Friday, February 29, 2008

Power Bloggers In the Dog World

So I was feeling just a wee bit cocky about my blogging frequency this year until I bumped into The Scottish Terrier and dog News Blog last week. This terrific blog is loaded with great content and this busy gal has like 66 posts so far in February. My eyes are crossing just thinking about that much typing. Check it out and check out her Daily Dachshund too. There is no filler in either place just terrific content.
Another power blogger with rich content is Moria over at Dog Art Today ... but you guys all know her blog I am sure.
Melissa over at Pug Notes has been a really strong blogger this year, posting to her blog "almost" every day. Check her out!

I salute you ladies .... you are all setting the bar. There are many other terrific artist blogs that I love, but I am singling these hot-spots out today as they inspire me to work harder and post, post, post!

Tomorrow I am going to post some ideas on how to become a power-blogger. Notice I said "ideas"... I will admit that I do not have it figured out at all. I have however noticed some trends and I know a few areas I plan to work on for my own blog.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Frenchie movie, portraits, and a story

Ok so we have been fooling around with i-movie and we created a short little movie clip slide show. I e-mailed the movie link to everyone that had a pup in the clip and I got this amazing story from Bogey's Dad. Bogey is the first fawn Frenchie in the clip. Here is the story first and then I will post the clip below.
From Bogey's Dad:
"I have an interesting story to tell you about that painting. My house burned down on December 14th. My coffee maker caught on fire and Bogey was in the house. I drove up on the fire and opened the garage, which by that time was filled with smoke. I ran in and saved Bogey and ran back out. We lost the top two floors of my town home. The painting was actually sitting on the bar in the kitchen, about 8 feet from the source of the fire. When the fire department put out the fire they let me go in the building to look around. One of the first things I noticed was that the picture, which was wrapped up for Christmas, had not been consumed. I had wrapped it the day before in foil wrapping paper from the Container Store. We think this is what saved it. However, it truly defies explanation when you realize that everything else was melted or literally consumed by the fire. Everything around it was either ashes or unrecognizable. I took it outside and unwrapped it and it was completely unharmed. If you can believe it, the painting did not even smell like smoke! We think it was our little miracle and a powerful symbol of hope. Bogey is doing great and our picture now hangs in the living room of our corporate apartment. We already are designing our color scheme for our rebuilt town home around it.
How about that!".

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Boston Terrier Pet Portrait

This is cutie-pie is called Butter. I thought this pup was a Frenchie however Butter is a fawn Boston Terrier. I had no idea they came in fawn.
About The Artwork: You can see from the original photo above that I added in some texture and enhanced the color quite a bit. I love this pup's ears! I actually enlarged them, just maybe 3% or so. I sometimes do that with big eared dogs like Frenchies, Boston Terriers and Chihuahuas. I never want to exaggerate ears to a point that the owner will really notice on a conscious level. I also widened or opened up that left brown eye just a tiny bit. I feel like it is these sort of little details that help to set my work apart from the gazillion "photo-to-canvas" services" out there. Here at Art Paw we try to be all about the "Art" and all about the "Pet".

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

On being caught up

Wow, I think I am going to actually clear my plate this week for the first time in 9 months. It is one thing to be caught up here at Art Paw, and yet another to totally have a clear schedule. I was just reading a great article over at How magazine about what to do with down time. It is called "Turn Slow Time Into Go-Time".

So what do you do when you find yourself with extra time at work? I would love to report that we organize file drawers and assess business reports, but the reality is we always look for some creative project to jump into. Allison has been revamping the web site this past month and trying to trim it down a bit. One of the bad things about being able to manage your own domain is the natural tendency to add more links, more pages and so on until your homepage looks like a jumbled mess. Allison has trimmed down our navigation a bit and is now working on manually updating over 1000 interior pages. Yay! .... go Allison.

