Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Continuing my Art Education in 09

It is that time of year again where we all start thinking about those extra 10 pounds, business goals, and so on. This year I want to go back to school so to speak and focus on continuing my art education. I am still thinking about how exactly I can do that without actually going back to school full time since that is sort of hard to do when you run your own art business. I don't really care about getting another piece of paper and so I am not as interested in pursuing a Masters degree as I am about pursuing a more intimate relationship with, local galleries, museums, and yea, my part time mosaic classes for sure.

This year I had a great Christmas and Dan and I both exchanged art books with each other. We do this a lot. I usually buy him pretty books on Japanese printmaking and he often gets me something by some independent artist like Jeff Soto. This year I received Jeff's latest book and a stunning little number by Ray Cesar. I bought Dan a nice book on old Chinese propaganda posters and a biography on Chagall. It is the thick Chagall "reader" that I was most excited about giving. I am thinking we might even share this one out loud the way we did with the Harry Potter series. Yep, I think if I am going to improve my knowledge of art it will have to come down to reading, ha and something a tad meatier than wizarding stories. Wish me luck .... I will let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Jazzy The Cocker Spaniel

Memorial project for sweet Cocker Spaniel named Jazzy.

The Art Of War

11 x 14 Loose Wacom Sketch ( above)
"The Art Of War"
16 x 20 Canvas Print ( Above)

Yesterday I posted some quick pencil sketches and it just made me want to try some wacom sketches. So today I am posting Celtie & Pixel in a piece I titled "The Art Of War". Celtie is an adorable little Scottie that we baby sat for a few weeks back along with her brother Rufus. They both own a great human by the name of Cheryl. Cheryl is an artist and Scottie rescue gal.

My Pixel & Celtie love to play tug of war, and boy do they get after it. I created a quick & loose sketch from a photo and then elaborated on it to create the larger work. I really like the toy guts spreading into the border area that contains some quotes from a Chinese military treatise that was written during the 6th century BC by Sun Tzu. I plan to let Celtie's Mom choose between the small loose sketch and the larger piece as a late holiday gift.

Monday, December 29, 2008

New Scottie Sketches

When the phone is not ringing off the wall, in the quite of a long weekend, I like to sketch. Sleepy dogs stretch and yawn. Waking from soft puppy dreams they shift, turn and scratch about the wooden floors, as my pencil hurries across the page scratching out their forms. My intense study of them has no doubt broken their peace, my gaze an irritant that interrupts their sleep.

Artist quotes on Sketching:
"There is a great appetite to work, and then my sketchbook serves me as a cookbook when I am hungry. I open it and the least of my sketches can offer me material for work." — Georges Braque 1882-1963

"Sketch quickly with light strokes on your pad ( which you should always have with you), and when it is full, start another, never rubbing out but keeping all carefully, because the forms and motions of the bodies are so infinitely various that they cannot possibly be retained in the memory. Therefore preserve your sketches, for they are your assistants and your masters." — Leonardo Da Vinci 1452-1519

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone has a relaxing holiday! I will be away from desk until next Tuesday.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Kaleigh Art

"what we have enjoyed, we can never lose ... all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." — Helen Keller

This stunning pup is Kaleigh. The pressure was on here to do a really great job. Not only was this an important memorial project, the original photo was supplied by one of my photographer pals Jill Beninato, of Jill is not only a talented dog photographer she is also a very talented digital artist. I am very pleased with Kaleigh's final artwork. I could not miss on this one... I had a beautiful subject and a first rate photograph to work with. Special thanks to Jill for this project referral, and to Sheri for all of her helpful input.

Merry Christmas to everyone! Art Paw is officially closed for the holidays, which means the phone is not getting picked up, and e-mail might just be neglected for a few days. I will be blogging this week and that is about it.

Oh ... and last but never least ... Happy Anniversary to my sweet guy, Dan. Thanks for the best decade of my entire life.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wishing Peace & Comfort for Ohnie's Mom

"Ohnie & Lena"
I am always very heartbroken when I hear about our old clients passing over to the rainbow bridge, and during a holiday season it is even sadder somehow. Please light a candle for Ohnie or send warm thoughts to her Mom. She said goodbye to her sweet girl on Thursday.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bear The Golden sent me a gift

Some of you guys may remember Bear the Golden Retriever. I have done several portraits of this photogenic pup. His Mom & Dad are talented wildlife photographers and we have become cyber pals over the years. I was delighted to get a great gift last week from Bear ... his first book! It is called "Bark Softly and carry a Big Stick. A dog's guide to the good life". Bear is an expert on living the good life, and this fun coffee table book is a great gift for any dog lover in your life. It is packed with stunning photography by Lisa Husar and words of wisdom she has gleaned from her years with Bear. It is a beautiful celebration of the canine human bond. You can order it on-line at their website Check it out! Thanks to Lisa & Bear for sending us this great book.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Frank, Viv, Lucy & Bo at Home

