I've spent some time on this painting. The art collector commissioned two portraits of their Labrador Retriever. The first painting (seen here) features the dog in its adolescence. The second portrait will feature the dog as she is currently at 14 years of age.
The background of this painting is a meadow behind their home. In the reference photo the skyline is almost nonexistent with a slight splash of blue clouds in one small corner. Also, the meadow is laden with the beautiful blooms shown in the painting. However, the blooms were minimized in the painting. The bright color of the blooms combined with the thick blanket of them in the reference photo somewhat stole the show from the dog.
To ensure the dog was the focal point, the blossoms were minimized. The skyline was also greatly increased with a change in direction to draw the view into the focal point.
Gift items with an image of this painting are on my cafepress store at http://www.cafepress.com/dawnsecord
Now off to wrap the painting for delivery and finish portrait number 2.