Nomi Wagner Portrait Artist

Two Doggies Are Ready for Their Close-up (A Case Study)

by Nomi Wagner

Meet Bailey and Simba, best friends forever.

They live in Maryland, with their adoring parents.

I received this email:

“Nomi, We would like a 30x40 close-up painting of our pups. Our home is all grays and blacks, so we think it would look great in black and white. Thank you so much for this and we look forward to working with you and making this idea a reality! We will send you photos.”

Below are a few of the many fun photos they sent. I always appreciate receiving lots of reference photos because I play detective when I paint. To create the most accurate likeness I can, I search for clues in all the reference sources.

Reference Photos

Work in Progress

I started by turning the color reference photos into black and white. I worked out the placement of Bailey and Simba’s heads in the composition, giving each of my stars equal billing.

I always email jpegs of my work in progress, for my clients to approve. When both my clients and I were satisfied with the positioning and cropping, I began drawing and painting the portrait in shades of gray, black and white.

As I painted stroke upon stroke, their personalities started to emerge. It’s very exciting for me to witness this phenomenon in each project. As a subject’s character develops, they come to life.

Bailey and Simba’s portrait is printed, signed, and ready to ship. I’m really happy with how it turned out.


This large close-up in black and white is different from anything I’ve painted before. I’m grateful for the challenge my clients gave me. I’ve painted an extra 1½ inches around the edges so their framer in Maryland can gallery wrap the portrait.

“Nomi, Thank you for showing us a jpeg of how it looks. We love it!!! We think it looks amazing and are so excited to see it in person! Thank you for all of your hard work. We will treasure the painting forever.”

Do you have a best friend who is a star in your life?

See them shine with a close-up on your wall!

Contact me. It’s fun!

(805) 985-3579