We are also looking at learning i-movie and may even venture into pod-casting, who knows. I am very close to signing up over at for their one year training subscription. Sometimes I get nervous when we slow down and then I remind myself to just enjoy it and spend the time learning and creating.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Laika Video

Just found this great video over at youtube... turn your volume up.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Cow Dogs Pet Portrait

These princess puppies were a blast to work on. From left to right we have: Hope, Quila, & Tallulah

Friday, February 22, 2008

I saw Dylan Last Night

Last night Dan took me to see Bob Dylan at a small venue here in Dallas. He was so great! I have been a Dylan fan since college. The crowd was a hoot. Half of the audience had silver hair and the other half were 20-something and you know the kids were really digging him. Thor Christensen has a great music review on-line. He states that "At his best, the 66-year-old legend was full of spit and venom – a grizzled blues master with a voice that bordered on the demonic." Click here for more from Thor.

Dylan worked hard on stage and gave a great performance. He is not a chatty guy and he played for 2 straight hours. He never stopped to talk, he never said hi, Bob did not even introduce the band .... there was absolutely no filler, just music.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pet Portrait For Wine Label


Today I am working on a few different projects including a wine label for our friends over at Jaffurs Wine.
We will be uploading a proofing set of their Mascot Kava. Each year they donate sales from their Cane Felice label to their local off-leash dog park. I am really excited about this graphic design project. We will be turning Kava's artwork into this year's label.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Art Of The American Snapshot

I saw a great show today at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth. If you live in the Dallas- Fort Worth Metroplex you need to check out : The Art of the American Snapshot, 1888-1978: From the Collection of Robert E. Jackson

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

YoYo Portrait

(original blurry YoYo above)
(painted & enhanced YoYo below)

This pet portrait project was for one adorable puppy dog named YoYo. The original photo was a nice close up shot however there was quite a bit of blur. A sharper focus would have given us more detail to work with. In this case even though the style ordered was Warhol, I went in with my painterly technique and painted in the needed detail. My first step was to burn in some deeper blacks on the pupils and then paint a nice crisp white highlight on the eye. I have found that if you can get the eyes to look sharp and in focus then the rest will follow. Once I got the image to a very happy place I handed this project over to Allison and she created the artwork below.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Pet Portrait Technique Photoshop

Today's post is a digital tip for my fellow artists and all those photoshop addicts out there.
In reviewing the two images above you might assume that I started out working with the image on the right, creating a tame and traditional pup with natural coloring. The reality is that the image on the right was totally created from the artwork on the left. All of the paint strokes and smudges were slowly added in bold living color with the wacom tablet. Then when all was said and done, I took the original untouched photographic layer that was buried way beneath all of my other work layers and placed it on top of the work, then I went into layer effects and told it to be a color layer and boom, all of my pretty color highlighting was gone, but none of the groovy paint texture disappeared. It is a quick and easy way to tone down color. I happen to like a lot of color though so I am going to post a larger detail of Eddy below.

Pet Portrait artists can find more process & tips on my blog by clicking here and scrolling down the page.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Boston Terrier at The Box theater

Originally uploaded by nicholsphotos
Found this great mural over at Flickr. Love the Boston doggy walking by the art. When I was looking for dog art murals the other day I found tons of great images of dogs in front of art-walls.
I'm working today after I get out for just a little while with the dogs. I am looking forward to some quite time to paint on the computer this afternoon. It often seems like I spend half of my work week fending off sales calls from folks wanting to sell me advertising. Sometimes Sunday is the only day I can unplug from the world to have some good creative time.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Art Advice

The web is a different place today than it was 10 years ago when I decided to start my business Art Paw. Back then I cruised the web in search of someone that had a similar business model to my own so I could learn from them. At that time there were maybe less than 25 pet portrait sites that I admired and all of them were offering oils or acrylic, the digital art media explosion had just not happened yet. Doing a quick google for digital art today I found 38,800,000 results. Back in 1998 I felt as though every aspect of my business had to be made up on the fly as I went along.

Today the web is not only abundant with fantastic digital artists it is also abundant with business art advice. Today I am going to post some great resource links for aspiring or experienced artists that are wanting to broaden their reach and enhance their marketing skills.
Links for Inspiration:

Friday, February 15, 2008

Dachshund pet portrait

This adorable gang of Doxies stole my heart. They look like trouble don't they? I can just imagine the mischief they must get into. The client chose the classic and conservative offering with the red background (below). I sort of like the top option a lot, but they were all very fun to create. This terrific client works for an SPCA shelter in California. This piece will ship today.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentines Day!

