Please note that all images in this gallery are copyrighted by the artist and may not be reproduced without permission.
Original Watercolor Portraits by Janet L. Wissmann

Welcome to page 4 -- my clients' gallery. Here you can read a few personal stories written by clients who commissioned me to paint their pets. Next page will take you back to the beginning, where you'll find portrait prices and ordering information.
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Doug -Harlequin Great Dane

Doug's owner says,
"Doug's painting came yesterday and we're thrilled!!!!!!!!!! Every time i go past it (it's on the dining room table for safety) and look at it i smile. I'm so happy with it. It's so flattering! I know he has a funny colored eye and you were able to show that but not make it so obvious. You're so good! I also love the matting you chose. I knew i was right to leave it up to you.
"We both worked late yesterday and then about 8pm we thought to check UPS delivery in the garage. There it was. I was so careful opening it but you had wrapped it so well. It came in perfect condition. It's amazing how you got the little spots he has on his skin that don't transfer into his hair color but still show thru. Does that make sense? I absolutely love it. Maybe this week i can take it to the framers. But i think i'll keep it around for a little bit just to look at it. He's so cute! Thank you thank you thank you!"   Janet says, "The photo session of Mr. laid-back Doug, in preparation for the painting, was so funny. I kept trying to get him to look excited or attentive or impressed, but he would have none of it. Finally, finally, finally, I got a few photos where he looked at least mildly interested in something. And this painting is the very fine result."

-Golden Retriever
OTCh Gun'N Gold Grease Lightning UDX MH***
"Newt was that once-in-a-lifetime dog. He excelled in obedience and the field-- attaining his Obedience Trial Championship, Utility Dog Excellent, Master Hunter, and winning a Qualifying Stake in a field trial to become All Age Qualified (***), all before his third birthday. At the time he was the first Golden to ever accomplish all of these U.S. titles. What made him truly special was his devotion to me. A 'velcro dog' that always wanted to be with me above all else. Sadly he was taken away from me by cancer at seven years of age.
"I do take great comfort from the wonderful portrait Janet did of my Newtie. I'm lucky enough to have had Janet do all six of my dogs and they are one of my most cherished possessions. These portraits hang in my bedroom where I can enjoy them every day. Nothing will replace Newtie, but being able to enjoy his portrait makes the loss a little easier. I thank Janet for that." --Jinny Addington, Illinois

NOTE CARDS OF THIS GOLDEN PAINTING: I have a lot of notecards of this Golden Retriever available for sale! They are gorgeous. See this page for more info or just call now to order. $3.00 per card includes shipping. Checks and credit card (thru paypal) are accepted.
In the United States, Golden Retrievers come in two very different types: field dogs (hunting retrievers) and conformation show dogs. Newton's intense red-gold color and white chest are strong clues that he comes from field-dog bloodlines, and his accomplishments with Jinny prove it. I loved painting Newt; his eyes, his expression, his coloring, his beautiful coat, and his strong Retriever personality are irresistible to a watercolorist! Thanks, Jinny, for having me paint your one-of-a-kind pal for you - Janet

Figgie -Golden Retriever
OTCh Topbrass Whiskey Sour UDX***
"Even though Figgie's portrait sits on another of Janet's pages, I asked her to include him here as well. Figgie was a total character since day one. He never did anything the easy way - he picked the way which was the most fun to him. The essence of Figgie was 'give me lemons and I'll make lemonade'. I believe Janet captures that special twinkle in his eye that belies what made Figgie such a special dog in my heart. You just had to enjoy all his quirks and laugh with him through all his antics. Sadly I just lost Figgie at five to cancer and that doesn't seem quite fair but like his uncle Newtie (pictured on this clients' gallery page too) I'm lucky enough to have Janet's wonderful water color to remember him by. My closing comment is 'do your portrait now -- who knows what life will hold'. I have an eight-month old Golden puppy, 'Special Ed', who I will certainly put in the queue once he matures enough to be painted by Janet.--Jinny Addington  Janet says, "I am glad that Jinny commissioned me to paint Figgie while she was actively showing him in obedience trials and such; it was at the shows that I had the opportunity to take the photos that I worked from to make this painting."

