Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Girl and Her Dog

My pal Sheila sent me a link today to a really stunning photo set over at Flickr. The 28 photos show a pretty young woman asleep with her pup. The photographer captured the softness of morning light, and the delicate intimacy that many of us share with our canine companions. Click through to the photo set to see more ... each slide is better than the last. Since I have a family oriented blog and business I should warn that there is some very minor artistic nudity in one or two of the slides, nothing that should offend.

This sweet pitbull is Putney Sue.
Thanks to Ezra Caldwell for letting us share this photograph.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bernese Mountain Dog Art

"Bella" ( see proofs )

"Rusty & Wrigley" ( see proofs )

Today I worked on a couple of Bernese Mountain Dogs, a Golden Retriever, and I updated a pair of cute Doberman Pinschers for the 3rd and final time. That is 5 pups but only 3 clients so I am a little behind this afternoon. I guess I could worry about it and work late or start early and fresh in the morning. I think I will work a little late tonight so I can print 3 projects that gave us quick & easy sign-offs this week.

Monday, April 28, 2008

On my Digital Easel

"Shug" ( see more proofs )

"Lyla" ( see more proofs)
Today we proofed a couple of new clients and updated a couple of folks as well. I also sent out one working sketch, and we started on a new Bulldog named "Stumpy-Joe". My goal each and every day is to try to work on at least 5 portrait projects. Yay! We succeeded at that today. Allison was here all afternoon and she was a huge help.

Walter & Maia (update)

"Sadie" (update)

Friday, April 25, 2008

Vintage Dogs and Cars

Vintage Dog Photos:
Wow, the week just evaporated again! Well I was going to post new dog art today but I just don't have anything new ready to show. Today I am sharing a few very cool flickr finds. These traveling canines are not part of my family tree. They do make me want to throw the pups in the car and go somewhere. I really love vintage dog photography. Check out Dog Art Today for a cool shot of Frida Kahlo and her pups.

Pet Portrait Production Notes:
We did ship 5 portraits today, and worked on 3 others. There are about 6 people waiting on proofs and I promise you guys that next week you will see some progress and some on-line proofing. We are working hard ... stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chihuahua Art Video

Here is a quick little slide show video of some of our Chihuahua artwork.

We are busy working on proofs today. I will be posting more pet artwork on Friday.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Some like it hot ...

"Walter & Maia" (Bold)

Man I love color. If I had to choose between never hearing another song and seeing the world in black and white I would choose to never hear music again. I just love playing with color and Photoshop allows me to go as bold as I want to go while still keeping a more conservative offering on the back burner for folks that may not like their hues quite so hot. Today I am finalizing Walter & Maia and working on a few other pet portrait projects.

"Walter & Maia" (Tame)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Video at Flickr

Cool news ... flickr allows video uploads now. Your videos have to be 90 seconds or less.
It is a lazy Sunday, and I do not feel like writing so I will post my recent photo montage of Tommy and Ball. It is called "Ball is All". It is just a quickie experiment, based off of an old photo-bucket slide show.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Working on those writing skills?

I wish I was a better writer. Or maybe I "long to be a better writer", or maybe as I recline here on my comfy sofa "my mind turns to the timeless art of writing". Yea whatever, it is something I should work on.

A few years ago I read a great book by Anne Lamott called Bird by Bird. She states that "The very first thing I tell my new students on the first day of a workshop is that good writing is about telling the truth". The book contains great lessons in life as well as writing. I admit that I picked it up because the cover art is way too cool. You can check it out below at Amazon.

My other resource to share today is more commercial in nature and that is
If your writing aspirations are more about punchy headlines and killer sales copy then this is the blog for you. The blog offers "copy writing tips for online marketing success". It is much more than a top 5 list format ... this blog is meaty and rich. Check it out and add it to your google reader.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mr. Brittney Portrait Progress

Well it has been over a week since we started on Mr. Brittney and pals. I am going to be finalizing some proofs for this handsome kitty today. Check out the sample below. It has a rough pastel filter applied over the smushy wacom layers. I took the layer opacity down on the filter layer and then painted on top with my digital paint brush set to dissolve. The dissolve effect made my additional paint sort of chalky in texture to match the artwork's new texture. I am having fun today as I finalize my last 3 orders from late March.

Side Note On Production Times: I would say that at least 75% of our clients are usually on some sort of crazy rushed deadline for gift giving. That is ok and we are more than happy to move through projects as quickly as possible without sacrificing quality. On the other hand, some clients that order for themselves make it clear that they are not in a hurry and they tell us to take our time. When that happens I usually save their work for a calm unhurried day where I can play and have fun. Because these portraits may take longer these clients often get working sketches before their actual proofs. In this case I discovered with my working sketch that I needed to darken this kitty's coat a little. The client gave other good suggestions such as rotating the kitty a wee bit. When I feel unhurried on a pet portrait project I am more likely to play around and experiment.

