Friday, June 29, 2007
Wow, I have been away from the blog for way too long. Not only have I not had time to blog I am also missing all the blogs I usually frequent during the week. Today I will post a few pics from the trade show we just finished up last Monday. I had a great time and met some terrific people. I went home with a stack of leads, and a lot of work to do. I am getting caught up on portraits now and hope to be back to my regular life by next week.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I wish I knew more about creating and editing video, because this would be way cool to do with dog art. There are just not enough hours in the day to learn everything I want to know. Hmmm maybe if I would quit surfing the web for 10 minutes I could pick up a book on video editing ... yea maybe.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
#1 Remember that in most cases you do not pay an artist by the hour.
Faster does not equal better.
What this means to you is that while it might seem super cool to place a rush on your project or beg and plead to have the artist create you portrait in a day or an hour (Uncle Benny's birthday is next week), when it comes to custom artwork faster is not always better. Plan your project ahead of time and allow your artist the time they need to create a masterpiece for you. This does not mean that desired delivery dates should not be discussed as most artists are usually willing to try to hit target dates on request. Here at Art Paw we do our very best to never miss a deadline, and I know several other talented artists that provide the same level of service to their clients.
#2 A question of decor, will it match the sofa?
Most artists are more than happy to work with a little color direction on your part. I am always tickled when folks send paint chips, however a simple shot of the room where the artwork will be placed can really clue me in on tastes and style. The best way to give your artist some creative elbow room is to just suggest either a "warm" palette (reds & oranges) or a "cool" palette (blues & greens).
#3 A good photograph makes all the difference ...shoot, shoot and shoot again
In the old days film and processing cost money, today the majority of my clients have digital cameras which should allow them to take a hundred or more shots if that is what it takes to get one great shot. My biggest tip on shooting digital is set that camera at your highest quality setting. High resolution files are the best. Also get up close to your pet, they should fill the frame.
#4 Choosing an artist
When I started my business back in 1998 there were very few artists on the web offering their talents. Today it seems like 100 more new names appear on-line each day. The best way to find an artist on-line is to just google around and look at portfolios. Find someone working in a style you like, and then check out their working terms. Do they offer a money back guarantee or proofing. Here at Art Paw we do both and yet I will be the first to admit that there are tons of great artists that do neither. If an artist does not offer you safety net terms and yet you love their style, I suggest you check out their length of time on-line, or customer testimonials. Do they have a professional looking site with their own domain name? If for any reason you are not comfortable dealing with someone via the web try to find an artist in your own city that you can meet with in person.
#5 Order your holiday gift giving pet portraits in the summer
Pet portraits have grown in popularity over the years and every portrait artist I know is totally swamped from November to Christmas Eve. Most artists have strict deadlines that they adhere to during the holidays. Order early and get your favorite artist's best unhurried work.
Next week I will post my top 5 tips for artists on managing their commissions.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Today we uploaded 2 new painterly projects. Rusty and Tupelo are two terrific big dogs with strong lines and pretty eyes. I am very close to being caught up for the first time all year. Yay for me. We only have a few portraits in-house to start from scratch.
Other Dog Art Stuff In The News:
A British performance artist and Yoko Ono have eaten a Corgi dog in public to protest the Royal family's love for Fox hunting. This seems a bit extreme to me. I have a hard time believing this person could really be a sincere animal advocate.
Read more on this story here.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
This is a new version of Georgia & Pudge. I took my detailed painterly work and then abstracted it with more filters. I sort of like this one, and at least now the earlier proofing options will seem tame. This one is nice and flat & graphic. I think for canvas I prefer the more detailed painterly work, but this might be yummy on thick watercolor paper.
This weekend I found my muse at Half Price Books. When I walk into a book store I take my creative "artist brain" and my creative "business woman brain" and usually one brain will win the day and garner all of my time in their favorite department. Well Sunday I got lucky and found 2 books for each of my creative brains.
