Thursday, July 27, 2006

With respect

It is with much respect and a sad heart that I am starting on 3 memorials this week. One of our old clients that we were fortunate to capture while she was still around has passed away unexpectedly. Heidi is a terrific Saint Bernard and her humans are active rescue volunteers and terrific dedicated animal lovers. I know they will miss their special girl. I will also be working on Grizzly, a big bear of a Chow and Keyne a very handsome Rotti. My heart goes out to their families. It is never easy to loose our fur-kids and sometimes non-pet humans just do not understand how deep this sort of grief can be. When you get right down to it love is love, and grief is grief regardless of the species. We all have to process it in our own way. I am just very honored that I am often asked to help create a piece of art that may help keep the happy memories alive.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Free Holiday Cards and Christmas Ornaments

Art Paw is giving away free holiday cards and Christmas ornaments to all existing clients this week. You can choose from a set of 6 note cards or a fun ceramic tree ornament ( with your pet's artwork). One gift per household. I decided what is a Christmas in July promo without presents to my loyal and long time clients. All you have to do to receive your gift is give Rebecca (me) a call toll free this week at 888-225-4278. I will need the name of the person that ordered your custom art and your pet's name. Your holiday goodies will be designed from your old artwork and we will mail your gift to you within 4- 6 weeks. Please give me a call and collect your Christmas present. I want to hear from all of you guys and find out how many new pets you have and what is going on with your 4 legged pack. Merry Christmas!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Painterly Golden Retrievers

All of the Golden Retriever artwork below was created using my painterly style which incorporates hand drawn lines and paint smudges that are applied via an electronic stylus. This style of working and smudging pixels around lends itself quite well to long haired pups like Goldens.
Auggie and Brutus were a fun and dynamic duo that I played with earlier this spring.

Bailsworth (below)is a very handsome pup that Dan worked on last year. Dan doesn't get to play very often however when he does step in and work on one of our portrait projects the results are always terrific.

Bear was a joy to play with because his humans are professional wildlife photographers and his original photo was very nice.

Beau and Belle really pop against this blue ground.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Shadow Highlight Tool

Ok today I am going to share my all time favorite new tool in Photoshop CS2, well it is new to me anyway. I stumbled across this late last year and I now use this tool on almost every photo that comes across my desk. It is especially handy when dealing with black dogs. My clients have a very tough time photographing their black coated pups without ending up with a solid black dot. As the owner of 3 black Scotties I know all too well how tough it is to create the perfect lighting situation for dark dogs. With a little photoshop knowledge you can find the best in your every day digital snapshots and squeeze out a little magic in the pixels you end up with.

The shadow highlight tool is very similar to adjusting levels, however it gives you much finer control. I am posting two shots of my boy Ajax. We shot this at the lake in the middle of a bright sunny afternoon. I saw some of that orange safety netting all balled up on the ground and thought it would be a fun backdrop for our boy. The resulting photo was ok, but the facial details on my boy were hiding. By using the shadow highlight filter in Photoshop I was able to find his sweet eyes.
Ajax As Shot:

Ajax with Shadow Highlight Filter:

Click Here to see a quick time tutorial on this fabulous tool. Just click on the pumpkin screenshot when you get to the tutorial page to launch the lesson.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hooves & Feathers

Earlier this summer before we got so snowed under in custom orders the girls spent some time playing around with wild life images. Now we have some fine feathered friends in the gift shop and some other fun critters. I even spent a little time playing around with insects. I wanted to do a lot more creepy crawlers, maybe soon I will get caught up with my commissions and return to my bug art. Years ago when I designed greeting cards for a living I had a line of insect cards. They did not do all that well at the retail level, but the few people that did like them really loved them.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Dateline Kennel

Another day, another portrait. Busy working on art this week so watch the homepage for updates. No time for blogging. Here is a quick link to a fun site:

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Portraits and more Portraits

Lot's of new orders came in last week, and we have quite a few things ready to be stretched and shipped out. Anyone with any questions about their order status should give us a call toll free: 888-225-4278. In an effort to maintain better communication with all custom clients we will start sending out weekly project reports on Fridays.