-Great Pyrenees

(Pyrenean Mountain Dog) - CH. Killaloe McRoi's Majeur Majeur
Major's owner says,
Something that always made us laugh was Major's aversion to rain. One rain drop on his nose and he was pounding at the door to come in...yet he never minded a bath and he would lie on the deck under a foot of snow happy as could be! Didn't hate water unless it was in the form of rain!!
"I also have fond memories of choosing which photo to use when you painted him...I recall your choice was a very elegant, regal look which was gorgeous but I chose the 'smiley' one. I debated with myself endlessly, thinking, 'She's the artist, she knows best'....but I'd look at the one I liked and know this is the face I see smiling at me first thing in the morning and last thing at night. I see the painting on the wall now and am so comforted and know I made the right choice! Not to say he never looked elegant or regal, but mostly he just always had a smiley, happy expression!
"I remember well choosing him [as a pup]. It was Murphy's first breeding and we went to Ohio when the puppies were just over a week old. As I had 'pick of the litter', I was very taken by one of the other males and pretty much decided on him. When we went back out at 10 weeks to get the puppy, I changed my mind and chose Major!! I have no rational explanation, I just knew he was the one, the dog of my heart, I guess and that never changed. And it was mutual. Of all the dogs we've had, he was the one who loved me the most...he always acted like I was the most perfect human being ever made, and so as to not disappoint him I tried to live up to his expectations and actually be as good a person as he seemed to think I was!! From him I learned to be more patient, to relax and just appreciate moments of little pleasures. He surely taught me how to de-stress and to recognize what was important and what wasn't."
--Nora McDonald, Pennsylvania   

Ltd. Edition Print, A Very Special Pleader - Great Pyrenees Buy my "Very Special Pleader" Pyr print here »

Niles - American Shorthair Cat
"I received the portrait, too beautiful for words... "...The toughest part about losing Niles was the manner in which he passed. Being a veterinarian, it felt as though I had failed at a most basic level. He will always be with me, but having the picture of him is like actually having him back and being able to keep him forever. There is life in Janet's paintings and no one who has seen them can deny it." --Jennifer Styrsky, Illinois    
Janet says, "I find the classic tiger cat with agouti coloring to be one of the most fun and challenging subjects to paint in watercolor. The varying bands of color in each hair, and then the way they are played out in the patterns in the fur can produce some amazing effects and textures. Niles's coat is no exception.
To the casual observer, this beautiful cat may have what at first appears to be only basic earthtones of ecru, yellow ochre, brown, and gray. But to a watercolorist like me who loves both color and cats, Niles is bejeweled with an onyx-and-diamond necklace, ebony-rimmed coral nose, sparkling emerald green eyes, and whiskers of sterling silver. Of course, to Jennifer he was priceless."

Farica (Max) -Lipizzan Stallion

"Janet, Max is now 26 years old! Can you believe it? Like most old men he has no teeth, but manages to eat well anyway. He is a real sweetheart, still loves the girls, but a perfect gentleman. I remember well the day you met us to take his picture. You know, you did a picture of him many years before, when he was still dark. And you also did that picture of Turkey, (Silver Dream), my first Grand Champion Russian Blue. They all have places of prominence in the house." --Dayle Marsh, Chicago
Janet says, "I arranged to meet up with Dayle and her daughter for a photo session at the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison, Wisconsin, where Max was on display as a splendid example of a Lipizzan stallion. In order to get good photographs of Max showing pleasing angles and proportions, I needed to use my telephoto lens. That meant I had to stand about 15 feet away from him. Normally that would not be a problem, but that day a constant stream of admiring horse lovers kept walking in front of my lens. Now, I do have to admit that Max deserved every bit of the attention...but...Hmmph.Upstaged by a horse. Dana managed to get Max to do his version of the famous Lipizzaner bow, and this painting is the result. It is a study of white on white. I only wish this little picture could show one-tenth the beauty of the original watercolor painting, but, unfortunately, subtle colors and shading don't always reproduce well. The original painting is full of pure white and pastel greens and pastel blues and pastel yellows. And it shows off Max's beautiful lines and form. There's nothing like an original. Take another bow, Max. You deserve it!"


Harbo - Bernese Mountain Dog (Berner Sennenhund)
Harbo's owner says,
"Harbo, who was named after his uncle Harpo, was born in my living room and turned out to have the best show career of the 10 pups in his litter. Janet's painting captures his striking beauty and dignity." --J. Jerry Uhl

Janet says,
Here's another painting that turned out beautifully, I think in part because Jerry once again gave me free rein to paint what I saw. In Harbo I saw a beautiful king of beasts who enjoyed the view from on top his own mountain which, in very flat central Illinois, just so happened to be a picnic table. --Janet

See my very special page for BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOGS only » »

