Creative Custom Family Portrait with Pets

“Pets are family” has become a common belief among the majority of Americans. Most Westerners really. In the 21st century we love our pets so much that we actually think of them as family members. With that in mind I’m never really surprised that so many of my clients choose to include their pets in their family tree paintings.

Each family tree painting I create for my customers is essentially a family portrait with a fun twist. My artwork is meant to be something unique and personal for the family and its descendants to keep for generations. I often wonder how it would be perceived by someone in the future. Would it be mind-blowing for someone’s great-granddaughter to discover things in common with her ancestors? Would she be amazed to find out that she shares love for the same breed of dogs with her great-grandmother? I would be! All the little commonalities we share with our ancestors make us feel closer to them. It makes us feel as a part of something greater than ourselves.

All pets are family!

In my opinion, having pets is also a way to feel as a part of something greater than ourselves. Pets connect us to nature. They turn us into more loving, more intuitive, and generally ‘nicer’ people. I always get a kick when my clients talk to me about their fur babies. Over the years I’ve heard numerous pet-related anecdotes which I remember to this day. I’ve also received all kinds of funny pet photos from them, and I have enjoyed all of them. That being said, I have to admit that some were more memorable than others.  For example, I’ll never forget a pot-bellied pig that went on a paddle board with his owner.

The cute oinker is depicted below with the rest of his human and canine family. This family tree I painted for a couple celebrating their wedding anniversary. They were from Hawaii and that’s why the whole family (including all the pets) are wearing lei.

Custom couple portrait with human grandchildren and furry grandchildren

Whimsical watercolor family portrait with pets

Another creative family portrait with pets I painted included giant gray bunnies. I happen to love bunnies, so for me it was an added reason to love working on this super fun project.

Family tree birthday gift

Family portrait with pet bunnies and the couple’s family tree in the background.

Pets stay in our hearts forever!

As, I’ve mentioned I’m never surprised when my clients request for their pets to be added to their family portraits. However, lately I’ve started noticing a trend that more and more of my customers request for the pets they grew up with to be in the paintings as well. Their furry (and not so furry) friends have been gone for decades in some cases, and yet they’ve stayed forever in their hearts.  Don’t you find this attachment to our childhood pets really heartwarming?

In the family tree painting example below I’ve painted several pets that were long gone. The artwork also features some wild animals that ‘visit’ the couple in their backyard. To indicate the animals that crossed over the rainbow bridge I’ve added little halos above their heads.

Family tree painting with portraits of the family with their pets

Family tree illustration with pets past and present

The difference between a traditional pet portrait and a fun custom illustration

I think of my family tree art as fun family portraits. But I also tend to call them illustrations because my art is meant to illustrate your life. The same applies to your pets’ lives. My portraits are not stiff-looking copies of your photos. I try to make them full of life. For me life is about love, playfulness and feeling connected to each other. I try to translate my personal philosophy into my artwork.  My intent for my paintings is for them to be a fun reminder of how precious each moment of our existence really is. If you enjoy tossing a Frisbee to your dog I want to include it into your family portrait. Furthermore, I want your pet’s personality to shine through as well.

When I was painting the couple portrait with a ginkgo tree (below) my client asked me to include all of hers and her husband’s pets into the illustration. She send me numerous photos of their pets and described their personalities to me. I thought it would be really awesome to paint each pet according to my client’s description. As you can see some of the pets in the painting are sleeping (as many pets like to do!) while others are trying to engage their owners in play.

Custom couple portrait with pets. Painted as a wedding anniversary gift for husband.

Creative custom couple portrait with pets.

There is a reason they are called fur BABIES!

People often refer to their pets as ‘fur babies’. I’m guilty of that too. Before I became a mother to a human baby, I felt like a mother to my pets. In fact, I still refer to myself as their mama. I know I’m not unique in that way. Many people think of their pets as their kids. Some think it’s paramount to feature their fur babies alongside their real babies in their family tree paintings. After all, more often than not a family pet becomes your child’s first friend, loyal guardian and protector.  So I thought it was more than appropriate when I found out that one of my family tree paintings ended up hanging in a nursery!

Meaningful christening gift for child

Family tree custom painted as a meaningful gift for a child

If you would like to order your own family tree with pets please visit my family tree Shop.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to email me directly at:

I look forward to working with you!

Natasha 🙂