We are setting up a new production schedule and we will be printing twice a week, and stretching only on Fridays. I am trying to find my groove so to speak so things will run smoothly when it really gets crazy here in the fall.

I just printed Bosco today and he looks great!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Puggie Night Lights

If you are a Chinese pug owner there is no need to bark in the dark any longer. We just created a fun new page of Pug night lights that will light up your life. There are 8 fun styles and they are created in-house.

I know, I know, the rest of you guys are wondering how you can get a little light for your Laso, some glow for your Grey hound or a bright bulb for your Bichon. With well over 200 dog breeds to try and cover it may take us awhile to get to your breed. Order a custom portrait before August of 06 and I'll toss in a free night light with your own artwork if you use promo code #0706lite.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Art Tutorials

You know the web is so abundant with art tutorials these days. Many of these learning exercises have quick time movies, flash demos and audio. Until I can find the time to sit down and start writing my own tutorials I think I will start sharing my web-finds here on Saturdays. So if you are an artist yourself, please visit us again next Saturday and feel free to comment and leave us any cool links to your favorite on-line learning tutorials.

Here are a few recent finds: ( have to sign up for free account)

Pop Art Tutorials:

Warhol Tutorial

Warhol Tutorial #2

And click here for some fun flash on basic art principles.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Hot Dog Days

We gave the Scotts a haircut this week, and they seemed really happy about it. Yesterday it reached 102 here in Dallas, and we are supposed to see the same today. I love opening up the Art Paw home page this month during our Christmas in July sale and seeing that blue snowflake graphic. It cools me off and reminds me that fall will be here before we know it.

Scottie fans should check out 3-dog howl's Scottie Days of Summer artwork below, it will cool you off!

You might also wade into Cafe Press to take a peek at my friend Sheila's lovely photography that is available on notecards ...summer is a great time to send some cards & letters.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cool Shades

I just finished working on a great little guy named Bosco. This fellow could be our poster-boy for the coolest of summer dogs. He is sporting a Hawaiian shirt and sun glasses. Click here to see his proof. I am very happy with Mr. Bosco.

Over the years a few clients have sent us photos of their pups in shades. As a digital artist my fun challenge with these pics is often finding some hint of eyeballs beneath the plastic lenses and then burning (darkening) the pupils so that the dog's sparkle and character comes through. Spectacled pups always make me smile.

More Cool Shaded Dogs:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The "Staff" is growing!

Lots of fun stuff happening around here these days. To begin with we have some new faces this summer. We just hired a very talented photographer named Diane, and her bio and photos will be added to the site soon. One of my best friends has agreed to take over shipping and canvas stretching and she also gave my production room a face lift (see pics in last post). Her name is also Rebecca and she is a very talented artist and jewelry designer. We have been getting to see a lot more of young Teryn, a talented teenager that works with us on Saturdays. The summer has been busy and I am trying to staff up for the crazy Christmas rush that will start in just a few short months. Allison is taking over more and more web related duties and I think she just may be my right arm this holiday season.

And Then They Leave:
We had to say goodbye to Matt earlier this year. He decided to move back home to New Mexico. I gave him a glowing referral however and he landed a great design job with some sort of herbal products company. Art Paw is really just a tiny little studio and home based business so when we loose people it is like loosing family. I am always happy though when "my talented kids" ( ha, everyone under 44 is a kid) move on to pursue their own dreams. My little purple haired Lola has stopped returning home during her college breaks and we miss her too. I have come to realize that Art Paw will always have a constant flow of canines and young artists.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Art Paw Studio News

