Tuesday, November 28, 2006

2 days left to order painterly portraits

Wow, this month has flown by. There are only 2 days left to order our painterly style portraits ... yes, because I am still the only one here doing that style. I am planning to be pretty strict on the deadline this year. As you can see from the snapshot of my pending board the orders have been coming in all month long. The pending board represents about half of the work we have in-house. We also have a wall-pocket for revisions and the to-be-printed stack. The Warhols and Master Paw print styles have a deadline of 12/04 and that is next Monday! Local Dallas clients can always call us to see if we can squeeze them in at the last minute since shipping is not an issue. I really thought we were going to be a tad bit slower this year, however it is not stacking up that way. Ah well, not to worry .... we will get everyone proofed and printed very soon.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A New Pet Portrait Artist Blog

I heard from a another portrait artist the other day and she is an old e-mail buddy that actually did our dog Atticus in acrylic a year ago. I commissioned her to do something for Dan after Atticus passed. Anyway, check out Linda O'neill's new blog. Please visit her pet portrait blog and post a comment or two. Linda is a very talented portrait artist working in Colorado. I just ordered some Atticus Greeting cards from her. I was so thrilled to see she had chosen to include our boy in her new line of cards.

We were also surprised and elated to see our Pixel in Kathy Weller's new doggy calendar. She is even Miss January ...what an honor! I am going to purchase that calendar right now. I have often wondered how my clients feel when they find their pet's artwork on gift items at our site .... now I know ... it is pretty darn cool. It is really fun to be the client!

Many thanks to both of these talented women for their friendship and inspiration. And thanks for immortalizing my fur-kids.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Steam engine train trip

Well this is the time of year that I usually stop taking any days off and I try to work straight through until a week before Christmas. Sunday was an exception to that routine. I took a much needed break and went with my Father and my Husband on a train ride through East Texas. The trip took about an hour and a half. It started in Rusk and ended in a little city called Palestine. The steam engine train cut through a forest at a whopping 30 mph. All of the cars were packed and we were hanging with the very young and the very old. It was quite fun to be traveling with both young families with toddlers and senior citizens ( many of whom had train ride memories from long ago). The slow journey was quite relaxing and there was nothing to do but take in the view from our window and enjoy the fall colors. There was no cell phone reception in this big hunk of metal out on the middle of the country-side so even the few teenagers on board had to relax back in their seats and be with their own thoughts for the ride.

Click here to read more about our Historic Texas State Railroad.

It is back to the electronic easel for me this week. I am trying hard to get about 10 new portraits on-line before Thanksgiving. I'll try to post some of my new projects soon.

Dad is to the left and husband to the right

Our Train!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Cafe Press and Custom Gifts

Today's resource link is for any artist or ordinary pet lover wanting to create unique custom gift items with their pet's image on it. Most of you have probably heard of Cafe Press, but if you have not you need to check out their printing services. They do all of the printing on our gift items such as mugs, t-shirts, greeting cards, journals, clocks, pillows, magnets, and much more. When our clients order custom artwork we create a gift-shop page for them to shop from, and Cafe Press handles all printing, shipping and order taking for us. It is a pretty cool system, and with a money back guarantee I know they will handle all my clients well.

I have turned a few artists on to Cafe Press over the years. Actually I have referred over 60 artists to Cafe Press in the past 5 years. Check out these two shops from a couple of my pals and by some cards today, as they are on sale 25% off until tomorrow only. The floral artist is Sheila Finkelstein, and the Japanese dog art is from an old client and girlfriend in Japan.

Through Cafe Press we have created a huge giftshop (over 5000 items) with every breed of dog & cat that you can imagine. We donate 10 % of our giftshop sales to local rescue groups. Check out our snowflake cards and stock up while they are on sale. Sale ends tomorrow.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Picasso & Lump

Picasso & Lump is a great book for both art lovers and Doxie fans. Book contains charming photos of Picasso with Photo-journalist David Douglas Duncan's Doxie "Lump". Picasso painted a portrait of Lump on a plate and the little guy later found his way into Picasso's suite of 45 paintings reinterpreting Velsquezs masterpiece Las Meninas.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Arts Magnet High School Senior Show

Last week we had the pleasure of attending Teryn's senior show at the Arts Magnet. Teryn is a talented young artist that works with us on Saturdays. It was really fun being at a High School Art show. I must say that the work seemed to be of a much higher caliber than when I was a senior at The Arts Magnet back in 1980. I was very fortunate to attend the Dallas Arts Magnet way back during it's infancy. The school has come a very long way since then and students now have to undergo a rigorous portfolio admissions process. Dan and I were both very impressed with Teryn's artwork. She has a very sophisticated approach to all the various mediums and her drawing skills are far beyond that of the average high school student. I am posting a shot of her next to a terrific self portrait that she titled "Hey".

For many kids in the average American high school the prom can be just about the biggest night of your life. For an art student your senior show, well .. . it is a pretty big deal. Miss Teryn was working the room like a total gallery pro. She was having a blast with all of her friends while still checking in on her boss from time to time, helping me find all of her pieces and telling me about some of the other work around us. She looked like a pixie in a blue vintage cocktail dress from the 50's. For a quite soft-spoken young lady she seemed very at ease in the limelight. We are very proud of Teryn and we will all miss her when she goes off to college next year.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

New Pet Portraits today

"Cody & Quincy"
(proof #2)

Zowie ... I have been pushing pixels today ... got a lot of work finalized. Today I proofed a few multi pet orders. I finished Molly & Isabelle, Bear Myah & Hula, and Cody & Quincy.

