Watercolour Pet Portraits

Pig and Dog (detail) by Shan Crosbie

Pig and Dog (detail) by Shan Crosbie

Watercolour Pet Portraits
With Shan Crosbie

Tuesday, 6pm – 8:30pm *New time!
Thursday, 6pm – 8:30pm

25 February – 2 April 2020

Watercolour Pet Portraits is designed to be a fun and accessible workshop series suitable for both beginners and experienced painters. Local artist Shan Crosbie will share her passion and experience for painting animals and will guide you to develop new skills, confidence and enthusiasm for watercolour painting. Shan will break down the basics of watercolour painting through a guided exploration of new techniques and materials and will offer extensive opportunities for both group and one-on-one learning tailored to each individual’s needs.

You’ll discuss what makes your pets amazing, and start to learn how to capture their unique features and personalities through paintings. You’ll practice close looking, sketching and composition, and will work towards a series of final paintings that you and your furry friend can be very proud of. 

About Shan Crosbie

Shan Crosbie

Shan Crosbie

Shan Crosbie is a passionate animal advocate and artist whose multidisciplinary arts practice explores the multitude of different relationships between humans and animals. Shan is an experienced painter who specialises in human and animal watercolour and oil portraits. Most notably, in 2016, Shan exhibited a body of approximately 80 watercolour portraits of pigs and dogs in a popular exhibition at Belconnen Arts Centre. She holds a Master of Fine Art from RMIT and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Art History from the Australian National University. Shan has exhibited both nationally and internationally and was selected as a finalist for the Incinerator Art Award: Art for Social Change in 2018.

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Week 1: Introduction

After a fun introductory chat about pets and painting, the course will start off by going back to basics. Perfect for both absolute beginners to start playing around with watercolours as well as for experienced painters to explore new techniques and materials. 

Week 2: Sketching for watercolour painting

Thinking about how to draw your household critters in preparation for your paintings. You’ll look at how animal bodies are put together, how they move and what makes them each so unique. You’ll be learning how to draw guidelines for your watercolour paintings, and you’ll start to see how you can make great paintings from these sketches.

Week 3: Looking up-close

Getting up close and personal with your animal friends and exploring all things fur, scales, whiskers and feathers. Working from close-up photos of your pets, you’ll be putting into practice your new brush skills and colour mixing techniques. 

Week 4: All about the eyes (and nose!)

Learning to put that spark into your pets’ eyes that brings the portrait to life. You’ll be working from close-up photos to practice painting delicate reflections, shapes and colours that work together to make your pets’ eyes so expressive. 

Week 5: Composition and preparing your paper

In this week you’ll be thinking about the final painting(s) that you want to work on for the last two weeks. You’ll be exploring ways of composing your paintings and preparing your paper for a finished painting that is ready to frame. 

Week 6: Finishing touches and when to stop

Continuing to work on major paintings. Tricks for adding winning finishing touches and most importantly learning how to know when to stop! To conclude the workshops, there will be time at the end to display some of your favourite work and celebrate your achievements together. 



All materials will be provided.

What to bring

Reference photos of your pet (printed preferred). Reference photos will be discussed further in the first class so don’t worry if you only have one or two (or none) at the beginning. Shan will also bring some for participants to use. 


Thursday workshops are sold out; only Tuesday workshops are available for enrolment. Please note, enrolment closes one week prior to the first workshop.

  • Refunds are available if requested at least one week (7 days) prior to the commencement of the workshop(s).
  • Refunds requested within one week (7 days) of the commencement of the workshop(s) are only available in exceptional circumstances and must be supported by documentation (i.e. medical certificate).
  • No refunds will be given after the commencement of the workshop(s).
  • Partial refunds are not available if you are unable to attend individual workshops that are part of a workshop series.

More info

Please contact Belconnen Arts Centre via email, or phone (02) 6173 3300.