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We Had Portraits Drawn Of Our Pups By A Professional Artist – You Have To See Them!!

Well, I think this means we are officially “dog people”. You would be too, if you met our dogs (says every dog parent ever). I don’t know HOW we lucked out with these two (rescued during lockdown, last two in a litter of seven that was dropped off, full story here), but we are all obsessed (thank god, I was honestly nervous). We are doing a family photo/art wall up the stairs with different self-portraits of the kids (including their DIY silhouettes also done during lockdown) and so yes, I wanted the dogs to be properly represented. I went on IG to find some dog portrait artists (truly one of the best things about social media – finding talented people) and had “liked” a ton of portraits from one artist’s IG posts. So when said artist, Natalie Cooperman, reached out and offered to capture my pups likeness for some original portraits we all (including the kids) screamed, YES YES YES, enthusiastically. Here’s how it went down…

While I love the idea of our pups sitting still for an oil portrait session (like Kate Winslet in Titanic for Leo’s character), this wasn’t exactly Natalie’s process. It’s much easier. You have to take good photos of your pups’ faces, ideally with an expression that looks like them (either up close or in a high enough resolution that she can zoom in close).

Here’s a video of all of us Hendersons seeing the portraits for the first time (just wait for the ad to play & as always THANK YOU):

Buttercup – The Sweet, Sensitive Cuddlebucket

A lot of people can’t tell them apart initially but they are so different (the easy way is Butter has white ears, Oscar has gray). Butter is gentle and sweet – she licks my leg politely when she would love a walk (I don’t like this, but her method is far sweeter than Oscars, see below). She apologizes for anything by rolling over and hiding her face with her paws – it’s like out of a movie cute. She gets jealous of Oscar’s attention so the best way to get her to come inside when we call or to do anything we want her to do is to praise Oscar first with a good boy, then she runs right in. She, they both, are extremely cuddly and sweet, greet us happily, and follow me around all day long in the house. Look at their little black noses!!!! She’s quiet and sweet (until she meets a dog on the street that she deems threatening and then she goes nuts – LITTER SYNDROME IS REAL). But mostly, she seems like a human in a dog’s body, wants to make eye contact while she kisses us (weird but so sweet, IYKYK), and greets the kids with so much happiness I could cry.

So we sent Natalie those three photos and she chose the middle one – with her ears cocked a bit and head to the side.

Oscar – The Grumpy And Assertive Brother

Now Oscar is more of a punk – a hilarious, assertive punk. He sighs big huffs when he doesn’t get what he wants (can this be a gene inherited from his human dad?) and he tells you exactly what he wants and insists on it in that moment. He looks you straight dead in the eye as he barks for a walk. He wants cold water filled to the top of the bowl. He goes “grocery shopping” up to the kids’ bedrooms and steals stuffies. He has a stuffie baby bird that he’s been OBSESSED with for four months now (it’s disgusting) and he takes such good care of it (while slowly chewing its eyeballs off – not the best caretaker I guess). He huffs and puffs around in the early morning when he wants a walk and then if I don’t move fast enough, he barks so loud – KNOWING that the kids will hear and I’ll rush to take them on their walk. Now, does that sound annoying if you aren’t a dog lover? YES. But it’s because we have an established morning routine (I wake up, get dressed in dog walking clothes, down 1/2 cup of coffee, fill up my to-go cup with the second cup, find a fanny pack with poop bags and headphones). He’s fine up to the “fanny pack” point, but if I linger or dilly dally after that, he tells me, loudly – and the whole house hears. It’s a highly effective method to get what you want, (is there a mom version of this that I can steal?), so we are normally out of the house by 6:15 so we can be back by 7:15 to help get the kids out of the door. That’s all to say that Oscar is my funny, grumpy, goofy, and happy boy.

Natalie chose the middle photo because she liked his smile and tongue out (as you can barely see in the photo he is caring for his baby bird stuffie).

Natalie was able to turn this around in a couple of weeks and we got the original drawings in the mail… I LOVE this shot of Oscar looking at his portrait. Here’s a side-by-side so you can see what an incredible job Natalie Did:

Oscar sitting on Brian’s lap is painfully cute. He looks genuinely delighted about the portrait!!

