Monday, April 07, 2014

Mosaic Monday / Working in A Series

Well it is official ... I have started a new series with my Robot butterfly mosaics. I have not finished my first one and I have started 2 more. As an artist I have always enjoyed working in a series, and as a result people typically will recognize my style and my work when they see it.

Later this summer I will be teaching a class at the Creative Arts Center in Dallas for mosaic artists on the very subject of working in a series. I often see mosaic artists labor for months and months on one project, say a bird or a landscape and then when they are finished they are so ready to move on and do something completely different. While this is very understandable it does not allow them to build a cohesive body of work that tells their audience what they are about as an artist and what is important to them.

Top 3 benefits to working in a series as an artist:

Playful experimentation ... when you are working on a series of projects within the same theme you can approach each one as an experiment instead of a masterpiece. You can relax just a tiny little bit and treat them as studies. While still doing your best work you can give yourself permission to not have all the answers on the project in front of you ... after all this is not your last one in the series. Some better solutions and ideas will arise on your 2nd or 3rd project within a series.

Understanding Yourself and Your Art ...  When you work in a way where you create a portrait one day, a landscape the next month and then an abstract painting the next month, you are not traveling down a straight path and you are not digging very deeply into what motivates you and what makes you tick.  It is perfectly fine to have many favorite subjects, I certainly do, however I find that by spending extensive time focusing on one subject at a time in my personal works I am able to get closer and closer to some core truths about my art and my self and what is important to me.

• Be taken seriously ... I have been in museums countless times and seen work by artists that I do not particularly like however walking away from the show I always state that I am so glad I saw the show and while I may not like a particular artist's work I can still respect what they are doing and respect them. With that said Cindy Sherman comes to mind for me, she recently had a show here at the Dallas Museum of art and while I am not a huge fan, I thoroughly enjoyed that show and I loved seeing her many different periods of work. As an artist if you do enough of something the world can not ignore you.  By working in a series you are telling the world that you are damn serious about the subject you are tackling. Give it a try ... be "Damn Serious" and work in a series.

For further reading:

http://www.artbusiness.com/advantages-for-artists-to-making-art-in-series.html
http://artdogblog.blogspot.com/2013/04/mosaic-monday-obsessions-studies.html


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Boston Terrier Art

I love working on Boston Terriers. Today I just proofed Miss Gracie. I have one other Boston to work on this week and a cow dog for a terrific repeat client. Things are a little slow this month, but I am excited about the portrait projects I have in house and I am happy to have some great quality photos to play with.

I will post a few images of Gracie's pet portrait proofs and a couple of Boston Terrier Videos.

"Gracie"
© rebecca collins / artpaw.com
"Gracie"
© rebecca collins / artpaw.com


This movie shows all of the many proofing options that I showed to my client. In this movie I talk about a little Boston terrier I had growing up and I show up many Boston Terriers I have created art for over the years.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

An Artist Lives Here / The Bower Bird

I have always thought that if I was going to be a bird I would be a red tailed hawk because when I see them they take my breath away, they are my favorite feathered friend here in East Dallas. With that said, today while listening to NPR I discovered a bird that I may truly have the most kinship to and that is the male Bower Bird.  He is an artist and an interior decorator. Although their distribution is centered on the tropical regions of New Guinea and northern Australia, some species extend into central, western, and southeastern Australia. They occupy a range of different habitats, including rain forest, eucalyptus and acacia forest, and shrub lands.

The male bower bird decorates his bower with brightly colored found objects that range from natural berries to plastic toys and bottle caps. He arranges them all meticulously to attract the female. He even understands perspective and will in fact arrange objects in a way to make himself  appear larger. They arrange objects in the bower's court area from smallest to largest, creating a forced perspective which holds the attention of the female for longer. Males with objects arranged in a way that have a strong optical illusion are likely to have higher mating success.When you go in and move the items around he will return to his bower and put things back in their proper place.

I love this bird ... he looks like a natural mosaic artist to me ... finding bits and pieces and placing them thoughtfully in the perfect spot. He often will work in one color scheme.



Here is a video that shows a Bower Bird in action:


You might also want to check out Tim Laman's amazing photos of Bower Birds and their decor.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mosaic Monday / Xerces Blue Beta An Artificial Pollinator

Xerces Blue Beta / An Artificial Pollinator
Work In Progress
© rebecca collins

Well I am working on my Salon piece for the Sama convention in late April. For over a year I have wanted to do a mechanical looking Robot Butterfly and I have finally started on one. I did a few hours of research on-line before starting this project and my surfing really drove a lot of choices on this piece. I knew before I started that I wanted to create more than just a pretty mosaic butterfly since there are so many wonderful ones out there already. I wanted something edgier and when I discovered that scientists are creating artificial pollinators I knew that I had not only a title for my piece but possibly the beginning of an entire series. I want to create beautiful objects that draw the viewer closer and then surprise them with my materials and the layered ideas and messages.

You can see more of this project and hear my thoughts on it by watching the video below.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Robot Invasion Workshop

 Robot Collage Class
Materials : Recycled packaging, metal eyelets, cardboard, spray paint, metal washers, found objects, gems, glue.

Yesterday I taught a class over at Pigment School of the Arts here in Dallas. It was a kid's workshop and I had 5 students that varied in age. We had a lot of fun and I was very impressed with all of the creativity and imagination these young artists demonstrated.   The kids were all a breeze to work with, they were each very focused and enthusiastic. Here is a real quick little slideshow I created with some cell phone pics of our projects. My assistant Brittany and I did a couple that you will also see in here as samples ...