First I have to tell you about a really brilliant book for kids and adults and especially for artists. Run out and get a copy of Dr. Seuss' old book " On Beyond Zebra". I love love love this stunning book.
Here is an excerpt:
" In the places I go there are things that I see
That I never could spell if I stopped with the Z.
I'm telling you this 'cause you're one of my friends.
My alphabet starts where your alphabet ends!"
This thin little children's book is the best book on creativity I have ever seen. Oh and if you do not have kids it is ok to read it out loud to your dogs.
You can order a newer copy at Amazon:
The other book I just finished reading today is Seth Godin's book "Permission Marketing". I found it dry, tedious, and repetitive. With that said I would also highly recommend it. I did gain some working knowledge that I will apply to my business. The man is no Dr. Seuss ok., and business books are as a rule not as fun as a romp in the park, but if you have an open mind you can find what you need in them. I also try to check in on Seth Godin's Blog from time to time. He has some other business books that I plan to read soon, so don't let my negative comments on his writing style keep you from learning from him. This guy knows his stuff.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Georgia & Pudge are two of my new favorite Bullies. The client requested a sort of "neutral toned" Bulldog portrait to work on a nice red wall. Sounds like they really do have great taste with lots of silver, and modern warm neutral tones in their home. The image posted here is my splashy and maybe way too colorful version that I sort of did for myself. When I proof Pudge & Georgia's humans I will be sure and include some more conservative or "toned down" options as well. While I always love design notes and input from my clients I also have to just go crazy sometimes and have fun, throwing caution to the wind. They have a signed Dali print for goodness sake, my colors can not be all that bold (crossing fingers).
If you click to enlarge the detail above you will see where I have tried to get a bit messy. I used a cool splatter brush to create some fun paint texture on this piece. It is always a challenge to get loose and get messy with digital art, but when you can find your groove with it the results can be very fun. I feel like the more intentional drips and splatters I can work into a painting the more I can separate my work from more filter oriented artists. One of my favorite parts on this piece is that red splotch on the red pillow. I know, 2 adorable sweet pups and I am in love with a pillow splotch. I do also love the tiny beauty mark on Georgia's right cheek and the freckles on her left ear.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Yesterday I talked about American Bulldogs, today I want to talk about Mini Schnauzers and my most recent Aussie client Skye. Skye looks adorable chewing on that tasty bone. This commission is a surprise Birthday gift portrait for Skye's Dad. He will get to choose his favorite proof to be printed. This portrait is a good example of how a special candid photograph can turn out really great as a painterly style portrait.
I have not had the opportunity to create very many Schnauzer portraits in the past 9 years however I have done a few Mini Schnauzuers that I am quite proud of. Last month I worked on Micah ( see below)
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Casino an American Bulldog with a card themed background while Allison knocked out a really terrific Warhol inspired portrait of Thunder & Taylor. We are still fine-tuning both portraits a little this week.
American Bulldogs have long been a favorite breed of mine, I just love their strong lines and sleek muscles.
The American Bulldog is a working dog developed for catching livestock and for protecting property. There are generally considered to be two types of American Bulldog, the Johnson type and the Scott type, named after the breeders who were influential in developing them, John D. Johnson and Allen Scott. These are more commonly known as Classic or Bully type and Standard or Performance type. More from Wikipedia
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
We took a very brief break on Sunday and drove down to Austin. We stayed at the lovely San Jose and we hung out with Big Tommy at Barton Springs. The pics are from Monday. I figured it was about time I added a current pic of me to the web. All my pics from the bio pages are about 9 years old now, and 36 looked a lot different for me than 45.
Tommy had a blast retrieving his ball from Barton Springs. He was not a natural water dog like our Nessie, but he eventually got the hang of it.
Friday, June 01, 2007
I still remember staring at the fax machine 15 years ago in awe at the magic of technology, and now we can create 3-d objects with the ease of using a printer and computer software. It may be a few years before the price tag is feasible for a small art studio like Art Paw, but who knows maybe pet sculptures will be our next big adventure.
You can also read a great article on 3-d printing by clicking here.