If you are considering a portrait I would encourage you to encourage us to take our time. It basically insures that I will not be working on your project when I have the flu or some other sort of issue going on that drains creativity.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Merrill Markoe Video

Ever feel like firing your dogs? Check out this video from Merrill Markoe for a chuckle.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Pixie New Chihuahua Portrait

I just finished Pixie's artwork. This little Chihuahua melted my heart. I increased this gal's ears ever so slightly in size. The background in the top sample is a new version of an old mod ground I created a few years back. I decided to dirty it up a tad with some grunge type paint around the border. Pixie's human wrote on her order form that Pixie is a tough gal so pinks & pastels "are just not her style". Click here to see all 6 of her proofing samples.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Artist Choice Promo

April Artist Choice Promo:
Flower Power
We just posted a new promo in celebration of Spring & Mother's day. For any clients ordering our floral theme this month we are offering free stretching, (a $45 value). Click here to order on-line and learn more about this offer.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Ralph & Bailey

I finalized Ralph & Bailey today. Their proofs can be found by clicking here.

Thanks Blogger, Jamie and Melissa

If you are reading this on Friday morning ( crossing fingers) it is because I just discovered a new Beta Blogger feature, thanks to Jamie of Cowbelly, and Melissa of Pug Notes. In other words I heard it from a friend that heard from a friend and so on.

Blogger is going to allow us to schedule our posts in the future if all goes well. So hmmm what to post on Thursday night to test this out .... I know it sorta takes all the magic out right?

I am going to post Ralph & Bailey because I have to get these two adorable guys finalized today. They have been in-house way too long. I have more paint strokes to add and backgrounds to try out. They are in progress. Right now they are still too photographic looking, I need to do some more work.

" Ralph & Bailey"

Thursday, April 10, 2008

On My Digital Easel

Today was very productive. I got started on Trooper and Tennent. I also revisited Buddy, and cropped in closer. I tried to get loose & messy with my digital paint. I also tried to create some detail on Buddy, painting in coat texture and a paw. Tomorrow I will try to proof all these guys and finalize Ralph & Bailey, Lulu, Mr. Brittney and Bella. For any client waiting on a proof, please stay tuned and be patient. I am working every day and trying to keep up.

"Trooper Bold"

"Tennent, Yellow Tones"

"Buddy Up Close"

Scottie Sketches

This morning I spent about 45 minutes playing around with one of my own photos of my boy Ajax. I did some loose line work and tried several different things for a variety of effects. I sort of like the black & white cross hatch. I am posting my wacom sketches here.
They are in the order of the last one first ... click images to see larger versions.

Below: I took my sketch and created a black & white image, used cross hatch filter, then added more line-work. This is my fave.

Below: You can't really see until you click for detail, but this image has a half-tone dot pattern applied.

Below: Loose line work and one photo layer had the filter "cut-out" applied at a low opacity.

Below: Original photo of Ajax .... my pookie

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Where's Buddy?

This is a new project I am starting on today. You can see from the 1st image that my initial thought was "where's Buddy"? Buddy is at the door ...probably waiting for his master. My first step was to explain to the client that I can do my best to create a fun and interesting piece of art and yet every whisker and freckle on Buddy will not be visible because that detail and info is just missing from the photograph. See detail below.

Keep in mind that this was a high resolution well focused image. When you zoom in to a small area of a photograph and enlarge it, you often find that it can become grainy and not as sharp as you had hoped.

So my next step was to paint and sketch in some details, play with color and see what I can do after enlarging to the desired 18 x 18 size. Check out the image below to see just one of my paint layers with the image layer turned off.

So now I can play with filters, intensify colors and in general see where else I can take this. Click the image below to see the details on this image with an under-painting filter applied, and more color added. I will work a bit longer on this pet portrait project before proofing my client. I think if I start again in the morning that fresh ideas may happen. It will be fun to see where this original and charming photograph ends up after I am done.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Bear The Golden Retriever

This is Bear. Bear is a big happy Golden Retriever and I got to meet his Mom. Bear likes to wear costumes and clothes. I really love it when big dogs get to wear clothes. You know this pup probably gets to sleep in bed with his humans.

Over the years of working with pets and their people I have noticed some trends and some things that I really like about people and their pets.
So Here is my Top 10 Favorites List:

#1 People that Spay & Neuter.
#2 Dogs in clothes
#3 Big tough men that melt when it comes to their dogs
#4 Multi pet households
#5 People with kids that still treat their pets like kids
#6 People that allow sassy cats to rule their roost
#7 People that rescue animals and stop for strays
#8 People that never even think twice when they find themselves spending more on vet bills than their automobiles
#9 People with funny stories about their animals. You know, the sort of stories that are woven like a rich layered mythology into their lives.
#10 Animals that like the camera and people that are good at using their cameras.

