Paint Your Life Review: How I Finally Got a Portrait of My Old Benzy Dog

Dog Loss


Meg Marrs

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  • K9 of Mine Exclusive: 20% OFF! We’ve partnered with Paint Your Life to offer K9 of Mine readers 20% off their custom pet portrait – just use code K9OFMINE20 at checkout!

My dog Benzy passed away five years ago, and ever since I’ve wanted to get a portrait of him.

Benzy was actually the reason I decided to start K9 of Mine – after his passing, I found myself reflecting a lot about our time together, and all the stuff I wish I had known when I first got him. I decided I wanted to research dog care and share my findings with the world – hence, K9 of Mine was born!

Ever since Benz passed, I wanted a portrait of him. An artist friend of mine said he’d paint him, but that fell through.

Time went by and I got caught up in the day-to-day of life. Then I heard about Paint Your Life and decided it was finally time to get a portrait of my beloved buddy.

Paint Your Life’s portrait process is pretty simple. After the positive experience I had, I’m excited to share the process I went through with readers. I’ll walk you through the steps I went through to get my pet portrait and share some of the important decisions you’ll need to consider when commissioning a custom portrait.

Step 1. Choosing a Portrait Size

First things first – you have to choose which size portrait you want. I went with 20″ x 24″.

You can choose a number of sizes between standard portrait size 8″ x 10″ to the enormous 48″ x 72″.

It helps to consider where you plan on displaying your portrait. If you’re looking for a portrait to go on a nightstand or mantle, a smaller 8×10 size is best. For wall mounting, you have larger options, so consider the space you need the portrait to occupy and go from there.

Step 2. Portrait Medium (Paint, Pencil, or Charcoal)

Next, you’ll have to choose the medium you want your pet’s portrait painted in.

Paint Your Life offers a number of different mediums. If you’re not sure which medium you want, you might consider Googling a few different portrait styles, or look through some of the example pieces in Paint Your Life’s online gallery.

Options include:

  • Oil
  • Acrylic
  • Charcoal
  • Black pencil
  • Colored pencil
  • Pastel
  • Watercolor

I went with oil, as that’s the most popular portrait style and it tends to hold up really well over time.

Pricing varies based on the medium you choose, the size of the portrait you select, and the framing options want.

Step 3. Choosing Photos To Serve As a Model For the Portrait

Next, you’ll need to upload some photos of your dog, which the artist will use to base the painting off of.

These should be good quality photos where your pet is clearly visible and looking his or her best. You can let the artist choose which photo to work with, or specify which photo you want the artist to use as a base (although it’s still smart to upload several photos so that the artist can get a full assessment of your dog’s coloring, posture, and general look).

Here’s the main photo I decided to work with. Aw, even though he passed several years ago, my heart still melts to pieces when I look at this pic of my good old boy:

the sweetest of doggies

Step 4. Choosing An Artist To Work With

Next, Paint Your Life allows you to choose a specific artist, or simply let the system choose for you. If you really want a specific style or look, selecting a specific artist may be the way to go.


I decided to simply trust Paint Your Life’s judgment in choosing a painter.

Finally, you’ll get paired with an artist. Paint Your Life provides a messaging center where you can chat a bit with your artist about anything you’d like to tell them – maybe you want your dog’s coloring a bit different than shown in the photograph, or you want a black and white portrait even though the photograph is in color. You can hash it out with the artist and figure out a gameplan.

After that, just sit back and let your artist begin!

Step 5. The Portrait Painting Process & Edits

Paint Your Life sends emails updating you on the process of the painting, showing work-in-process photos, which also allows you the chance to request small adjustments or changes if you see something you’re not in love with.

My artist was a real champ – I had him go through around 7 rounds of edits and changes. I’ve never commissioned a portrait before, and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted.

At first, I asked the artist to darken my dog’s grey fur under his eyes so that he would have a more youthful appearance (since the photo we were working from was a picture of my dog in his senior years).

Then, when I saw the final painting online, I decided I wanted him to look more like he did in the photo, with more grey. I had the artist slowly add more and more grey back in… and then I asked him to actually subtract some grey again to reach a perfect mix that I was happy with.


I’m sure all my edits drove the poor artist crazy, but he was great about working with my edits and doing what I asked, even if I was being a bit of a portrait-zilla at times.

my persistent and lengthy edits

The Final Results: A Painting I’ll Treasure Forever

The end result was incredible. This is definitely my most treasured piece of art in my entire house now.

Don’t forget that K9 of Mine readers can get 20% off their own pet portrait with the code “K9OFMINE20” How cool is that?

Every time I look at this portrait, I remember all the wonderful years me and Benzy had together. I am so happy to finally have a gorgeous portrait of my beloved pooch!


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Written by

Meg Marrs

Meg Marrs is the Founder and Director of Marketing at K9 of Mine. She is a lifelong canine enthusiast and adores dogs of all shapes and sizes! She loves iced coffee, hammocks, and puppy-cuddling!

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