Pet Portraits: Beware of the Dog

 The president has one, so does the Queen of England, but the unstuffiest (and cutest) portraits are of people’s dogs.

Something entirely unexpected caught my eye at my favorite coffee hangout in North Seattle. Portraits of dogs covered the walls – not those stiff and creepy portraits – these had an air of whimsy and eccentricity. I had an instant connection, so I decided to track down the artist and learn the story behind these pet paintings. Little did I know, the artist and I have a special connection of our own over a dog named Pebbles.   Beware of the Dog
Over the years, Denis Fitzpatrick has developed emotional bonds with hundreds of dogs that belong to other people. A certain level of intimacy comes along with looking into an animal’s eyes and spending hours capturing its character on canvas. He runs Beware of the Dog studio out of his home in Ballard. Working off clients’ photographs, he creates portraits with personality.

“I go for quirky,” said Fitzpatrick. “I want stuff that isn’t a photo image. I want it to be sketchy and have life but be modern at the same time.”


Portraits of his own dogs, past and present, hang on the walls of his home, but there’s one portrait that I am especially drawn to. It’s a portrait of his new rescue dog, Pebbles. I didn’t know it when I first contacted Fitzpatrick, but he adopted a dog that I worked with as a volunteer at the Seattle Animal Shelter.

Portrait of Pebbles

I couldn’t wait to tell the other volunteers that our beloved Pebbles, who had no home and no family just a few months ago, was now a beautiful muse for a talented painter! The reaction was so touching. Some volunteers told me they had cried about Pebbles, wishing one day she wouldn’t have to live in a kennel anymore. Others said they weren’t surprised that she became a “model” at all because she is beautiful inside and out.

Fitzpatrick’s portraits have also been featured at the Olympics and on the big screen. You can read more about his break in Hollywood in my article HERE for Seattle Refined.

If you want to admire some grin-inducing doggy art, you can get an up-close look at Fitzpatrick’s work in the dog lounge at Bark Espresso, and Baguette Box on Capitol Hill.

Interested in a portrait of your pooch? Denis can be contacted at



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s