There are tricks to creating the illusion of depth on a two dimensional surface. In these two paintings, the closest part of the dog to the viewer are the snouts, so that is the area that got the most detail, the darkest darks and crisp edges.
The placement of the snouts are in the lower-middle section. Generally, the lower an object is on the picture surface the closer it appears to be.
Color is another tool. Warm colors tend to come towards you where cool colors recede. The warm red-orange on both of the dogs' faces push the blue on the cheeks forward.
Line also helps in this case. Notice the directional, contour lines on the face and neck of the left dog, Elsa? Her snout appears to pop out even more than the dog on the right for this reason in addition to others factor, size and overlapping shapes.
Varying the size of a shape can create an optical illusion. The blue area on Elsa's cheek to snout starts out narrow and widens as it meets up with the nose.
Overlapping shapes is one more way that makes Elsa's snout come forward. Her head is at an angle that allows for the nose to overlap the background and her neck ad top back to be positioned behind her snout. This creates a stacking of four areas.
Elsa, the dog on the left, is definitely the stronger of the two in the depth category. But that doesn't mean the painting of the dog on the right of Koda is any less special. This painting has captured his essence, that smile, the soft fluffy fur and loving eyes. He looks at you straight on because he has no reservations and gives all his attention and heart to those in his pack.
I am fascinated with how the eye perceives two dimensional space and how body language and color can be used to encapsulate character. M.C. Escher is my all time favorite artist for creating the most fascinating optical effects with his architectural illusions.
Many artists are very perceptive and can convey feeling in their artwork so there isn't just one that stands out. In reflecting on my paintings, I can see my soul. I am a romantic; a dreamer creating a world on canvas of the best that I see or can imagine.