Wildlife paintings, portraits & pet portraits by New Zealand Artist Karen Neal


Pastel, 420x300mm

I knew this portrait was a little bit special, when a group of friends worked together as a surprise gift for their friend Amanda who was mum to Gussy. Loved drawing this gorgeous boy, and received this beautiful email from Amanda, which made me cry too! Love my job! I wasn't going to share her words on social media or my website, feeling they were rather personal, but Amanda wanted to share her words (I think those of us who have special relationships with our furry friends can definitely relate!) ...

“Dear Karen

Thank you... it doesn't sound enough but there are no other words.

For over 13 years those knowing, loving, tender eyes looked to me for guidance, security and leadership. His heart in return gave loyalty, commitment, reassurance, support and love that was beyond words. You got it, you got that soulful, responsible and faithfulness that he gave in his gaze for me. I had every intention on calling you but I struggle to talk without tears and we are almost a year on. He was my first born, my only born with 4 legs and he was more special than I could ever explain. To be fair, I have yet to stop hurting, missing and wishing he was still here. I know that will ease in time, until then, I pick my moments when I speak of him to ones that tissues are near.

The portrait is in at the framers and will be till late April, but I will send you a photo once it is back and hung. The spot has been chosen, as he always was, sitting at the dining table as we eat our family meal.

So once again, thank you...truely and honestly, thank you


I adapted the original photo on the left so Gus didn't have his wee tongue poking out, and removed Amanda's hand for the A3 composition, which was emailed to Amanda's friend who commissioned the painting as a surprise.

dog pastel painting

Here is Gus's portrait with the pastels I used, pan pastel, soft pastel and pastel pencil for detailing

Pastel painting by NZ artist Karen Neal

Still on the easel, prior to framing. Pastel can be a messy business!

pastel painting on the easel

A close-up of the painting

A further note from Amanda after having the portrait framed:
He's home❤ Sitting next to our dining table, where he nightly awaited ..just in case. Thank you once again, its a stunning piece of work. The framers were in awe. Our 3yr old (who can be left alone at the table for taking too long) said while sitting at the table, 'I'll never sit alone here anymore, Gus is here too, but dead'...other than the final 'only as a 3yr old could see it' words, it was very sweet!

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