Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Nouveau-Vintage Chihuahua

Well it has been quiet awhile since my last post. We did take a short trip in June, but that is really no excuse. I have been pretty busy playing with new ideas this summer. Later this month we will have an on-line gallery show at Art Paw of my "Nouveau-Vintage" style, It is a new background technique I have adopted that is going to be very popular this Christmas. Here is one example of a sweet Chihuahua named Norman in this decorative new look.
cool chihuahua

Thursday, May 19, 2005

"Floyd wants a biscuit"

In this art piece I decided to leave in the checker board tile floor so that I could enhance the fun angle this was shot at. I rotated Floyd's head so that he really has that "give me a treat" expression. All of the pet portrait work I do at Art Paw is created one at a time, with no magic formulas, and so decisions such as whether or not to leave in the background are always made on an individual basis depending on the photo in front of me. This client probably had no idea how cool her kitchen floor might end up looking on this piece. We combined a favorite background texture with the colorized floor to give it a much richer look. In the final version we will be cropping in a little closer to his face and changing the orange color to a deep red. This portrait was commissioned as a Birthday gift. Happy Birthday to Floyd's human!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Yet Another Cool Pug

Ok, this little Pug-Guy is just way too cute with his beenie "flying cap" on. His humans named him "Sirloin Theodore of Pugsylvania"... a.k.a "Teddy". I created a painterly style portrait of this black pug and tinted his coat blue. This is for another fun repeat client, and we love playing with her pups. I am away from my dog art this week as we have a large design project in house at the moment creating Warhol styled portraits of about 22 tech industry C.E.O.'s . I would love to drop some names, but it is much more important to respect their privacy, and to finish their project on time. I hope to be back to blogging more by the end of next week. By the end of next week I really want to put on my own "flying cap" and run with scissors, ah but that is for another blog.

pug art

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Greta The Pug

Greta the Chinese Pug is a new commission I am working on. This adorable girl is a new favorite of mine.

I really like this fun green and red combo however I would suspect that the client will choose the more pleasing color combo of blues and purples. You never know though, people often surprise me and choose unusual crops and the odd choices that I sometimes make are occasionally favored over the more conservative picks.

fawn pug art

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Tax Time

Well it is tax week, and my creative energies are being thwarted by mountains of paper work. I have very little to talk about this week. I did do a couple of really cool cats last week named Max and Cooper. I combined the painterly style with the Warhol look for a favorite repeat client. Now I just need to get these felines in the mail. We ended up changing the bottom right panel to red and it worked out very nice. These kitties are really sweet and I love how different their personalities seem. The larger cat seems to have a "don't mess with me look, while the smaller kitty is waiting for something or someone to play with.
Below is a detail from the piece:

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Missing my boy

Well it has been a week now since our boy left us for the rainbow bridge, doggy heaven, or whatever far off place good boys go when they die. I miss him. He was really much more like a cat than a dog in the way he loved. He had a sweet way of wrapping around you and snuggling for hours at night. I could go on and on rambling with sweet affection about the best boy ever. I will spare you and instead stick to the business of art and share with you the story of our beginning and Atti's hand, er paw in making Art Paw happen.
It was 1998 and Atticus was a very handsome one year old Scottie dog. I was coming to the end of my career as an independent greeting card publisher. I loved the card business but the industry was changing and becoming harder and harder for independent designers. One of my best pals was also a card designer at the time, and frustrated with sales he decided to create a few sure fire winners and asked all of his friends with dogs to come by his studio for a photo shoot. His next line for fall would have dog and cat photographs incorporated into his edgy card designs. He hired a terrific photographer (also a friend) named Kris Hundt to shoot our dogs. He ended up just using a Ridgeback & Chihuahua in his designs, however I did get my hands on Atticus' stunning photos. A few months later I scanned them into the computer and started playing late one night in photoshop. My husband Dan came in and sat down next to me and we were both taking turns at the mouse trying different filters and we ended up playing for around 6 hours that night on the very first Art Paw portrait. After we finished I said, "you know I could do this for other people". A brief job managing a biscuit bakery in the late 80's had taught me just how much people adored their pets, and I knew the business idea was solid. All I needed was a name. My last greeting card business had a very clever name, I was the "Cardiologist". It was a clever pun, however I had countless people in the gift industry ask me if I was really a doctor and then I was left explaining the pun, making them feel, well sort of stupid. I knew that naming the business was a very important step and that I could not be too clever or crazy with it. I longed to try something hip like jumping dog studios, barking pixels, or something even more abstract and funky. No, I knew I had to play it safe and I chose Art Paw. It was very short and sweet and would be easy for folks to remember. Now I needed a marketing plan. At first the plan was simple, I showed up for every outdoor dog event dragging my portfolio, fliers and Atticus along. Atticus loved being our Mascot and he adored outdoor publicity events. He knew when we started pulling out the tables and tent that it was time for fun, and he would stay close to the door as we loaded the Jeep, determined not to be left behind. Atticus was of course the subject matter of many of our first works, and we quickly started developing a Scottie following on the web. Through Art Paw Atticus has brought so many wonderful people into our lives and we are continually blessed by an abundance of deep friendships, laughter and love. He died last week at the age of 8. He had been bravely battling cancer for 6 months. He was a very social boy with tons of friends. He will be missed by many. Our very first portrait of Atti is shown below.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

