Monday, August 11, 2014

Mosaic Monday/ An Artist Lives Here

I took my students on a fun field trip to Barb Dybala's studio in Rockwall Texas this last weekend. I was trying very hard to create a video using i-movie that would combine my shots from my earlier 2011 trip with some voice-over and the editing task became way too daunting today so  I went with a quick little slideshow from just the Saturday trip. I will try to write more soon about the day trip and include a longer movie with voice-over.
Visit Barbara Dybala at her website :

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

East Dallas Pet Portraits

Here at Art Paw we ship all over the globe and yet these last few years I find myself creating more and more portraits for clients in my own East Dallas neighborhood and often I know these pets so it makes it even more fun. Today I will post just a few of our local Dallas pups.

"Chloe and Higgins"
 The smiling duo above is an older project. I met Chloe & Higgins' Mom years ago when I rescued a Cow Dog Stray from Little Forest Hills.

Spinone Italiano
Above is Sophie and her Mom owns the Rocket Science Hair Salon on Garland Road. Since her Mom is a genius with color highlights I figured I should give Sophie some good highlighting. I also did some fun text about her breed in the background, I was tickled and pleased when this proof was chosen.
The handsome cow dog above is Cab and he lives right next door to me. I have known him since he was a wee puppy. His Dad is the President of our neighborhood association.

Maxie is another neighborhood pup and her Mom owns Blue Ribbon Lady Landscaping.

Jackson is a local Dallas dog and his Dad did 3 large projects with me years ago. He had 2 huskies and a Bulldog. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mosaic Monday: Working In A Series Class

My next mosaic class starts next Weds. night the 23rd of July. We will be working in a series in this class. I will also help my students write an artist statement towards the end of the class. I will supply three 6 x 6 inch cradle boards and I will ask my students to work on all 3 projects at the same time. We may not finish each mosaic in this short 6 week class however we will get started on a consistent theme and work towards creating a cohesive body of work. Below is an intro video to the class with samples of various thematic works I have created over the years.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

White Rock East Garden Tour 2014 / Birds, Dogs, Cats & Robots

Last weekend I participated in our local neighborhood garden tour here in East Dallas. Every year they invite a few artists to set up in the yards of the homes that are on the garden tour, making it a very well rounded event. I had a great time!
"Analog Crow" 4 x 4 Mixed Media Mosaic Sold
© rebecca collins

"Robot Mosaic Trading Card" Sold
© rebecca collins

When I first started Art Paw way back in 1998 my main form of advertising was local outdoor events, everything from Art Fairs to Spca rescue events. I stopped doing as many of these in 2005 when the demand for my custom pet portraiture was way exceeding my free time.  With that said, I do absolutely love the Garden tour because it allows me to meet new neighbors, see old friends and connect with a few of my mosaic collectors.  I did very well this year and sold everything from clay robot heads to dog and cat bookmarks.  I sold a lot of mosaic work as well this year.

I always feel a bit schizophrenic when I put out my art wares and people see everything from digital art to ceramics.  Sometimes I think I should bring either the traditional media work or the digital work, but the reality is I sell both and different people respond to different work. Some folks like the dogs, some like the robots. If I continue to do a few of these sales I need to work on my signage and my display. I need better fabric coverings for larger tables. I also need to get organized with my work and keep it ready to go in plastic tubs ... after I shoot it well and offer it on Etsy all year long.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Art Paw On TV in Atlanta!

Did you know that Atlanta is #3 on the national list for cities with the most pampered pets? Yep, very cool and this morning we were featured on the morning show there at CBS46! Check out our 15 seconds of fame ...  Gift Ideas to Pamper Your Pet!

Cooper below  is the star pup that I created both a Warhol and a painterly style project for that you will see in the clip.

Monday, May 05, 2014

Mosaic Monday: Sama Conference

Sama Conference Recap Part 1:

Wow, way too much to pack into one blog post so look for more next Monday. I just returned from Sama 2014 in Houston. Every year the Society of American Mosaic Artists puts on a huge conference that is jammed packed with classes and speakers.  This year I went with a couple of my favorite mosaic buddies and we all had a blast. Today I will post just a few pictures of some of the people and the hotel. Next week I will try and post a more thoughtful summary of what I learned at the conference along with some videos I am working on that will include some actual mosaics.

Connie Marks, Rebecca Collins, Rebecca Morgan
Elevator Selfie
The best part of the conference was of course the people that all share the same passion for mosaic. I was fortunate to get to connect with a few cyber pals that live in other states, some I was meeting for the very first time in person.

Christine Brallier and Barbara Keith were there selling their lovely books! I was meeting Barbara for the first time. I got a great big hug from her.  It is always fun when you tell someone that you have been following their work for years and then they say the same thing right back to you... that happened a lot last week.
I really enjoyed getting to meet Cherie Bosela.  We have been web buddies for years. Cherie joined the Sama Board of directors and will be serving this next year.  She is fun and just a little bit goofy ( in a very good way), I wish I could spend an entire week with her. She has a light and healthy sense of humor that makes you feel good. 
The hotel was large and lovely, so was the downtown area. I played around a bit with an ap on my phone called paper artist. As a professional photoshop artist I generally roll my eyes at easy-cheesy phone aps, but you know what ... I have decided that they are fun and have their place.

Hyatt Entrance
The hotel was very nice
The hotel had a zillion floors, we were on 26 ... we were lower at first but had to move up due to a non functioning air conditioner.  I liked being up high.
Downtown Houston ... getting out of the hotel was much needed.

Phone sketch of stranger in the bar.
Ok and the last share today ... everywhere I travel I shoot patterns and textures to bring home to create colorful background templates for Art Paw. The pattern below was created using the wacom tablet and the smudge tool. There were some huge metal doors at the hotel that I shot and played with this morning to create a background I have already used on a dog portrait of Bingo. 
Abstract Background art 
Metal doors

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:

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.

© rebecca collins /
© rebecca collins /

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.