SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – From drinking it to painting with it: A Santa Fe man is creating dog portraits but not with traditional supplies.

Tony Allegretti is painting his 50th dog portrait, but it’s the materials he uses that make those paintings so special. Allegretti traded his oil paints for a cup of Joe. Every brush stroke is accompanied by a perfect blend of coffee beans.

“[I] love dogs, and I love coffee, and I love paintings, so if I can combine the three and make a living doing it and help other dogs, then great,” said Allegretti.

Allegretti started painting dog portraits out of coffee around four months ago. He said it all started with a painting he did for his sister out of a napkin. She fell in love with it, and the rest is history.

“It was just phenomenally received. Part of anything I do, I want to have a good cause behind it,” said Allegretti.

He donated 50% of any additional prints, t-shirts, or coffee mugs he sells to different animal shelters. So far, he has donated more than $100 to Española Humane.

“I am working on creating some lines of t-shirts, which I think will be good sellers, and hopefully, I can some places in town,” said Allegretti.

It usually takes him about 24 hours to finish a single portrait, but if the dog has a darker shade of fur, it can take some time. It all depends on the coffee.

“I have kind of a system. Five-day-old coffee, and four-day-old coffee, and three-day-old coffee, and the evaporation gives them different values,” said Allegretti.

Allegretti asks his clients for at least six pictures in order to get every detail of the dog he’ll be painting.

“If they can give me a brief description, as far as the nature, it’s important to try and capture the dog’s personality,” said Allegretti.

His work can be found all over the country from North Carolina, Colorado, and California.