34 x 54 stretched canvas
Some of you may recall the extra large German Shepherd canvas I was working on back in October. Well Frank & the gang are hanging at home and their humans sent me a great shot this morning. If you check out the original post you will see that this piece really evolved quite a bit. My client was a big part of helping me get this design finalized. With her creative input the final work turned out amazing I think. Thanks again to Mimi & Kit for letting us play with their stunning pups.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A few more Pet Portraits

"Grey Kitty"

In 10 minutes I will be at the post office dropping off the last of my out of town orders. YAY .... HAPPY DANCE!!!
Everyone that placed an order by posted deadlines, and approved quickly on their orders will be shipping today. Most of the projects that required color revisions and are holiday projects should have been revised by now. If a project was not approved, or was not paid for, it may be on the pending board. I will spend a few hours this afternoon following up with any pending approvals or incomplete orders.

Later this week I will be posting a book review, new artwork, and in general having fun with the web and blogging. I am eager to make time to visit all the blogs I have been missing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Late Monday Night Dog Art Vlog

Well it has been awhile since I have done any video vlogging or interview projects. I have been needing to experiment with the Nokia N96. The folks over at asked me to play around with this groovy little device and post some video content .... soooo I figured this last big afternoon of canvas stretching would be a good subject. It was a very easy to use tool. I am pretty bad when it comes to figuring out new menus, and I have to say that within about 15 minutes I had figured out how to get the video content on my computer .... for an average tech savy person the learning curve would have been about 5 minutes.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Max the Mini Schnauzer and Monkey

" Max and Friend"

A cute photo almost always means a cute pet portrait. I adore this little guy and his monkey pal. I am at my desk today working on art. This project is one of a handful placed recently with a Rush added to it. It was placed after all posted deadlines, but what can I do ... they added a Rush, and the shopping cart did have that option. Besides ... how in the heck could I say no to Max? This is actually an anniversary gift I think, so I am in very good shape on time.

This weekend I plan to proof about 5 people total I think, and then I will be done ... except for a few straggling revision projects. My proofing e-mails today have taken on a bizarre urgent tone with an added line of text that says something like "you must approve quickly to meet this tight deadline" ... if you wait too long to approve there will be no time for shipping, with the last part bold and in red.

Yep ... I sound like a total wreck, I know. My best girlfriend dropped by yesterday after picking up her Christmas tree. We were outside looking at it and she looked at me and said "you know your hair looks like crap" ... ha, it really did, I had on a headband and my short do was just sticking up and out in a hundred directions. I just love women and how a good girlfriend can tell you how it is and you will laugh out loud. My husband could never get away with telling me my hair looks like crap.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Molly The Boxer


This project of Molly printed up really nice. She shipped out yesterday. I enjoyed working with this client as I had the opportunity to try to exceed customer service expectations. A really nice woman called to assist with the commission for her Granddaughter that was ordering for her parents. She had some smart questions for me and seemed cautious about ordering on-line. I understand her concerns... there have been a few websites I have been slow to order from this year, until I can call them. We initially did just a deposit for her instead of full payment to ease her concerns. I also made sure I proofed a day or two before I had promised, something I have been trying hard to do for everyone, although it has been tough this season.

Anyway, we shipped about 10 yesterday and we have at least that many to get out on Monday. I am putting the answering machine on today so I can focus on the artwork. If you are a client that ordered by our original November 15th deadline you should have been proofed by now. If you ordered by our extended deadline of 12/05 you will get your proof by this Sunday so we can ship your artwork on Monday. I am going to embed our proofing calendar below. If you do not see your name and you paid for your project feel free to shoot me an e-mail to follow up, but I think I have everyone on the board below.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

English Bulldogs... Oh My!

Original Bulldog Photos Below:

I love these two Bulldoggies. The original photographs were a bit challenging. I had to paint in a lot of extra detail that was missing. I am very happy with how this piece turned out. The client went with the calmer tame version with the natural colors. I liked the background on that one ... a brand new color combo for that ground.

Well yesterday I went in to the website and disabled the shopping cart because people keep ordering and placing Rushes on their projects. I will take care of everyone that placed an order this season, but at some point I have to stop and start doing my own holiday shopping. As of today I am not accepting any new orders with a promise of a holiday print delivery. There are about one dozen folks waiting on proofs or updates. I promise I will take care care of all of you as soon as possible. Tomorrow I will be posting my calendar of remaining orders and expected proofing dates here on the blog.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

New Corgi Art

"Dash & Gracie"

I love Corgis to Scotties they have to be some of the cutest dogs on the planet. Maybe I am just a sucker for short legs & big ears.