Monday, April 07, 2008

On my Digital Easel

Work In Progress:
Mr. Britney

Today I am posting 3 pet portrait projects all belonging to the same client. Allison has gone in and and set these projects up for me. Lately we have been working as a tag team on most of our painterly projects. She goes in and optimizes the original photograph, erases the backgrounds, places the subject on a colorful ground and then she smudges. She smudges pixels around in a wonderful soft way, creating a velvety soft starting point for me to play with.

My job will now be to get looser with these projects and add in some sharper jabby brush strokes, visual texture, line work, and much more color. I will also experiment with a variety of backgrounds until I settle on 6 that I like best and that I feel will work well for these guys. I may also adjust the basic compositions slightly if needed. Later this week I will present the client with 6 proofing choices for each pet. I will be sure and post some of the final proofs to the blog in just a couple of days. I still have at least 12 more hours of work to do on these guys.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Self Portrait With Balloon

Self portrait With Balloon
Originally uploaded by artpaw
Yesterday I went on walk without the dogs. I found a purple balloon. It looked great in shadow. The sun shot straight through it like stain glass in a church. The purple seem to stain the concrete. I had to go inside and grab my camera.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Saturday Creative Resource

One year I tried posting nothing but educational or creative info, links and resources on Saturdays. I have tried to get back into that a little bit this year. With that said if any of you work in Photoshop or any creative software application you need to check out Shellie Hall's " Get Creative " YouTube Channel. This energetic red head posts weekly tips and resource links. I have embedded one of her videos below for you to sample. You will find her quite comfortable in front of the camera and fun to watch.

By the way, if you have not tried setting up a Youtube account, it is very easy and fun. You can bookmark your favorite videos and even subscribe to channels so you know when your favorite people have added new videos. Shellie's was the first channel I subscribed to.

Oh and check out That is the site that directed me to these terrific videos.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Doxie Video Find

Many of you may have seen this over at You Tube ...we discovered it from Moria at Dog Art Today and she found it on another blog .... I guess it is going viral. Anyway ....enjoy!
Have a Great weekend!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Two Old Web Pals

As many of you have heard me say before, we are celebrating our 10th year in biz here at Art Paw. These past two years have been fun as my Blog has allowed me to talk with and network with a wide variety of other artists. In the early days I had far fewer web buddies, and yet a couple of power girls do stand out and are still around working and playing on-line.
Today I want to acknowledge two talented ladies and share a bit of my history with them.

First is Sheila Finkelstein. I met Sheila by phone in 2000 when she contacted me to help her create her first website. Sheila is a talented artist, teacher and photographer. Since our first meeting she has gone on to learn Dreamweaver and she now designs her own websites. She is always learning and sharing new web resources with me. I have learned so much from this gal. Sheila is a few years older than me and yet when I speak with her on the phone I always feel like I am talking to a twenty year old kid that is just out there experimenting with art and technology.
Check out her free photo E-zine called Picture To Ponder.
Her photography and art is available over at cafe press so that is another link I will post... go visit her Shop. Yep, she is all over the place. Sheila is a busy marketer and talented artist. Check her out and be inspired.
Peacock image © Sheila Finkelstein

The next artist I want to acknowledge is Linda O' Neill. I was reading her blog the other day and she brought up an earlier business she had called Digital Images. I chuckled to myself as I remembered my first impression of her and her work. My initial reaction was dang, "she is way too good and I had better watch out for her". If you are an artist reading this ask yourself how many times you have seen a talented artist working in your general area and instead of being excited or inspired your initial gut reaction is darn, why do I have to have such tough competition? Well that was my gut reaction. Since that first impression (born out of my own insecurities) Linda and I have gone on to create artwork for each other and we have developed a great e-mail friendship. Linda is a talented pet portrait artist and an amazing painter that works with a variety of subject matter. Her commissioned work is just flawless and her personal projects always inspire me to do artwork for myself. She is a very generous artist that is always eager to support others on her blog. Oh and check her out over at Etsy.
Brisbane Kitty Image © Linda O'Neill

My thanks to both of these seasoned artists for their ongoing inspiration and their generous support.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Zero's Portrait At Home

I just got this photo in my inbox this morning. When I asked Jennifer if I could post it to the blog she said:
"You should be very proud of your work, I've never gotten a smile with teeth showing in two years, usually more of a pained grimace, so this is a huge deal. He already has it hanging on his side of the bed. Of course, please post."

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Happy Birthday To Champ & Mugsy's Human

These Doberman Pinschers are Mugsy & Champ. You can see their proofing set by clicking here.