A Dillar, a dollar
I'm a ten o'clock
With my heart in plain
sight on my sleeve
Tho' I look
kind of blue
I'm crazy
for you
Which I'll prove
if you'll just
give me leave!

Below is my gift for the hubby. It is still wet with glue and I doubt that I will be able to grout it today, but we shall see. It really needs to dry. It is a small mosaic squid with heart. It measures around 10 inches by 5 inches. I think I will use a dark grout.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Shooter The Wheaten Terrier

This is Shooter from Canada. We worked on this pup last holiday season. Shooter's human sent us this fun photo of their portrait hanging.
I love seeing our art in the home or next to the pets. I just set up a category section on the blog for "Client Walls" send us your photos folks, I would love to post them here on the blog.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Dog Art Murals and Mosaics

Mosiac Mural from Tokyo

Ok ... one more post this week from Flickr finds. I searched for dog art murals and found some inspiring stuff. If you want to click through on the images you will land in the photographer's photo-stream.
(above) another shot of Hachiko mural outside Shibuya Station
(above) Mosaic mural created by 7th graders

Not all of my results are of actual dog art ...but I adore this image (above)

(above) looks like a detail from larger piece. Love the text... "Dog Talk Sad Dog"

(above) again... not dog art, but the capture of the lady & dog in shadow are great. The mural says: "I will write peace on your wings and you will fly all over the world"
(above) odd painted mural from Amsterdam

You can hot-link and blog images over at Flickr unless the photographer chooses to set up their posting preferences to not allow it. If someone wants to share their images only via Flickr's interface they have that option. So on that note ...there were just a few additional images I wanted to share with you, but you will have to click through to see them. One is a nice capture of a mosaic outside of Diego Rivera's house. Then there is the pink poodle mosaic sign for Lala's. And last there is this white dog mosaic.

Next week I will share a few more finds with you. I do not want to burn you guys out on this stuff. The last few days of image posting have really inspired me. It is interesting that the crudest grafitti scribble can stimulate and excite your creative imagination as much as the sophisticated and well crafted work like the Tokyo mosaic.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Yet Another Dog Graffiti Wall

Originally uploaded by urban penguin
The photographer that posted this image to Flickr calls this "Still Life on a lazy day". I love the composition here and that wonderful odd door. The other day when I woke up at 5:00 a.m. I spent an hour tagging doggy Graffiti images as favorites over at Flickr, so you may see a few more of my favorites later this week.

Flickr is just the coolest place on earth to search for images of any certain theme. You can enter the phrase "purple zebra" and probably find several results. I also have bookmarked some great dog art murals that I want to share with you tomorrow.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More Dog Art Graffitti

I really liked yesterday's dog art graffitti so I went searching over at Flickr for more cool graffitti dogs. I have posted a few below, you can click images to visit the photographer's photostreams.
The image above is a stenciled image of a dog getting friendly with R2-D2. It might be a tad crude for the Art Dog Blog, but I love this photograph with the pink & orange, it is a great shot.

This last image is my favorite.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Dog Grafitti, insomnia, and another work day

I woke up at 5:00 a.m today and now I can not get back to sleep. Decided to start the work day early, after maybe just a little web-stumbling. The image above is by grafitti artist Banksy. I love that image.
So speaking of insomnia ... here is a silly joke you have probably heard ....
Did you hear the one about the dyslexic agnostic with insomnia?
He lays awake at night wondering if there really is a dog.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Zaxby The Bulldog

Last Christmas I created a pet portrait for a little doggy named Zorro. I was quite tickled at his name. Well this week I worked on an even wilder named pup ... "Zaxby". That name would win you some points at Scrabble (if you could use proper nouns anyway). I am posting this handsome bulldog's portrait here. His original photograph was a total JOY to play with.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Go Vote

Supporter created video for Obama:

No matter where you cast your vote, change is in the air, breathe it in!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Cat Portrait "Cleo"

Today I worked on Cleo the kitty. Click here to see the original low res. image enlarged. This kitty was stunning and while the original image had some challenging resolution issues, the photograph did a good job of showing off the coat and pretty eyes on this kitty. The image below is experimental and just one of 5 proofs the we will be presenting to Cleo's humans.