Pet Portraits by Nathan Rhoads

Hi guys,

I’m very excited to introduce Nathan Rhoads, a pet portrait artist local to our lovely Portland. Kelly & I had the pleasure of meeting him a few weeks ago. He stopped by Ruff Mutts to chat for a while and brought over some samples of his portraits. We just loved them – they’re really beautiful and tasteful. It’s always really fun getting to know other people who work in our industry and share our passion for furry critters. Here’s a little taste of our convo:

Hi Nathan,
We’re so excited to have the opportunity to get to know you. Your artwork is beautiful. Tell us about yourself! Do you have furry family members? How did your relationship with art develop and how long have you been painting? 
I have been creating art for as long as I can remember. As a kindergartener, I remember dressing up for Halloween as an artist, wearing a beret, fake mustache and goatee and carrying an oversized painting palette and brushes. Through grade school, I was know as the kid that could draw. People have always said that I am very talented in art. My artistic skills dramatically improved when I took a drawing class in high school, which led to further AP (advanced placement) art classes. With my high school experiences and my love for art, I pursued art in college, graduating with honors, earning my BFA in painting in 1998. I have been painting for 22 years and enjoy continually learning new techniques and exploring new mediums as I continue to steward my talent and skills. I live in Portland with my wife, Nicki, our two boys and our two rescued dogs.
Why pet portraits? How long have you been painting pets and how do you make sure to capture each pet’s personality when you’re creating a piece?
I began painting pet portraits in November of 2013. The majority of my art for years had been abstract in nature. I had found that creating abstract work held my interest, and I found it satisfying playing with color, shape, texture and form. My abstract work was more conceptual as well. My interest in painting pets began really off of a dare. I dared myself to try it. I had never done it before. I am always trying to improve as an artist, and I thought that painting a pet portrait would expand my skill set. My abstract work at the time was not satisfying my artistic eye. I took on the challenge to paint our dog, Steve. He’s a chihuahua mix with big personality. My goals for the painting were 2 fold. 1. To represent him well in paint (meaning, have the finished painting actually look like him) and 2, to have the painting showcase his personality. Well, the finished painting was a huge success! It looked exactly like him and his personality leapt off the canvas. In order to capture each pet’s personality, I take notice of all the details that make up the shape of the animal’s face. With my pet portraits, I focus solely on the head. The reason I do this is because every animal expresses so much of their personality through their face. You can easily tell when your pet is happy, sad, excited, ashamed, etc. So, focusing on the head, and creating a rather traditional ‘portrait’ of the pet allows me to capture their personality in paint.
 Henrietta King Louie
What are some of your favorite portraits you’ve created? Why?
The portrait I did of Steve is one of my favorites. Mainly because the look on his face communicates so much. The painting captures him sitting, enjoying the sun. His eyes are squinted a little and he looks like he is enjoying life. Another favorite is a commission I did of a Great Dane named Scooby. His look is priceless. It screams ‘I do what I want!’ I laugh every time I see it.
What is your process like after a painting has been purchased? Is there anything you need from your clients? When will the final product be received?
To order a custom pet portrait is simple. You may contact me through my website. The first step is to choose a canvas size. The cost of the painting depends on canvas size. Once a canvas size is chosen, I ask for photos of your pet. Each custom portrait is created referencing photography. My requirement for photography is pretty straight forward. I need an in focus, well lit photo. The painting takes 3 – 6 weeks to complete. When finished, I contact the client and arrange a time to hand deliver the painting.
Where can we find more info?


You can find more info about the custom, one-of-a-kind pet portraits I create by visiting my website: You may also reach me via email: or just give me a call, 971-270-0513.