Wyatt & Doc are the official winners of Sergeant's Splish Splash Photo Contest. We have their 1st proofs on-line today. Of course all of our work is custom so Deborah and her Bulldogs can request color changes as needed.
What inspires you? If you are an artist, who or what influences your artwork? How often do you feed the well? What type of objects do you collect or find joy in?As we go into the weekend think about those questions and go out and grab hold of some inspiration.
Like most artists I find my inspiration in a wide variety of areas. Here is a partial list of things in the world that light me up and inspire me to create: dusty old ephemera, broken or rusty machines, shiny new gadgets, packaging ...any kind of packaging, books, rain, school supplies, music, children's toys, signs, old album covers, photography, dogs, cats, handbags, friends, birds, new cities, paper, brand new art supplies, youth, the color green, old books, Elvis impersonators, magazines, power tools, garage sales.
This is Oscar. His humans took a great shot of him in his favorite spot. Capturing your pet in a favorite location will ensure that your pet portrait will make you smile for years to come. Even though we have colorized the couch and pillows, this boy's posture says it all and when that sofa is no longer around everyone will remember Oscar lounging on the back of it.
Don't have time to market yourself? Read this great little article by Ilise Benun called "Mark Your Calendar". It is geared towards graphic designers however the advice can be modified for your own personal needs. There is even a pdf calendar for 08 that you can download for free. This was found through my How newsletter. "How" is an incredible design magazine that I have been following for years. You can order it through Amazon or just follow the magazine on-line.
I will be posting more dog artwork later this week. I have been in a real blogging slump for a few days, posting mostly references to other sites and artists. Below is a wacom sketch of a frog I did last year. I decided to post this today in honor of all the poor froggies that our Scottie-Girl Pixel has been terrorizing in my backyard this summer.
Over the weekend I heard a reading on NPR of some of Merrill Markoe's writing. She is very funny. I went in search for an audio clip at NPR and then dug deeper to find her own site with several fun video clips. She has a great way of talking and thinking like a dog.
Check out the fantastic collage work by Gabby on Flickr. She has a very rich color sense and a playful attitude. I love this piece she did of a young girl with her best friend. Click here for more of her work.
This is an old favorite. These colorful pups look like toys to me. They should wind up and spin in circles while barking in a high pitched little yap.
Well it is Friday and another week has just flown by. I am almost caught up with July and August commissions. I have a few pet portrait projects for other artists and photographers that I have been sitting on until I have the time to devote to them. When I know a project is not a rush and I have a really great photo to work with, that project becomes my dessert ... saved to be enjoyed slowly. I love working on other artist's pets because I know they do not want my quickest work, they just want my best work. Next week should be fun.
Later today we will be uploading proofs for Higgins & Chloe. These two happy dogs belong to a gal that actually contacted us about our stray Luna. She is from Luna's old neighborhood and is fostering Luna's puppies. A devoted animal lover this human has been a joy to work with.
Oh, and on a side note, our Luna had her Spay yesterday ... no more unwanted pups! I guess we will be in search for a forever home for Luna next week. I am really getting attached, and yet 4 dogs seems like a bit much for us.
The other day I stumbled on to a dog art site that offered both digital and acrylic dog portraits. The thing that struck me as odd is that the site claimed to use "no Photoshop filters". I found this odd as both their acrylic and their digital work looked very filter oriented. Let me also say that the work was not half bad at all. The perplexing issue was why this artist felt the need to disavow any use of Photoshop filters. If the site's claim is true then this digital artist is missing out on some of Photoshop's strongest tools.
Here at Art Paw we use Photoshop filters in all of our works, even the most heavily painted piece is going to have some filter somewhere beneath the smudgy wacom paint layers. We do like to say that we do not rely on filters alone to achieve our results, and so we too may be guilty of down-playing the importance of filters. A digital artist that is good with filters and has learned the art of combining several filters, and adjusting their opacity to achieve spectacular results should not be ashamed of their knowledge, or feel that it is somehow inferior to traditional painting. I am blessed to have a number of traditional artist friends and associates that seem to respect my work, and digital art in general. I do realize though that there will always be "purists" that feel that Photoshop and digital art is in some way cheating. I would have to pause and ask a painter that considers themselves a purist if they are indeed mixing and grinding their pigments to create their own paints? I am sure that when commercial paints in little shiny metal tubes came onto the market place there were probably some old hold-outs that swore up and down that "true artists" will always mix their own pigments the old fashion way. I see the computer in much the same way as commercial "tubed" paint. It is a tool, just one more tool for an artist to explore.