Murphy -Great Pyrenees(Pyrenean Mountain Dog)
Murphy's owner says,
There have been very few times in my life when I've been speechless but when I opened that package and saw Murphy looking at me, I was mute! I expected that it would be good, but it's way beyond good, it's breathtaking. You have surely been blessed with a precious talent -- not only your work but the ability to use it in a way that creates so much joy. I can never thank you enough -- you captured the very essence of Murphy's personality -- those eyes and that subtle message that I call his 'I am the king' look (Some call it arrogance!) I am so pleased, it will always be treasured and I truly hope that you are every bit as happy with your creation as we are." --Nora McDonald, 28 August 1999
"I might add that 8 years later at age 13 1/2 he is still giving us that 'look'...and he is still the king!!! Thanks again for everything Janet, who knew that day long ago when you were running around at that show in Indiana snapping pictures of Pyrs that we would be surrounded and blessed by the treasures you have given us!!" --Nora, 15 August 2007 -
  Buy my Pyr print, A Very Special Pleader »

Ti and Brady
-Bernese Mountain Dogs
(Berner Sennenhunden)
"When I met Jan, she suggested painting the boys together. She captured both of them so very well. Jan has become yet another 'one-is-not-enough' habit for me. She has painted four of my six Berners to date. Once she painted one of my dogs and didn't tell me about it. What a wonderful surprise it was when I looked at the painting at the specialty and said to a friend: 'That dog looks a lot like Piper --oh, it is Piper!'
"Thank you Jan for all the wonderful art in my house and for capturing each of my dogs in such fine detail!
" --Sherrie Start, MichiganBrady: Remrock's Rough Ryder CDX, DD; Ti: Remrock's Taiga UD
Sherrie allowed me some creative license when it came to the layout of this painting. I suggested a very vertical painting that would emphasize the white blazes and white chests of the dogs. We both agree that the result was quite nice. --Janet   Sherrie writes more about Ti and Brady:"Taiga was six months old when he came to live with me and he was my first Berner. Little did I know then how habit-forming Bernese Mountain Dogs can be! I wanted a well-behaved dog so I took my boy to obedience classes--another habit that some say got out of hand. Soon a friend of mine encouraged, no hounded me, to enter Ti in Novice A. We managed a CD in four shows and I was off to a lifetime training career. Brady joined the family when he was 19 months old. We finished his CD in three shows. Now both dogs were in Open and showing at the same time. Nothing like making life interesting! The boys both finished their CDXs and went on to Utility. Ti earned his UD but after one leg Brady decided he really didn't want to do that anymore, and I finally got the message. But he loved to pull his cart and nothing could make him happier. He earned both his Novice Draft Dog title and his Draft Dog title through the Bernese Mountain Dog Club of America (BMDCA). - See my Berner artwork »


-Bernese Mountain D
(Berner Sennenhund)
"Jasper is our second Berner, and this is the second portrait Janet painted for us. You see, our Heart of Michigan Bernese Mountain Dog Club surprised my husband John with Janet's portrait of Ruby (our first Berner) in thanks for work he did on behalf of our organization, and we were both blown away by it! The depth of that portrait always amazes me--as if I can reach out and stroke Ruby's beautifully soft coat by touching Janet's water color. You find yourself just staring at the painting and wondering how it can be a water color with so much clarity, depth, and life! So when Jasper came along, we knew that Janet and Jasper needed to meet.
"While in between agility and obedience trials at the West Virginia national specialty in 2002, Jasper and I played eye contact games and Janet snapped photos of him. I remember how the wind was blowing and it fluffed up his ear fuzzles (which we love) and his very, very long chest hair. How could we resist? No photo ever taken of Jasper could capture his expressive face, his gentle but mischievous eyes, and his ever-present smile. Janet got it all! He's 9 now but he still gives us that same look--and it makes us smile. We're also so glad that we have Janet's Ruby to remind us of our wonderful first Berner baby. Thanks, Janet, for your talent and friendship (and for the Very Special Pleader and Berner Sympathy prints that are proudly displayed in our home)." --Kathleen Feeney, Rockford, Michigan August 2007    - Kathleen mentions clarity and depth of my watercolor technique. You can see extreme close-ups of this painting of Jasper on this page.--Janet

Ch. Sonsie's Call Me Isabel CD RN
"I've been lucky enough to have had Janet capture six of my dogs on canvas and she excels in capturing the essence of each individual dog. With each of my portraits I can look into their eyes and know I am looking at my dog, not a generic rendition of the breed (and Janet has certainly done her fair share of Otterhounds!)" --Jinny Addington
Jinny is right; I've painted my share of Otterhounds, especially since there are only about 400 registered in the United States. I really appreciate the opportunity to paint them. The faint colors and the shiny appearance of the ears can be difficult to paint. In the beginning, when the paper is only a blank white sheet before my eyes, I tend to think that I'm adding too much color to an Otterhound painting. But as the darker sections take shape, the lighter areas can be filled in more and more, too. Watercolor painting is tricky in that it requires the artist to envision the layering of darker and darker layers of paint before they are applied, because once the pigments are laid down, there is no turning back. If you'd like to understand more of what goes into my watercolor pet portraits, visit this page. --Janet