Last week Dan was off work and he started to get his new painting studio set up. He also gave me windows in my doors on my production building. We have two of those wooden storage type sheds that you can purchase from Home Depot. Both are wired with electricity and air conditioning. They are air tight and they are perfect artist studios. When I first started my business 8 years ago I would run out and pay retail on card board boxes every time I needed to ship a portrait. During my 3rd year in business when the orders were increasing and steady it became obvious that I had to start buying boxes wholesale. It was at that time that I knew a had to have more space and quick. The storage shed was the perfect solution for shipping. We have since extended it's functions to include canvas stretching. This summer my best friend has organized my space for me with new shelving, wire baskets, and a place for every tool.
I painted the trim green and added a few flower pots to dress it up. Some time this month I plan to design my own vinyl window shades for the new door windows. What was originally an ugly brown box in the backyard is turning out to be a very efficient and good looking work space.
Dan Working on my door windows

Interior Shots

Monday, July 10, 2006

New Chihuahua Art

I am currently working on a cute little Chihuahua named Tabasco. This tiny pup is from Sweden and I am finalizing his artwork today with a few tweaks and minor adjustments. Later this week I have a few more painterly works to start on. If you are checking the site for your proof ... stay tuned. I hope to be caught up with all orders by the end of this week, ( crossing fingers ).

Chihuahuas are such cool little dogs. When I was in high school I dated this boy that had a pet Chihuahua that belonged to his Mom. The little guy was sort of nippy and snappy (the dog not the boy). I had never known any other Chihuahuas so I got a bad impression of the breed as a young girl. Later on in the late-eighties while I was managing a doggy biscuit bakery I was fortunate to meet some really cool and very well adjusted Chihuahuas, a few that I totally fell in love with. I learned that they are really very big dogs in tiny packages. I also learned at that time that you can not judge a breed by one dog's behavior. Yea, Chihuahaus are very cool, and probably often misunderstood.

I'm sure Tabasco is probably an angel when he needs to be and a feisty chili pepper when the occasion calls for it. I'm really liking this new piece, and it was fun incorporating the human "paw" in this work. As the owner pointed out the hand does give a real sense of scale for this little pup.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Art Blogs

I enjoy reading other artist blogs much more than writing in my own, and it seems that more and more artists are blogging these days. I just found out that one of my all time favorites has started a blog. For some non-doggy rambles check out Jeff Soto. His blog is brand new, but he is an established artist with a huge following. We have a few of his silkscreens on our walls at home. Another fantastic general art blog that is on the subject of drawing is called Drawn.

For animal related art stuff check out these fun pet art blogs:
Terry Pond ( The wiener dog artist)
Leanne Wildermuth
Big Cat Heads
Carrie Hawks
Kathy Weller
Michelle's blog

It is a lot of fun to peek into the lives of other artists and see what they are working on. Some artist blogs can be very personal and some can be sort of general, but I find them all interesting. Ok,so now that I have avoided any real writing myself today, it is back to work for me.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Boston Terriers

This month I am focusing on Boston Terriers and we have updated that section of our site to offer some new limited edition Boston Terrier prints, boston nightlights and more. I am scouting around the web to find other cool artists to include in our Boston Terrier links page that is still under construction. Today I bumped into a really cool young artist from New York that has some amazing fresh work. Her name is Alexis Trice ... check her out. Her work is very quirky and very hip.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4rth of July!

Happy 4rth of July. The Scottie above is our boy Atticus. That art image is from a few years ago and it always makes me smile. The hat was photo-shopped in however if we had an uncle Sam hat like that Atticus would have been happy to wear it ...he loved clothes.

I just did a quick search at CafePress for more Patriotic Dogs and found some Scotties by one of my favorite artists (Maggie Ross)...check out the cool gifts with the Scotts below on them.

She also has a great Airedale:

Cafe Press returned over 46,000 results for "Patriotic Dog". Zowie, that is a lot of red white and blue canines.

Have a fun and safe fourth of July. Don't forget to bring inside any skiddish dogs and young puppies that may be frightened by the noise of local fireworks displays.