I have just a few more minutes this morning to work on a portrait of Yodi the Chihuahua. I have to leave soon to go hang out at a pet adoption at Pet Smart for Luna. Yodi is coming along very well. I should have 4 proof samples on-line by Sunday for this sweet puppy. I am starting to get bored with my current file folder of original backgrounds so I played around with this background, adding both a ripple filter and a color gradient. I would love to find a spare day to just play around with patterns for future projects.
Our stray girl Luna still needs a home! We will be at the Pet Smart over at Greenville & Lovers tomorrow if anyone wants to meet her. She still needs her spay so we are taking pre-adoption applications.
This month we have a lot of Kitties and also a few Chihuahuas to work on. Tonight I have a few pet portraits to print and a few more to start on. This week has flown by!
Now is really the time to order for Christmas. I have recently changed our turn-around time to 4- 6 weeks on the painterly style. This is due to the number of both portraits and design projects we have in-house. All clients with an existing order on the board right now will still be slated for the original 2-3 week time frame.
"I had rather see the portrait of a dog that I know, than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world. Samuel Johnson
I have always liked the above quote by Johnson.
Found in Art News Blog: Samuel Johnson Portrait Attacked with Hammer. Evidently a 44 year old homeless man attacked a portrait of Johnson with a hammer. The damaged artwork was by the painter Joshua Reynolds.
Last week I finalized a proof on Charlie, a sweet King Charles Spaniel. I feel like I am behind on orders however in reality most projects are flowing well and everyone seems to be getting their proofs in a timely fashion. I think it is the batch of updates to do that has me feeling overwhelmed today. I will get to them all soon. On a positive note, I am starting to interview for the holidays. It is time to staff up around here.
I shot this tall and happy flower in the sky today. I actually took a day off and played with my camera this morning. If you like this you might check out the other macro shots I have in my Flickr stream.
We also finished the new Harry Potter book today and took in Bourne Ultimatum. It was sort of a jam packed day off. Ah, and tomorrow is Monday... back to work.
This is Bonkers. He is one stunning kitty cat. He and his brother Yikes are together in a 4-panel painterly piece. Poor Bonkers is not doing so good in real life and our heart goes out to his human as we know how hard it is when our babies are sick.
I am not a terrific writer and not knowing what more to say during hard times I share some cat quotes with very warm thoughts going out to Bonkers today and always ...
"The smallest feline is a masterpiece" --Leonardo Da Vinci
"The cat has too much spirit to have no heart." - Ernest Menault
"Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a function." - Garrison Keillor
"All loyalty has a little fur in it." - M. Malloy
"There is nothing sweeter than his peace when at rest, for there is nothing brisker than his life when in motion." - Christopher Smart
"If cats could talk, they wouldn’t." - Nan Porter
"Happiness is like a cat, If you try to coax it or call it, it will avoid you; it will never come. But if you pay not attention to it and go about your business, you’ll find it rubbing against your legs and jumping into your lap." - William John Bennett
Special thanks to Leigh at Noisy Dog Studio for a recent client referral. Leigh Jackson is a talented painter with a very slick website. I was just over there earlier this week and she has changed her site design slightly. It looks great, as does all of her artwork. She has a new logo banner at the top of her site with a lime green Boston Terrier ( maybe her own Hugo). Check out her unique pet portraits and while your there order a print or two as gifts for the dog lovers in your life.
Ok 2 posts in one day ... that does not happen often. Had to post this early sketch of Merlot in progress. I love this gal so much! I plan to play some more with her later tonight. Be sure and scroll down to see her buddy Martini.
Today I have around 6 portraits I am focusing on including 2 little dogs in caps. I love it when my clients get creative with their photographs and try adding in clothes, toys and other props. This Bichon is Martini, and I am also working on her sister Merlot. This is my first tame version of Martini and now I have to come up with a few wilder options to proof my client with.
You can see from the before picture below that my first step was to eliminate the tear stains, and then rotate Martini a bit to give her a more playful posture. Once I had my basic composition I started playing with color and digital paint strokes. This painterly portrait will take a few more hours to complete and proof. By playing a bit with the paint strokes around her mouth I have almost given her a subtle little grin. Yes she looks quite happy in her pink cap.
Rebecca Collins has been creating custom pet portraits since 1998. Her company Art Paw was one of the first of its kind on the web, and continues to stay ahead of the pack combining fine art and digital technology to satisfy both commercial and residential clients. Rebecca has created a dream job for herself that combines her love for animals, art and technology. She is owned by 3 Scottish Terriers and shares her life with her husband, Poet Dan Collins.