Cody & Quincy were by far the most difficult as their image was really low in resolution ( like tiny ). This was a memorial project so re-shooting was not an option. I am very happy with their final proofs. These pups had winning smiles so even with the photo-challenge I really enjoyed playing with these two. I hope their human is happy ... I always worry so much on the memorial projects ....I just want them to be perfect.
Cody After (proof#1)

Cody Before (original image enlarged)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

"A Good Dog"

I am currently reading a great book by Jon Katz about an intense and challenging Border Collie named Orson. The quote on the inside jacket that made me purchase the book reads: "People who love dogs often talk about a 'lifetime dog'. I'd heard the phrase a dozen times before I came to recognize its significance. Lifetime dogs are dogs we love in especially powerful, sometime inexplicable ways" - Jon Katz

I would highly recommend this book. It is a light read, and it is fun to read aloud with a partner. Adults often forget how nice it is to share a story and how comforting it feels to be read to. We don't have any kids around to read to but our dogs all seem to love our story hour.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

More Pet Portrait Clients

Ginger and Diane have become great doggy pals over the years and we have done a handful of art pieces for Miss Ginger (boxer). Diane is a total animal lover and recently started a line of jewelry for dogs. We hope to tell you guys a lot more about that just as soon as I can convince her to get her work on-line.
Diane & Ginger
Spike The Chihuahua

Spike is a new pop art client. This very handsome rescue boy dropped by in person with his human to pick up his portrait so we snapped a few quick shots.

And Now for Some faux home-shots

It is great when you can get some really fun "reality shots" from your clients, but artists that are really handy with photoshop should also consider the magic of stock images. Photography stock sites have tons of groovy interior design shots that make for nice presentation backdrops for portrait work. I used the vanishing point tool, drop shadow, blur, and levels in photoshop to blend the portraits below into their fantasy environments. You can see more room ideas by clicking here.

Riley The American Bulldog


GiGi The Pit Bull

Friday, November 10, 2006

Patron's Choice Award

YAY, I won an award at EBSQ for my digital collage called " The Robot TV Ate Lassie". Ok, I will have to admit there were not a gazillion submissions on this show ( almost as many awards as entries) , but hey ... they liked my entry. I also received a couple of awards this year for their pet portrait swap show. At the time I did not post about that since I felt like I was receiving an award for the kind of artwork that I do all the time. In other words it was not something new or risky for me. This entry was different as it had a 1950's theme, and it was more of digital collage just for fun, so yea I feel like tooting my horn a little. Of course this is a great reminder that I need to do more artwork for myself. I find that my non commercial artwork always fuels new ideas and keeps me fresh at my job. EBSQ is a great little community with monthly art shows and a wide range of artists working in all mediums. This is the first year that I have participated in any shows at ebsq.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Pet Portraits In the Home

Over the years a few clients have sent me pics of their pets next to their portraits, or shots of their Art Paw originals in their home. I would like to encourage all of my existing clients to e-mail us a snap of your art in the home. E-mail us a photo & we will post it. I really enjoy getting a glimpse into your world.

Kung Fu Fu's Art

Lola Next to her Art

Penny & Pony's Art

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My Scottie Dog Ajax

So yesterady I am minding my own business, walking out of the shipping and stretching studio out back and I see my little Scottie Ajax sitting atop a large planter. This little guy has always been sort of cat-like, perching in unusual spots. I command him to sit & stay while I run in to grab my camera, of course he senses my excitement and promptly follows me inside. So I repositioned him to snap a few shots. As you can see from the original photo he was not all that keen on "pot-sitting" when it was not his own idea. I sketched around a bit with his photo this afternoon and tilted his head so he looks a tad more enthusiastic. Yes that is his bat-bandanna left over from halloween, I finally removed it today during a muddy paw washing. What am I doing playing around with my own photos ... I dunno, I need to get busy on portraits.

Monday, November 06, 2006

2 New Painterly Portraits

Sunday I worked all day alone and got 2 new portraits finished. I have a pretty yet conservative piece for a Golden Retriever named Major and a colorful memorial for a sweet Rotti by the name of Guiness. I really enjoyed playing with these 2 pups. Sunday was a cloudy dreary day and it was the perfect weather to settle in with my wacom tablet, a six pack of diet coke, and my music.
"Guiness The Ball Boy"

"Major Smiling"

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What a tiny web we weave

What a small world the web can be. I love it when local portrait clients find me on-line. This morning a very local web connection occurred for me. Passing a familiar neighbor on my morning dog walk we exchanged early morning chit chat and I discovered she is an ebayer, and doll collector. I got her user name and over my morning coffee I checked out her auctions. So you are probably thinking "oh you are talking about some sweet little lady that collects and sells dolls". Well yea, she is a nice gal but I would never call her a "sweet little lady". Her ebay listings are fun and clever exercises in creative writing. What a sense of humor! She has a few Barbies up for auction this week and a little plastic German gal named Lily (she is a real show stopper). Skipper & Midge go to the fair in one photo spread, while her writing for a dark haired pony-tailed Barbie just made me laugh out loud: "I can't tell if she is smiling at me or making fun of me. Maybe she is just remembering someone from her past" ... and she just goes on and on.

If you are an ebayer needing writing inspiration check out this gal's ebay listing today ... her auctions are ending soon. Click here to be amused, and place a bid while you are browsing.

This weekend I challenge you all to put down the mouse and get outside. Talk to your neighbors. Find out if they ebay, you might just get a glimpse inside their "web worlds" where we all get to play and be ourselves.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

White Rock Lake

Posting a few pics from our outing on Sunday with Big Tommy. These shots were taken at and around the old water pump station at the lake. A long time ago White Rock Lake was used to supply some of the drinking water for Dallas. Today the old station has been given a face lift however the back side of the station still sports some terrific graffiti.