Littles -Bernese Mountain Dog(Berner Sennenhund)
"Littles was a son of a Berner born in my living room. He looked a lot like his father-- hence the name Littles. (Aside from having a terrible bite, he had no conformation faults.) As you can see from Janet's painting, he was an action dog. I will never forget the special care he took of me during the time I was being treated for cancer; he seemed very concerned whenever I would cough--a very sympathetic friend." --J. Jerry Uhl, Illinois
Littles had really interesting, intense Berner eyebrows. You'd think that it's a minor thing that wouldn't matter all that much, but in fact those red eyebrows' shape and placement can make a big difference in the expression of a dog. His eyebrows were angled a bit downward, which in some dogs might make for a stern expression; yet it's obvious here that his broad smile and playful demeanor countered those eyebrows quite effectively! This is one more painting where Jerry allowed me to choose the pose I thought would be most artful, and we both are very happy with what came out of it. --Janet

See my special page for BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOGS » »


-Border Collie

VX Ch and OTCH Gymbaroo Tried and True UDX, HX
"Smasher is the first and only American Kennel Club dog in history to have won four Best in Shows, achieved his Obedience Trial Championship, earned a Utility Dog Excellent degree, and be a mere six points away from his Herding Championship."

Smasher has titles that take up as much space as his name! I am pleased and honored to have painted this outstanding Border Collie. Wow! --Janet

ZenMaster Max -Bernese Mountain Dog
(Berner Sennenhund)
Max's owner says,
"Janet, the thing I love the most about the portrait you did of Max is the way it captures the light in his eyes and his smile. That's what really speaks to me every time I look at the portrait (or one of the cards). I have a new Berner boy... he came to me last fall as a two year old (long story) and people told me that he reminded them of Max. At first I couldn't see why folks thought there was a resemblance, but then I realized it was the eyes - he has the same warm open expression and a twinkle in his eye like Max - and he's walked right into my heart! I'm looking forward to introducing him to you...and we can talk about another portrait. Thanks again so much - I continue to use the Max cards and it gives me great pleasure to be able to send his face out to my friends.

"ps - I especially love the golden picture of Figgie on your website - the warmth and detail are fabulous! Although I've always thought your portraits were marvelous, they continue to get better. I think this is one of your best!"
"Janet, not to get too 'woo -woo' on you, but after our exchange of emails yesterday about Max's portrait, I had an amazing dream last night where I was looking for Max and he was waiting for me at my house - with a HUGE smile, all cuddly and happy to see me. I woke up feeling great - it was such a wonderful way to think of him, and I know it's because he's been on mind talking to you about your picture of him. The picture is hanging in a prominent spot in my dining room and continues to give me the best memories of a wonderful partner. The portrait was certainly the best investment I could have made to have his continued presence in my house. Thanks for giving me more than just a picture of a dog!" --Ruth Nielsen, Seattle, Washington 
See my special page featuring only BERNESE MOUNTAIN DOG artwork » »

Riley and Timmy - Golden Retrievers
Timmy's and Riley's owner says, "We met Jan at an art fair in Michigan one week after we had adopted our second Golden, Timmy. Riley and Timmy both came from the same human family, so we say they are brothers. It was Jan's excellent idea to paint them side by side to show their closeness. I never knew watercolor could capture such texture and detail! Both my guys are getting old now, and I'll be forever grateful to have this beautiful portrait of them."

Janet says,
This Golden painting was a lot of fun! It was a challenge, though, beginning with the photo session. To my recollection, in April there wasn't much shade around, and since shade and cloudy days make for the best photos, we had to walk around the house out back to find appropriate conditions. And we had to fuss a bit to get similar angles of each dog since they'd be sitting beside each other in the painting. Yet, look at those smiles those guys gave us! Riley and Timmy are charming dogs. They are quite talented, too! Timmy is a READ dog, and Riley passed his Canine Good Citizen test at the advanced age of 11! --Janet

The next page shows how to commission a painting, and prices.
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Janet L. Wissmann, Watercolorist
Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin __ph. (608)624-5511 _9am-9pm Central Time Zone
home page - see more artwork, and PRINTS at

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