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Happiness Personified: Custom Pet Portraits by Angie Ketelhut

By: Dawn Dubriel

One look at Angie Ketelhut’s pet portraits brings to me so much joy and heartfelt emotion. The way she draws and paints animals truly portrays their pure, loving, innocent, happy, loyal, and intelligent personalities in a vibrant, unique, and expressive manner. Her love for animals shines in every single brush stroke. Customers from all over the world send her pictures of their furry family members, and she paints them in an array of happy settings.

Thalo caught up with the Seattle based artist to compliment her on her delightful work and get to know the artist who paints pets so happily, proudly, and authentically. When asked about her work, she says, “My goal with each custom portrait is to create a personal image. One which a client can view and feel the essence of their pet has been captured, along with a sense of energy and life. I aim to make each one truly unique and special. I work from a combination of photos, descriptions, and imagination. All of my artworks are meant to bring smiles as the furry friends themselves make us smile each and every day.”

At five years old, she started drawing pictures of horses and people. Throughout the years, she drew and sketched various scenes of her own and her family’s and neighbor’s pets. Born in Wisconsin, she spent her childhood in Midwest Wisconsin, and then moved to Minnesota at the age of 12. She attended Minnesota State University Moorhead College and majored in fine art with a concentration in Illustration. She later briefly lived in Los Angeles, and moved to Seattle in 2006. She became serious about painting portraits of pets twelve years ago when her Boston Terrier, Fatsa, came into her life. She would think up different scenarios with Fatsa; some were of everyday things such as him eyeing food on the table and others magically whimsical with smiling suns and moons. It all began with a series of whimsical dog and cat paintings available via eBay, and from there she began offering custom portraiture of pets.

She paints using mostly acrylics, but lately has also been experimenting with watercolors. Her favorite artists are Van Gogh, Toulouse Lautrec, Degas, Frida Kahlo, Auguste Renoir, and Edward Hopper. A typical day in her life is a juggle fest of responding to emails, Faceboook, and Etsy messages; posting new works on Etsy; creating sketches for custom portraits; painting; and taking care of her energetic four-year-old son. Not only does she create custom pet portraits on canvas, but also offers them on pendants, mugs, phone cases, and picture frames.

When asked what advice she can offer to indie artists who want to "go pro" and make a living doing what they love from commissions, she says, “If it is something you are truly passionate about, work towards it, little by little. Be aware it does take time and perseverance. But it is worth the struggles if it is your passion.”

The easiest and fastest way to contact her for a pet portrait commission is by email: Another way is through her Facebook page’s message button. She usually responds within about two hours.

Visit her enjoyable online gallery on her website and her Etsy store:

All photos courtesy of Angie Ketelhut