Fine acrylic painted portraits of beloved pets on archival-quality canvas.

Fine acrylic painted portraits of beloved pets on archival-quality canvas.

Fine acrylic painted portraits of beloved pets on archival-quality canvas.Fine acrylic painted portraits of beloved pets on archival-quality canvas.Fine acrylic painted portraits of beloved pets on archival-quality canvas.

About the Artist Karen L. Dortschy

My Story


As a professional artist who specializes in acrylic paintings, I've created painted portraits of dogs, cats and horses that live or have lived throughout the United States, as well as in 

Austria, England and Germany. 

No matter where they live, there are beautiful  pets everywhere that I honor by painting their portraits.

My Passion


My artistic goal is to create treasured heirlooms; highly detailed, heartfelt and realistic portrayals of beloved pets, including those who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. 

I fall in love with every pet I paint, whether they are alive or have passed. I ask numerous questions to learn all about each pet's unique personality and traits, and I connect to each one as the portrait emerges from the blank canvas.

I paint the eyes of the pet first. That's because they're the window to the soul.  Once I've painted the eyes (and nose), I truly feel like the pet is communicating with me.

For those pets who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, I can blend his or her ashes or hair into the paint to truly personalize the painting - there's no additional charge for this special service that really honors the spirit of your beloved furbaby.

I hand-draw, then hand-paint with professional-grade acrylic paint on 1-1/2" thick archival quality, gallery-wrapped canvas. I work from provided photographs and talk extensively with my clients to learn about the pet's unique personality, quirks and behavior, and translate that playful gleam in her eye or his calm and quiet demeanor into my painting.

I love adding signature accents like painting all four edges to continue to painting (and often the animal), using metallic paints, creating personalized nametags on collars and matching the background colors and patterns with clients' home or office decor.

I only paint one portrait at a time, so I can totally immerse myself in the personality and spirit of that pet.

Clients enjoy working with me during the whole process, and I so enjoy becoming friends with my clients! In fact, I've had numerous second and third commissions. 

My Medium



What do I love about acrylic paint? Let me count the ways. Apart from permanence and strength, there’s flexibility, controllable opacity, colorfastness, resistance to pollutants, opportunity for a variety of creative methodology, adaptability to mixed media, as well as speedy drying and cleanup. There’s less toxicity with acrylic compared

 to oil paints. 

My portraits benefit from glazing, a traditional and time-consuming painting technique of applying colors separately in successive glazes of thin, almost transparent paint. Each layer of paint must dry before the next is applied, and each application modifies the color beneath, like sheets of colored glass laid one over another. Acrylic paints are well suited to glazing because the layers of transparent washes dry more quickly than is possible with traditional oil paints.

I build up layers of animals’ fur in the paintings so that it appears three dimensional and very lifelike. The next time you see a black cat or dog, notice that there are numerous other colors in the coat that enrich the black (blue, purple, grey, red and white are some of those colors).  

I use only professional-grade acrylic paints, glazes and varnishes. I favor products made by Golden and Liquitex.

I paint only on archival-quality, museum-level canvas made of 100% cotton linen. I apply several coats of gesso and lightly sand between each coat, before I start drawing/painting, so the canvas is smooth.

The canvas is stretched on a solid hardwood frame with no visible staples. It looks beautiful on the back as well as the front! That also means that I can extend the portrait on all four 1.5” edges, to make it even more three-dimensional.

Please contact me with any questions.

Contact Me

For More Information and Pricing

Karen L. Dortschy, Haute Dauge Portraits

Mooresville, North Carolina, United States


"The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." -- Aristotle

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remained unawakened." -- Anatole France

"When one door closes, another opens..." -- Helen Keller