Natalie drew them both with what seems to be colored pencils in a variety of soft shades (even some pinks and purples). We just love them SO MUCH (the portraits and the dogs).

The portraits came on paper with a little note. I can’t thank you enough, Natalie. I advise you to get on this early for holiday presents (no, I’m not pushing gift guides yet – we have, you know, 3 months til we have to get on that haha). I just know that she is going to get slammed. I love how serious they are – I’m sure I’d also love more animated cartoon-like portraits of them, but these are going to be so awesome inside two vintage matching antique frames (with oval openings?). I’ll hang them together, like the royalty that they are.

Y’all should go follow Natalie Cooperman on IG and if you like her work give her some love. It makes me so happy that part of my job can be doing posts like this, and expose all of you who are interested to artists who are bringing a lot of joy to family like ours. Pet portraits FTW! xx

*Reveal Photos by Kaitlin Green

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๐Ÿฅฐ Rusty
1 year ago

I. Couldn’t. Love. Them. More!
๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ’“ ๐Ÿ’“๐Ÿพ๐Ÿ’“

1 year ago

I love pet portraits! The fur babies look gorgeous here! What a talented artist. My grandmother had her gordon setter painted by a famous animal artist and it is regal as can be. However; my mom got a neighbour to sketch my kids and the results were kind of like those scary clowns on velvet from the 1970s. My mom really loves them though. IDK, do I have a responsibility to hang the gift portraits in very expensive frames if they are honestly objectively bad? So much guilt over here.

1 year ago

Those portraits capture them beautifully! I genuinely love how you describe Oscar and Buttercupโ€™s differences. Itโ€™s clear theyโ€™ve brought so much joy to your family and as the mama to two fur babies who mean the world to me, I can surely relate. Thanks for sharing them with us!

1 year ago

Gorgeous portraits!! And your stories about your sweet dogs are hilarious — love!! <3

1 year ago

I love this so much! I remember when you were trying to decide if you should get a dog โ€“ I am so glad these two fit in your family so well! Dogs bring such joy to a family!

Roberta Davis
1 year ago


1 year ago

Love the portraits. And I know it’s off-topic, but I’m curious to hear more about how littermate syndrome affects your dogs. As you usually describe them, they sound well adjusted etc.

1 year ago
Reply to  Krista

I’m curious too!

1 year ago

So cute! We have a portrait of our best dog, and we will not be getting portraits done of our current dogs ๐Ÿ˜• Sorry guys, we love you and will take care of you but you are a pain in the butt!

1 year ago

Not to compete with Natalie for commissions but another pet portrait artist to follow on Instagram is Michelle Staub @stitchingsabbatical on IG or who embroiders pet portraits. I have her book and crazy fantasies of learning how to embroider so I can make portraits of my cats. Her work is absolutely stunning. Check it out.

1 year ago

These are absolutely adorable portraits of your dogs and will be a fantastic personal addition to your gallery wall! I like it when you find and support an artist you found through searching, who isn’t connected to a large company or brand.

1 year ago

Our mostly-dachshund Max also sighed! We’d never had a dog who sighed like that so much. We recently lost him — he had many health issues — but I still miss him. I’m going to hunt through our photos to see if I have any Natalie can use!

1 year ago

When you started discussing pet portraits a year or so ago, I decided to commission an oil painting of my daughterโ€™s cats. It came out beautifully, and I found a great vintage frame at a yard sale from our local Preservation Action Council. Iโ€™m now tempted to get a pencil portrait of them done. Oscar and Buttercup are adorable and the portraits really capture their personalities. What a lovely addition to your family gallery stairwell. Here is a link to the artist who did our catsโ€™ portrait, along with the portrait. You can find Jennifer Gennari on Instagram @jen_art or her website at

Here are my beautiful cats:

1 year ago
Reply to  Suzanne

When I clicked on your link to see the portrait of your gorgeous cats I realize I already follow her!!!

1 year ago

So how are you handling the littermate syndrome? I always heard you should never get two pups at once.

1 year ago

Love them so much and that you had them done! They turned out great. A little bittersweet since I feel like I’ve been commenting for literal YEARS on here wanting to paint your pets! (i’m also a watercolor pet portrait artist – @wanderinglaur on instagram) Maybe this means you just need to add to your menagerie and I’ll volunteer anew ๐Ÿ™‚