I was asked to paint a portrait of a very special Rhodesian ridgeback I met last year called Cairo – based all the way in South Africa. I don’t draw animals often, but I was delighted to take on the challenge.

With a reference photo at hand, I first drew the basic outline and features using a light pencil. Using watercolours, I painted the face, then moved outwards, building up different shades of brown as I went along. Some parts (like the ears and body) required folds, so I painted in some black shading first followed by the brown/orange shades.

I really wanted Cairo to stand out, so I added a black background. I also added in some white paint for certain features to make him pop even more.

I’m looking forward to sending a copy to South Africa, and getting back to landscapes. Let me know what you think!

Watercolour painting of a Rhodesian ridgeback by Irish artist Rachel Hill

Materials used:

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