Visit Linda's blog for a great calendar give-away today.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Grain & Glow Eye

Some photographs have rather unique challenges. This weekend I started on a project that had both yellow saucer glow eyes and a nasty grain texture that I can only guess resulted from scanning in a photo that was printed on poor quality paper or something. I started my work by putting a smart blur on the entire image to reduce the funky grain texture, then I started smudging and painting in some crisp detail that was lost in the blurring process. Of course I had to create the eyes from scratch and I am crossing my fingers that they are the right shade of brown. Without a reference photo that would tell me the correct coloring I just had to guess. I am very pleased at how well this project has turned out. This Golden looks like an old guy and I just adore senior pets.

Oh and yea, I am rather excited about this new circle background. It is a common enough graphic design technique that is "halftone pattern" with circle chosen. I have taken it a messy step or two further however and made it painterly and not quite so crisp and 2 dimensional. I am keeping those final steps to myself this season .... some things can be secret sauce after all.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

More Dog Portraits


"Cooper & Tucker"
"Maggie, Bailey, Butler"

I have proofed a few more clients this weekend and now I have to focus on updates for a few November clients.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Dalmatian / Nyssa


Nyssa's human just signed off on the proof above this morning. This sweet girl passed away last October at the age of 17. It was an honor to work on this lovely girl. I was really drawn to her pretty blue eyes. The snowy photo above was a great shot to work from.

This is a 34 x 34 print and I am looking forward to seeing it printed. The larger works always take my breath away when I see them printed. I would love to think that it is because my artistic skills are highlighted best in the large format however it probably has more to do with the fact that I have a tiny little artist's studio.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Yes, More Dog portraits

Today is the last day to order an Art Paw Pet Portrait
with a holiday delivery!

"Angus & Lilly"

How funny, everyone in today's grouping is showing us their tongues.

I am actually starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. This weekend I will be working on updates for Davis, Mitchell, Acosta, Morrissey and Harris. Lankford, Lee & Hardin will be proofed early next week. All of you guys that ordered this week should have been e-mailed an expected proofing date. I am working 7 days a week guys so relax, I will get to your project, I promise.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Few New Pet Portraits

"Bear Bear"

I had lunch today with an old college pal of mine from Germany. Well he is from Dallas, but he lives in Germany now. It was a nice break from work. We talked art, politics and dogs.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Art Paw designs on!

Hey I just got a fun piece of news! Some of my design work has been featured over at
Some of you may recall the candle packaging design work I did last summer for Jimmy Belasco. Well the line was featured in a section called "gifts that give back". It does not exactly mention Art Paw by name ... but our work is there. Yay!

We will miss you Odetta

One of my favorite singers passed today at the age of 77. I discovered the music of Odetta Holmes around 5 years ago. She has a deep and richly layered voice that has moved people for decades. We will miss you Odetta. You can find lots of Odetta video over at youtube, or better yet check out Amazon or itunes for a good listen. We have a great CD of her covering Leadbelly's songs.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Angus The Scottie Dog

This is Angus. He is one of 4 Scottish Terriers I am working on this week.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Final Pet Portrait Deadline

Order by 12 /05 to receive proofs and prints
( *upon approval )

Ok, I have had at least 6 calls & e-mails today about pushing that deadline back for holiday ordering. I knew this would happen. Last year with the help of a very talented staff I printed over 100 pet portrait projects in November & December. The good news for me and for potential clients is that this year's numbers for November are quite a bit lower. So ... I am extending the deadline until this Friday for holiday orders. If payment and photos are submitted by Friday I can create a proofing set of 6 to 10 colorful proofs in time to deliver. On any and all orders placed this week * I can not and will not promise color or design changes by Christmas, in other words a 2nd round of proofing ( if needed ) will be created after the holidays. Last year I had 2 other artists and a canvas stretcher helping me out. This year I have one terrific canvas stretcher and one terrific husband. I think I can take on just a few more orders this week.

If you can't get your hands on a great pet photo this quick ... make it easy on both of us and order a Gift Certificate. Your recipient will be able to get my very best unhurried work after the crazy holiday rush.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

New Pet Portraits



Working a long full day today to try and get a jump on the work-week. Tomorrow I will try to go through my folder of pending projects and give a shout-out to all clients that have not followed through with photos, or payments. Please keep in mind, if you are waiting on a proof that an order is not considered finalized and will not move forward unless we have both your payment or down payment, along with suitable photos to work from. Unfortunately at this time of year I do not have a lot of time to spend following through with dropped ball or pending projects.