Lansing artist Roberta Simanowitz loves animals and painting.

Lansing artist Roberta Simanowitz loves animals and painting. So several years ago she decided to combine the two and start her unique pet painting business called Roberta’s Pebble Pets and Portraits.

She never imagined that her hobby would become a very popular and sought-out way for people to get personalized portraits of their beloved fur babies.
She began by painting generic pictures of birds and animals on small, smooth rocks to sell at fairs and festivals, but people soon started asking if she would paint their dogs and cats on rocks – from photos.

“The business later expanded into acrylic paintings of pet portraits on six-inch ceramic tiles, which have been much more popular and are more fun to paint,” says Roberta. “The tiles allow me to include much more detail and realism than I can with a small rock and make it possible to paint a person with the pet, or two pets together or other pets such as birds and horses. I paint for the fun of it, and the joy of knowing how happy it makes people who receive my rocks and tiles of their pets.”
Her paintings also give her the opportunity to help local animal welfare groups.
“It gives me the means to donate to organizations close to my heart,” says Roberta. “I divide all my earnings between the Leavenworth Animal Welfare Society and Operation Wildlife, and more recently I also added HOPE Inc. to my donation list.”  

Her paintings are ordered through a Leavenworth business, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie Designs, and examples of her work, instructions for ordering and contact information can be found on her new website,
Her paintings have been ordered by customers in 14 U.S. states and England.
She says that Christmas orders are already coming in but there is still time for her to paint more.  

Many of the orders for her tiles are made after a pet’s death when pet owners want to honor and remember their fur babies by preserving their images.  
“It’s hard for me, sometimes, to look at photos of their happy little furry faces as I paint and not feel sadness for their loss,” says Roberta. “Every pet is a special life that deserves to be remembered, and I hope that the painted rock or tile brings back wonderful memories and helps in some way with the grieving process.”