Saturday, January 15, 2011


I am excited to announce the official launch of the Canine Portrait Project. If you made your way to this blog you probably know most or all of the details by now, but I would still like to start by introducing myself and the project.
My name is William Gilliam, but you can call me Wil. I have loved making art for all of my life and I primarily love to paint. I am passionate about animals of all kinds and endlessly interested in them. I find dogs to be particularly fascinating. I am amazed at the diversity that mankind has urged this animal group to express.  I am also, like many people, captivated by the emotional connections a person can have with a dog.
Naturally, because of my interest in both art and dogs, I have ended up doing many portraits of peoples canines. I enjoy making portraits of pets, I feel that I am pretty good at it, and I have been wanting to have a larger catalogue of dog art for some time. When a new friend told me about a fundraising website called I knew I had to try it out and the Canine Portrait Project was born.

Basically I am going to paint 150 portraits of dogs. Currently the AKC recognizes just over 150 breeds, but many are slight variations that closely resemble other breeds. I decided that 150 was a nice, round, somewhat manageable number. In addition approximately 15 of these portraits will be mutts.
In one months time using the system of raising funds I secured $5000 in funding to pay for the materials to make all of these paintings, the cost of creating limited edition giclee prints of the art, and the cost to self publish a book containing all 150 portraits.

I could not and would not be doing this if it werent for the incredible generosity of 28 wonderful people who pledged their money to back my dream. I know that a lot of people are struggling right now and that money is never easy to come by, so the fact that these people used theirs for the sake of my art project gives me a deep sense of responsibility to create something awesome.

I wanted to start this blog as a way of collaborating with these backers, other friends and family, and the public. I will post lots of pictures and updates showing the artwork in progress, passing along stories of peoples pets, showing page layouts for the book etc. In return I am hoping for a lively comments section and lots of feedback and suggestions. I welcome any advice, and I am really hoping to get some great ideas from this community of art and dog lovers we are building. So please dont be shy!!! I am nice and I will be kind if you comment!

Lastly I would like to ask you to spread the link to this blog around, its bound to have tons of content and the more input the better I believe. I also need many many pictures of dogs. I will keep a running list of breeds needed. I am really hoping to get submissions for all breeds and not have to source random dogs to make a portrait. I feel like it would be something really special if all 150 dogs in my book were submitted by people who knew about the project and wanted their best friend immortalized!!

Thank you so much for your interest in my project, please stay tuned and check back often. Im going to be painting like mad!!!!


This is our girl dog Shaka.


  1. Wonderful!!! I am so happy that your dream of this project is becoming a reality!


    This is Suzy. She is an elderly (~13 years) border collie. She was owner-released to the pound for "chasing the livestock". Since border collies were bred for herding, it was no big surprise she was doing what instinct told her. I adopted her from the pound the day before they were going to euthanize her and brought her home. That was 11 years ago and she has proven to be the most intelligent and loyal dog I've ever known. She nursed me through cancer, never leaving my side the whole time I was undergoing chemotherapy. I swear she understands English! She's getting older now and is no longer as able to keep up as well as she once did, but she gets a pass because, well, it's Suzy! :-)

  3. Prarie...
    What a beautiful dog and wonderful story. She is so sweet looking! If you dont mind I would like to use Suzy as the Border Collie for my book, and make a painting of her from those pictures. Thank you so much for sharing your story, give old Suzy a scratch from us!!

  4. I found my way to your blog, and wanted to say hello. HELLOOOOOoooO!

    I love what you are doing. My mommy is an artist too, and has done many animal pieces, some of me and my furry American Eskimo mix sister, Nala. I'm quite an expressive character, but I'm not a full-breed... I'm a female Belgian Shepherd mix. Mixes do have a lot to offer as well. ;)

    If you're ever up to doing mixed breeds, I invite you to visit my site. :)

    Happy woofs & weekend hugs,


  5. Hi Bailey
    Thanks for the kind words. I visited your site and really liked it. THere will be a section in my project for mutts, in fact I have already completed one portrait of a German Shepherd cross named River. Stay tuned for more, and thanks for looking!!!