CSI and the magic button

When I started doing digital pet portraits way back in 1998, very few people owned a digital camera. Back then I worked with old fashioned snapshots and scanned them in to the computer. I would often set up at local pet events and show my portfolio, handing out fliers to promote my fledgling business. People often would stare blankly at me when I explained that it was all done on the computer. Their eyes would sort of glaze over, and their mouths would open slightly, they had a puzzled expression like I was speaking another language... they just did not get the concept of digital art. So I spent the late 90's trying to educate my pet loving potential clients. Well the public is getting much much more savvy. They not only get the concept of digital art they often assume we can do anything. They send me snapshots with half of a dog's face missing, assuming that there is a magic button on the computer that will fill in the missing portions. They watch shows like CSI where a cheap black & white surveillance camera has caught a crime on film. The detectives can't really make out the details on the film, so the CSI Techie pushes a magic button and suddenly they can see the tattoo on the criminal's hand reflected in the store owner's eye glasses. And it all takes 2 seconds. Well it doesn't always work that way in real life. So while many people understand the concept that amazing things can be done with imaging software, most people have no idea how long it really takes, and that it involves much more than pushing a few magic buttons an the keyboard. So now the education process for any digital artist involves reworking Hollywood's glamorized version of digital technology. With that said ... I still love my work, and my clients ... even the ones with the worst snapshots on the planet:)
Hunter & Haley (very cute pups, challenging photo)
Bad glow eyes, snapshot with very little detail, and low resolution
Eyes corrected, painterly details added:
Entire Portrait:

About The Art:
The original low resolution snapshot had severe glow eye and a lack of definition. What it did have going for it was a very fun and dynamic game of "Tug". Our goal with this piece was to enhance the movement and action of this fun snapshot, while compensating for the lack of detail and clarity. By adding in painterly strokes to the image we were able to paint in a great deal of the missing detail. I really like this piece and see it much more as the telling of a story than as a classic portrait style piece of art. Look how firmly rooted the puppy is in his stance, how long will the big dog pretend to loose before he is triumphant?

Friday, March 11, 2005

Patrick the Corgi

Patrick the Corgi is one of my all time favorites. This painterly style digital portrait started from a really good snapshot provided by Patrick's devoted human. I really enjoyed making lots of sharp little paint strokes on this Corgi's face to accentuate the cool brindle quality of his coat.

detail below:

Original Below:

All work was done in Photoshop.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Atticus Sketches

Well it has been awhile since my last post. We have been fighting an uphill battle for some time with cancer in our Scottie boy Atticus. I won't go into all the sad details as the web is abundant with heart wrenching "my dog is dieing stories". This blog is not going to be about that, and besides, this week is all about hope. I will instead post a couple of pencil drawings I did earlier this year of our sweet boy resting. I love the first one where he is resting in my cluttered office. The funky blue patch on his rump is a shaved area where they drew interesting lines marking off an area for his first radiation session back in Januaray. We told him the marker tatoo made him look cool and hip ... he bought into it, what a fashion hound:) Oh, and his skin was not really blue ... radiation does not change the skin color ... that is a little artistic liberty on my part. At the start of the year I decided to draw a sketch a day of our Scotties. I must admit the discpline of that task was harder than I imagined.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


Nikki is an adorable Boston Terrier that I created this painterly styled portrait for last November. I exaggerated her ears a tad and had a blast painting in lots of lines and texture. She looks like Columbo to me, and I think she is about to solve some great mystery in true Columbo style.... all she needs is a trench coat. Those of you too young to remember Columbo ... just think of Law & Order's Detective Robert Goren played by Vincent D'Onofrio (same character).
boston terrier art
boston terrier picture

Monday, February 21, 2005

Atticus & Gi Gi

Of course I had to start this blog with one of my own dogs. This is our sweet Atticus. He turned 8 the day the photo for this art was taken. My husband recently added our girl Nessie to his cell phone making her bark his designated ring. So all day at work he thinks about her while his phone is constantly barking. So, I decided he needed to have some brand new Atticus art on his walls at work so he would think about our Scottie boy too.

"Blue Boy"
12 x12 giclee print

About the Art:
This piece titled "Blue Boy" (above) started with an excellent photo taken by a good friend. I often choose blue for our Atticus and I think that is because his skin has always had a pale blue hue to it. Some puppies like GiGi below have pink tummies and some pup's with thin white coats always look red in the face ... not our blue Scottie. My favorite aspect of this portrait is his graying beard. Atticus is getting older and some of the signs of his aging are quite lovely.

"GiGi" 11 x14 on canvas

Gi Gi's human sent us just about the cutest photo we have seen in a long time. I fell in love with this girl laying belly up ... what a "scary" pitbull, ha yea right. How can you not love that happy face? I created this portrait in a painterly style using my new wacom tablet. I really enjoyed painting in extra pink on her freckled tummy and chest. Both of the portraits in this post were created in photoshop on a Mac.