retrievers "
Here are a few portraits of black, white or chocolate Labrador retrievers. These Labradors have their own stories. I 'm sure you will love them
Portrait of my black Labrador retriever
Drakkar, this black Labrador retriever, was my pet dog from 1988 to 2000. When he was young, we had a great time together in pheasant shooting parties. But he was a terrible poacher, retrieving all the game birds of the line in front of me.
As he grew older, he turned out to be a great pointing dog and we both became woodcock addicts. Hunting very quietly, just looking for this mythical bird. I was so proud of my gundog that I wrote many articles for magazines, where Drakkar was the hero.
It was normal to want to keep a portrait of this great friend, but the main obstacle was the fact that he was photo shy. As soon as I had a camera in my hands, he would take ridiculous poses. To get this snapshot, I adjusted my camera while he was sleeping in the sun sun and surprised him just as he was waking up.
The greatest difficulty then, was to paint a black dog. In watercolor, if you use black paint, it gives the illusion of a hole in the picture. The solution is to mix a dark blue, a red and a yellow to get a beautiful black. This black will have violet-blue, brown-red or dark-green highlights, depending on the ratio of each different color. I painted Drakkar hair by hair, using the smallest paint-brush, a 3/0. As this portrait is about 35x45 cm, it tooks me about three weeks to achieve it.
I intended to paint Drakkar lying like a sphinx, with his paws in front of him. But, when the head was painted, I discovered that my paper was too small for his paws.
Is'nt it stupid ?
Error of the youth. As a painter, I was about two years old, at that time.
My white Labrador retriever: "Porte-Plume"
When Drakkar became too old to hunt our mythical woodcocks a whole day , I visited my friend Frederique de Bellecisze who is an excellent Labrador retriever breeder. Since a painter is always looking for a dime to make a dollar, I didn't have enough money to purchase one of her lab pups. But since Frederique has always been one of my real fans, we made an exchange. For the price of my yellow Labrador retriever, she gave me a commission to paint a portrait of her daughter's dogs: two border collies. You have a photo of this portrait at the bottom of this page.
ThatÕs how I bought: Porte-Plume.

"Porte"= to carry and "Plume"= feather or pen
In French, "Porte-plume" means both "drawing pen" and "bird-retriever" ..
A great name for a Labrador, isn't it ?
When he was young, "Plume" was so white, that he was like silver shining. He just had very light golden reflects at the end of his tail, like a paint brush diped in an ink-pot.
He was a very young pup, three months old, when I first brought him hunting in the marshes.
I remember a shooting party at that time.
A friend of mine asked me to find one of his snipes in a jungle of reeds. Drakkar, my old black Labrador retriever, looked 4-month old "Porte-Plume" in the eye, and said :

- "Now, look carefully, pup, this is how the job is done". ".
Plume sat on his tail and watched his teacher at work. Drakkar looked at the place where my friend was standing, and started a large circle around him, nose up to catch the wind. All of a sudden, he caught a scent, turned his head towards this scent, crawled 2 or 3 meters very slowly and pointed, as still as a marble statue.
Then, Plume got up on his paws, followed the exact course of his teacher, paw by paw, step by step. He tried to catch the scent at the same place where Drakkar had caught it, turned left, crawling towards his master. As he was a pup, he crawled right under Drakkar's belly , till his head was under his teacher's one. With a flick of his head he pushed up Drakkar's nose to take his place. Suddenly, he caught the scent, his whole body became rigid and he pointed, holding the pose, straight as a wooden beam. After a short while, Plume suddenly charged to get the dead bird. He was so proud-looking, retrieving his snipe, head and tail up to show it to everyone of us !
I painted a portrait of Porte-Plume with his first snipe at the age of 3 months and 4 years later, this new portrait of my Labrador on the red checkered armchair,
If you are a painter, you can imagine the time it took me to paint these red lines and checks in watercolor ! And then to blur and darken it, to give this depth to the painting.

From the Home page, you will find a link to the comic strips showing my very young Labrador "Porte-Plume" hunting woodcocks.
Here is the last portrait of my white labrador painted in 2005.
He is paying with his toys and ask me to play with him.
It's the most uncredible detailed painting. (this photo is not so good) I 'll try to enhance it. I showed the work in progress, step by step, in the French pages, but didn't translated it yet.
You can have a look there.

At his feet, you have a plush labrador. It was rather hard to paint the matter of its fur, but I love the results.
Portrait of a Chocolate Labrador Retriever
I only painted chocolate Labradors twice. Both were for the same client. The first one was a portrait with his grandchildren playing with their pet, the second one was this portrait of his wife's daughter.
It was supposed to be a graphite pencil drawing, but I changed the commission for a watercolour portrait. Behind this young lady, I intended to have a dark brown background in the same shade as the chocolate Labrador's coat. Then her hair would have nearly blended in the background... But I soon realized that the darker the background, the paler her face became. So the final painting is a compromise. I think it could have been an interesting idea for an ink portrait. Later perhap's ?

Three interesting details:
- they have the same glance

- the reflects on the lab are the same color of her pull-over

-Their jewels have the same design

Black Lab in Scottland
I painted this Labrador retriever on commission through a gallery so I met the client by chance only a few months later. She was very happy about the painting. It was a gift for her father who owns he land seen in the background . It was very important that her father be able to recognize all his favorite fly-fishing spots on the river.
Can you see the trouts ?

Labradors Retrievers in my dogs paintings
WeÕve just seen some of my Labrador portraits. Now here are a few Labrador retrievers in my dog paintings. They are featured in a decor, representing their masters's hobby. To understand why I created these paintings, I recommend that you follow the "guided tour" and read my comments for each one. It' s fun most of the time.
You may also jump directly to these page, by clicking on the picture

Follow the guide
to my dogs paintings
Cliquez sur le drapeau, pour accéder à la version française du Musée du Chien
New Lab illustrated stories
1) The last Hunt of the season
2) The Retriever and the Pointer
Link your Labrador website to The Dog Museum