Below are just a few things I learned yesterday about working with young artists: 

• Younger hands are not as strong as mine and simple tools like a hole puncher may be difficult on sturdier card stock and cardboard. 
•  A little conversation and asking questions before you start creating can stir the imagination and ideas will emerge easily for them. We talked about Robots a little and what types of jobs they do ... even what types of hobbies they may have.
•  Kids use a lot of glue when making collages. I told them to use a lot to get things to stick and boy they did! I had plenty, and I am glad I took the big jug of weldbond.
• I took some acrylic sleeves for them to place their finished projects in ... the same sleeves we send our little 8 x 10 Etsy prints out in ... the sleeves were a big hit! Giving my students a way to neatly protect their finished works gave them additional pride in their creations and taught them at an early age about presentation.
• I should have taken my good camera to get decent photographs of all of the projects.  My cell phone pics captured the day, but the image quality does not do justice to their terrific Robot collages.







Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Jade The Cow Dog is Hungry

I am just about caught up with orders. I am currently fine tuning Jade for a terrific repeat client in Australia. I have one more project to do for her and then I will be totally caught up with commissions from Feb. I did hear from a nice gentleman this morning that may send in a Golden Retriever for me to play with. I hope he does, I have not done many retrievers yet this year and I love their strong lines.

Below are a few proofing samples of Jade. My client wanted to see more green options in the backgrounds to match up well with her kitchen.  I went a little crazy and gave her 20 new options to choose from. I usually do not go overboard like that on revisions as it can often just make the approval process tougher, making it very hard for clients to choose. I love Sarah though, she always gives me great photos to play with and she is pretty good at knowing her favorites and drilling down to what she likes best. All 20 revision proofs can be found on my proofing site.

Oh ... and yes it is pretty wonderful and appropriate that this food bowl portrait will grace her kitchen walls ... pet people are really the best you know.  I do love it when folks send me pics that tell a story!

"Jade With Food Bowl"
© rebecca collins / artpaw.com

  
"Jade With Food Bowl"
© rebecca collins / artpaw.com
"Jade With Food Bowl"
© rebecca collins / artpaw.com

"Jade With Food Bowl"
© rebecca collins / artpaw.com

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Art Paw Proofing Archives

Today I am browsing through old client proofs to get ready for Terrier month in March on my Facebook fan page. I started using Smug Mug way back in 2008 as a proofing platform for my clients.

I just looked at my image upload totals and discovered that
I have uploaded 20,787 proofs to Smug Mug in the last 6 years. 
That does not mean I have had that many clients, keep in mind each single client gets around 10 to 14 colorful proofing samples to choose from. Still, that is a lot of work to be proud of I would say.

In looking over my past pet portrait projects I enjoy seeing how my digital painting style changes and evolves over time. Some months I experiment a lot with different new backgrounds, sometimes I use color turned up all the way until it screams and other times I am more tame in my approach.

Below are just a few old favorites.

"Beast" 2009
© rebecca collins / artpaw.com
Beast had some very bright and bold background options.
"Beast" 2009
© rebecca collins / artpaw.com
"Angus" 2008
© rebecca collins / artpaw.com

"Sunny" 2008
© rebecca collins / artpaw.com
Sunny is one of my all time favorite Boston Terriers. This image is on a postcard and is also for sell at my Etsy shop.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Mosaic Monday / Flower Workshop

On Saturday I took a terrific workshop at the Dallas Creative Arts Center from Katrina Doran called Petite Fleurs: Bejeweled Mosaic Flowers.
I had so much fun and it was just the jump start I needed to get my hands busy with mosaic again.  I added screws and washers to my flower making it a wee bit mechanical looking. I hope to eventually place it in the hand of a large 3-d mosaic Robot that I am working on.

We worked with a 2 part epoxy clay that dries rock hard and so there was no wet thinset, no grout ... and no stress.  We worked largely with beads and jewels so there was very little cutting involved.  If you think you might be interested in taking Katrina's next Petite Fleur workshop it is offered in May at the Dallas Arboretum.  Katrina can also be hired to work with your own private group in your residential or commercial setting, you can contact her through her website Doranstudiomosaics.com.

We made our flower forms from scratch.
Flower Mosaic
Rebecca Collins
Flower Backside
Rebecca Collins
Flower Mosaic
work in progress
Rebecca Collins
Flower Substrate
work in progress
Rebecca Morgan

Flower Mosaic
work in progress
Rebecca Morgan

Flower Mosaic
work in progress
Peggy Breedlove
Flower Mosaic
work in progress
Peggy Breedlove

Back in 2010 Katrina worked with several of her students creating very large flower mosaics for the Texas State Fair and this workshop is her brain child that sprung out of that experience. She creates petite, medium and large flower sculptures and she is working on a book that will outline the process so she can share her knowledge with more mosaic artists.  Each of the 3 different sized flowers are created with different armature techniques that she engineered herself and each has a different level of difficulty. I would love to do a medium sized flower next. I never thought I would want to tackle a huge flower but after doing a small one who knows, maybe my confidence on the 3-D work will bloom some day.


Friday, February 14, 2014

My Funny Valentine

Today I want to share photos and artwork of my sweet girl Pixel ... ( our Pickle).  Back in Feb. of 2006 we adopted this sweet Scottie girl and she was a Valentine's present. She was rather aloof and stand offish for a very long time and so I like to think of her as my funny Valentine. We really adore her and I am proud to say we have won her heart over.

"Pixel Chiffon Pie"
© rebecca collins / artpaw.com

"Please Don't Eat The Daisies"
© rebecca collins / artpaw.com

"Winter Pup"
© rebecca collins / artpaw.com
Pixel Chewing

The Value Of Teething

Big girl teeth are in!
Splinters rain on the carpet
No hiding antiques


Haiku by Dan Collins