Compared with other photos of her, this one showed me her whole face although I decided I would need to compose the painting so that it didn't appear as though we were looking down on her. If you are reading this because you might want to commission a painting of your pet, this is the single best piece of advice I can offer: do not photograph your pet from a position where you are looking down on him or her. Apart from anything else, the final painting is likely to be hung on a wall at a height that is taller than you are, so it will look very unnatural.
I sketched the dog out to size on canvas using dilute oil paint:
and started, as I almost always do, with her face:
I try and get the face to a point where I am certain that the dog is looking back at me. This is harder to do with some dogs than others if I only have a photo and have never met the dog. But I felt Jess appearing on the canvas pretty quickly, so that was nice.
Starting to block in the fur. Like the photo, it is looking a touch under exposed. I can't fiddle on the computer much when I only have a scanned snapshot to play with, so I will need to use my imagination.
Putting a bit more fur definition in and adding the background in parallel. Nearly finished now. And this is the lovely Jess in the frame chosen by the customer: