Wednesday, February 28, 2007

San Antonio City Of Tile and Texture

We are returning home today from a brief 2 -day trip to San Antonio. I went to yet another Photoshop workshop on Monday and this time Dan joined me for a little mini-break. We both brought our cameras and we have been shooting a bit down town. We stayed at the new Drury Inn in the old Alamo Bank building. They have done a terrific job renovating this stunning piece of historic architecture.
Tile and Texture:
San Antonio is such a lovely city. The place is rich in tile, texture and pattern. Everywhere we turned there were rich old buildings with ornate flourishes and layers of history. Everywhere I stepped I saw old tile.

We caught some Warhol at the Mcnay Museum:
It is a traveling show called "Factory Work: Warhol, Wyeth, Basquiat".
One of the most shocking items in the show was a display case that contained a stuffed calico cat and a stuffed dog. Evidently both Jamie Wyeth and Warhol collected discarded taxidermied pets. Wyeth used his as props for still life drawings and paintings, while Warhol seemed to just be into the oddity of the collecting. Andy owned a stuffed Great Dane that once belonged to Cecil B Demille. The stuffed Dane stood guard at the factory and now is on display at the Andy Warhol Museum.

The Mcnay exhibit had a couple of terrific portraits of Andy and his dog Archie by Wyeth. The show was very educational and really gave the viewer a glimpse into the relationships between Warhol and these 2 artists. Evidently "Factory Work" has been traveling for awhile and I found a terrific review of it on-line by Lenny Campello.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Kodo Drummers

This last Sunday evening we took my Dad to see the Kodo Drummers from Japan. We had 3rd row seats and the performance was amazing. This is the second time we have seen these guys and each show seems better than the last. They are currently touring here in the states on their "One Earth Tour".

In Japanese the word "Kodo" has two meanings: Firstly, "heartbeat" the primal source of all rhythm. The sound of the great taiko is said to resemble a mother's heartbeat as felt in the womb, and it is true that babies are often lulled asleep by its strong vibrations. Secondly, the word can also mean "children of the drum," which is a reflection of Kodo's desire to play their drums simply, with the heart of a child.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

"Chirp" Digital Bird Painting

This is titled "Chirp" and it is a personal piece created for fun. I really need to print today, and get some portraits finalized. Here I am playing with birds & berries. This was created from 2 stock photos in Photoshop with a Wacom tablet. The berries are from a Pyracantha plant, although somewhat enlarged. Heck they almost look like ripe tomatoes. This tiny song bird would have a tummy ache if he ate too many of these red berries. I love old bird books and in the past I have used birds in many personal works. I find they have a very symbolic and powerful place in art. I have never kept birds as pets and honestly my deep respect for them borders on fear. In my living room I have a huge original Audubon print of a fierce snow owl. The piece originally belonged to my grandfather and it was one of his favorite pieces and always hung proudly in his living room. The owl print still scares the hell out of me but I also love it.

Oh and I should also credit Linda O'Neill as an inspiration for "Chirp". She has a way with fruit. Her recent painting of red grapes was on my mind as I tried to make my berries look soft and painted. In the end I think my berry paint strokes were a little harsher and fail to glow in a true O'Neill fashion ... but I am still very happy with the piece.

Monday, February 19, 2007

My Shaggy Dog

We have let our Scottie dogs get a little shaggy this past month or so. Today will probably be a spa day with haircuts for all. Ajax is very cold natured and we keep him in sweaters during the coldest months. I love this recent shot of him. He is my pookie.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lemur Artwork

I just submitted 2 pieces of Lemur artwork to a show over at ebsq. The ebsq monthly shows are a great way to break out of my routine and create some works that are not dog and cat related. The web is abundant with fun communities and playgrounds that can keep the creative juices flowing. I know one pet portrait artist that frequents a weekly sketching blog to keep her hand skills and illustration work strong. My husband is part of a writing community, and a very good pal of ours is big into some group over at livejournal. It seems that no matter what your passion there is a group somewhere on the web with a shared interest. Sometimes it is hard to sit back and remember life before the web.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I Shot A Man in Reno

Coming home from my Photoshop seminar in Austin last month I stopped at my favorite antique mall. Of course the goal was to find more scottie dog trinkets for my collection. Instead I stumbled upon the most intricately crafted toys from the 60's. For only .75 each I snagged half a dozen plastic Cowboy and Indian figures. They are stamped on the bottom "plastimarx". I was not sure what I would do with them but I knew they had to be photographed. I am still uncertain what their final purpose will be ....they may just sit on a shelf in the office. When I was in my 20's a supreme find of this nature would have called for hot glue and a proud spot on my kitchen wall. For now I shot them and dropped in some clouds ... maybe they should be postcards? They are not quite art yet although I do have a title for the guy clutching his chest ... he is my " Man in Reno".

Thursday, February 15, 2007

New Custom Dog Portraits

What a busy week. I have had a few clients in and out this past week. I got to meet Keegen's human. Keegen is a stunning Whippet that I "painted " for a local patron as a valentines gift to his sweetheart. He went with the dramatic red background from his proof set. I am showing the pattern ground here because I really like the peach shade in this version of this background. I tend to recycle or "re-purpose" as they say in the design biz ... a lot of our backgrounds, and the one shown below is a brand new flavor for one of my all time favorite patterns from 06.


I also got to play with Miss Ginger for my pal Diane to give to her hubby Bill. This will be Ginger's 5th portrait I think. She is one spoiled princess as this latest work shows only to well. For those of you wondering ... no I did not have to photoshop the crown on to this girl ... she had her own crown on in the original snapshot. Yep ...she is spoiled.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day everyone!
My valentines present from last year is outside right now barking her head off ...what a handful our Pixel has turned out to be. She is in dire need of training. Allison is in today taking care of client updates and assorted web work. I guess I will sneak away from my desk later to get the husband some nice dark chocolate ... his vice not mine.

My Siamese cupid is an old recycled image from the late 90's. I used her on some e-cards back when e-cards were all the rage.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cedar Waxwings

It is trying to be spring here in Texas, although winter keeps creeping back in as soon as you start to go for those capri pants and short sleeve shirts. Last week I had some stunning little visitors in my bird bath. I tried to get some good shots of these guys, but failed miserably. This black & white image was a lucky shot and I love the light coming through his feathers. These guys are Cedar Waxwings and a google image search will yield better pics than I was able to capture.
These pretty little birds move through here every spring. They hung around a couple of days longer during this migration ... probably due to the berries on one of our hedges. They managed to speckle both the sidewalks and my car with a dark purple stain. I washed my Jeep the 1st day they bombed it only to find it stained again the next day. I can not get too mad ... they are just so beautiful.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Westminster Dog Show

Yay ... the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show starts tonight. I will be checking it out with one of my girlfriends that is into rescue work. She gets together each year with her group of volunteers and assorted dog lovers for a party that includes wagering, food & drink. It should be a fun night.

While we are on the subject of dog shows you have to check out this really great show of dog art that I stumbled across last weekend. The show is called the "Wurstminster" dog show and a portion of the proceeds from the show are donated to Dove Lewis Animal Hospital in Portland Oregon.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

All things Warhol

Well Andy is in the news a lot lately. Anyone up for a road trip to Reno? If you are in that neck of the woods be sure and drop by the Nevada Museum of Art and check out Andy Warhol's Dream America exhibit. The exhibit focuses on his printmaking career and runs from January 20 through May 27.

Twenty years after his death Warhol has never been more popular, his portrait of Brigitte Bardot, recently sold for $10.3 million, more than double its estimated price.

Factory Girl is opening here in Dallas this weekend and I know where I will be on Sunday. From every thing I read it promises to be not a very fun romp in the park, but what the heck. Warhol's longtime friend Brigid Berlin is said to have been so taken with Guy Pearce's portrayal of Andy that she gave him a gift of her recorded phone conversations with Andy. Click here for more on that story.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Dog Art In the News

Brook Mason has written a terrific article for the New York Sun about dog art fetching top prices. According to Mason three New York auction houses are offering up 19th century paintings, porcelain and bronze pieces that celebrate man's best friend. The article goes on towards the end to discuss the current popularity of dog portrait commissions. Some well known oil artists garner commissions upwards of thirty thousand dollars a painting.
Check it out at The New York Sun.

If you can't make it to the New York auctions and you want to bone up on dog art history check out the offerings below from Amazon:

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Daphne & Dobie

Today was a very busy day. I finalized 3 portraits and updated 3 clients. I really like the way Daphne & Dobie (above) have turned out. Sometimes clients that are ordering more than one portrait have a tough time visualizing how their pieces will look together so I find it helpful to do a quick design mock up of the pieces hanging. This client had indicated that their artwork would be hanging on a sage green wall. While my version of "sage" may differ from their "sage" and their couch may be brown leather, I think the overall impact of seeing the pieces side by side may help. Doing a mock up takes a little extra time and yet if it helps the client visualize and come to a choice quicker then it is all worthwhile. Ha, and then there is always the chance it will confuse things further .... you just never know.

2/10 : On a side note Daphne and Dobie's humans just picked up their artwork and they were thrilled. Yay ... they are a sweet couple that live in our neighborhood. The artwork is a Valentines present.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Max the Cover Dog

Our painterly style artwork of Max the Moosh was chosen for the cover of Nashville Paw Magazine. I just got my issue today and he looks great. Nashville Paw is a terrific well written publication from editor Heather Davis. Most cities have some type of free pet related magazine supported by local advertisers. Some of these fun mags are sort of light on writing and heavy on ads. This is not the case with Nashville Paw. Not only is the magazine packed with original content, the writing is compassionate and it covers issues all pet lovers should care about. My favorite article in this issue is titled "Better with age. The joys of adopting a senior pet". Check out this labor of love on-line and subscribe to Nashville Paw. Our thanks to Heather for including our artwork in this terrific issue.

On a side-note Max is a handsome American Bulldog that I created artwork for back in 05. His sister Trixie was also immortalized at the time, and she is shown below.