Friday, June 30, 2006

Jingle Bells

Ok so I am a day early on this post and I am hoping you guys will be a few months early in placing your Christmas portrait orders. We are going to be running specials all through the month of July to get you guys to start thinking about getting your custom art created early for the holidays. We will be giving away free goodies with your orders placed in July and will offer other design specials. Check out the promo calendar.

Art Paw has a few new retailers taking orders for us and so we expect 06 to be a really busy holiday season. The best time to get our very best unhurried artwork is RIGHT NOW!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Recent Cat Portraits ... a Frenzy of Felines

From the looks of our homepage it would seem that we have a lot of a new cat clients. The reality however is that I just finished working on an order for one client with a large pride of kitties. She also owns Tilly, and we talked about Tilly a couple of weeks ago. A lot of our clients like to try and save money by placing a several pets in one single painting and that works out great in many cases. They do miss out however on the design impact of getting to group and hang a large assortment of single canvases on one wall. I do hope this multi-pet client will e-mail me photos of her art hanging in her home. I am very excited about this project that included: Junior, Cinnamon Tiger, Sweetie, Brigid, PeeWee, and Tilly.

These portraits are 24 x 24 and will look really great either grouped together or sprinkled throughout the home. This client has funky post modern furniture so I am really excited at the thought of my work hanging in her environment. Hmmm, maybe I should hand-deliver on this one. She says her human kids are the next Art Paw subjects on her list.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Take Your Dog To Work Day

I just found out through an e-mail that today is take your dog to work day. Of course every day around here is take your dog to work day. We have 3 Scotties that dutifully announce the arrival of clients, employees and mail delivery. If you find yourself in a work environment that does not honor such 4 legged work place participation you should consider ordering an Art Paw original of your pal for the office.

You will find that original pet portraits in the office are a great conversation starter with clients and besides, your pet's custom art will always make you smile when you are having a bad day.

As a side note, I tried to discover the origins of the phrase "working like a dog", and found this: "Someone asked that question here recently. Someone else answered it: basically, a sheepdog works from dawn till dusk for only room and board and affection." quoted from

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Portrait Swap

This is the month I am finally going to start on Kathy Weller's Pugs. Kathy is a talented portrait artist that I have been networking with for several months and we agreed to do a portrait swap. Of course life being what it is, we have both been placing the idea on the back burner as other orders and a million little assorted projects dominate our attentions. I am going to start with her Pug Daisy and see how it goes. That is Daisy below. I sort of like that yellow food bowl .... hmmm maybe we shall include it. I am looking forward to this fun project-swap and can't wait till she starts on my Pixel in July.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

More about Interpolation

According to Wikipedia: "In the mathematical subfield of numerical analysis, interpolation is a method of constructing new data points from a discrete set of known data points". Interpolation is a word that many of us in the design community have started throwing around to explain what happens when we enlarge an image and ask the computer to fill in data from thin air. In searching the web and trying to get a handle on just how to explain the process of digital enlargement I came across a great page that does a much better job than I can so check out There are also many tutorials on-line for aspiring digital artists that are trying to tackle the challenge of low res. images.

More about Tiger ... the kitty from a few days ago. Tiger's human was thrilled with his portrait gift and now the gift giver will be doing her gang next. She was a good sport and reshot Tiger for us with her camera phone. Her very first image submitted of Tiger was stunning for web viewing so I will post it here. The actual image size is 116 pixels by 116 pixels ( around 1.6 inches by 1.6 inches)

Click on Tiger to see what happens when we enlarged the image to the size needed for our portrait. You can see from the enlarged sample just how important it is to try and learn about your camera so you can shoot at the highest file size and highest quality setting. There is a vast difference between what looks great on a monitor and what looks great in print. After a new image was submitted Tiger did end up looking great in print and we were very happy that we had the opportunity to play with this handsome kitty boy.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Howling Hounds Happy Hour

It is time to party guys! Those of you living in the Dallas area should join us next Thursday 06/22 for a fundraiser happy hour for one of our favorite groups. City Pet Rescue is hosting a happy hour to offset some recent medical bills associated with their rescue work. Art Paw and other local vendors will be donating some groovy door prizes and there will be tasty snacks supplied by the terrific folks at Ozona.
Howlin' Hounds Happy Hour
Thursday, June 22 at Ozona - 5:00 to 8:00
$8.00 donation at the door
All proceeds benefit City Pet Rescue

Not able to attend? You can still help City Pet Rescue out by making an on-line donation, just click here. Any size donation will be much appreciated.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Tiger The Tabby Cat

Last week I finalized and shipped a painterly Birthday portrait for Tiger's human. The only photograph that the person giving this custom surprise gift was able to sneak around and capture was from a camera phone. The original photograph was a tad low in resolution ( ok ... it was tiny) so I had my work cut out for me. Many digital artists are pretty strict about the types of files they are willing to work with. I learned a long time ago that part of good customer service is going the extra mile and doing my very best to work with any file sent to me. I found that this photographic image had a lot going for it once I got passed the small size. I feel that over the years I have become pretty good at quickly zeroing in on a pet's best feature and in this case it was of course Tiger's intense green eyes.
My approach to smoothing out the horrible jagged pixelation that occurs when enlarging a tiny low res. image is to apply a blur filter to the entire image. I then go in and burn in extra definition and contrast that was lost in the blurring process. Then when I have recreated some deep blacks and strong contrast I start painting in even more detail and color. My current painterly style of working actually came about from having to smudge, blur and paint in order to enhance low resolution digital images. There are other methods and techniques for dealing with what is called interpolation and I will discuss this more later this week.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Dog Day Afternoon

We had a blast yesterday at Operation Kindness' 12 annual Dog Day Afternoon. I took my lap top and wacom tablet and worked on portraits while my assistant Teryn talked to people and passed out flyers. It was really fun to be able to demonstrate to people just how we go about making the artwork. I saw some old pet industry pals and made a few new ones. There were tons of folks at this terrific event and we hope that Operation Kindness was happy with the turn out.

We were amazed with the variety of dogs that attended. I saw my first Mexican hairless pup, and there were Danes, Chihuahuas, bulldogs, Bassetts and more. Even more interesting than the breeds were the terrific random bred pups in attendance. It was a hot yet fun morning.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Pet Quotes

In a political climate where religion and religious debates seem to dominate the headlines every day, I offer one of my favorite quotes:

"I care not for a man's religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it." - Abraham Lincoln

Click here for more quotes on animals, life and art.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Worker Bee or Fly?

The found image above is either a bee or a fly. I am not sure which. The pointed abdomen makes me want to bet on it being a bee. I really like the simplicity of this design and the aged quality of the background pattern. In this digital work I combined an unaltered line art image with one of my existing background patterns. I changed the hue on the ornate pattern and enlarged just the section I needed to create a very symmetrical and simple composition.

If you are interested in learning about a wide variety of animals and finding fun web links take a stroll over to our other blog at Cool Animal Pages. My assistant Allison is having a blast this summer researching different critters and finding fun facts along with unusual links to a wide variety of animals. She is doing a fantastic job with an unusual assortment of web related projects this summer.