Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Art Paw featured at Dallas Dog Life!

Thanks to Yvonne over at Dallas Dog Life for her terrific write up. Art Paw was included today on her home page featured reviews. This great new site seems to be a great comprehensive directory for Dallas dog lovers.

Almost 7:00 and yes I am still working. Tonight I am missing my Mosaics class to work on portraits. Starting to freak out a little about the holidays ahead. I keep trying to complete all of my pending commissions so I can work on the website and do a new postcard mailer. So may things to do all the time. Tomorrow night I get to speak with Kathy Weller for Friday's dog artist interview. I am very excited about that.

Ok, back to work. Wiley & Mya, your next.

Texas Longhorn Artwork

"Sarasam, Texas Longhorn"
Working hard to get Sarasam the Longhorn proofed this week. The original photo was great at showing the full-body, however I had to get a wee bit creative when it came to finding or rather painting in the facial details.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Art Paw Teams Up With Pet Smart Charities

Art Paw was thrilled to be chosen earlier this year to work with Pet Smart Charities' program " Just A Buck Change Their Luck". We will be creating original artwork that will go on a variety of products for this terrific fundraiser that supports local animal welfare agencies. The funds raised are used by thousands of their agency partners to support spay/neuter, adoption, retention, and education programs in local communities.

You can read more about this project on their site.

We can't wait to get started on the artwork for Desmond & Maggie!

On my Digital Easel

"Humphrey, Savannah, Pringles, Wonton"
( See all 6 proofs)

(see all 6 proofs)

I just proofed a couple of new projects I worked on over the weekend. Riley is a handsome and noble Chocolate Lab with soulful eyes. The group of Pugs with Boston Terrier made me giggle the entire time I was working on them. These two projects are great examples of the 2 directions you can go with your pet photography. There is no right answer when clients ask if they should send smiles or serious shots ... both work very well.

If you are waiting on a proof or an update please hang tight. I am working very hard to get several approved orders out the door, and proof several new clients by Weds.

If you have been waiting to place your order now is the time. I will be posting my holiday schedule later this week. I think I will not only have an early cut-off date this year, I will also be coming up with a magic number of portraits I can realistically do per month and once I reach that number of commissions, all new client orders will go on a waiting list with no promise of a guarantee holiday delivery.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Dogs in Cars ... a warning!

So what is with the "warning" in that post title? I have to share a scary incident that happened this morning. We packed up the Scotties in the car for our weekly Sunday romp at the lake and we were stopped at a traffic light. I was admiring a charming Boston Terrier that was in the suburban, one car ahead of us and to the left. He was playfully hanging out the window and barking at some folks in a convertible. I did not even really notice his doggy buddy in the backseat with him until their car starting rolling and then the medium sized cow dog sitting behind the driver rolled out of her window seat and on to the ground in the middle of the intersection! The light had just changed so fortunately there was nobody driving at any real speed. Dan jumped out of our car and into the road to help this little pup, who's human had driven a few yards before realizing that she was one passenger lighter. We were lucky to be at the right place at the right time to help. The little girl doggy that had landed on the pavement was too stunned to run, and seemed very grateful for the road side assistance. With cars piling up around us, Dan walked this little puppy back to her car and to her Mom's embrace. What Drama!

The point of the story ... this pup had probably ridden in that car a hundred times and never lost her balance before. It just takes one unlucky slip of footing to be within inches of disaster. Be very careful when you allow your pups to feel the wind in their faces on short drives. Everyone has their own set of safety rules when it comes to car rides with dogs. I am not perfect and so please do not think this is a lecture. We do not seat belt our pups, and I even let Big Tommy ride on my lap when we go to the lake ... something that could kill us both if the airbag ever deployed. We do make them ride in the back seat on long trips. I also do not let them hang out the window unless they are on my lap with my firm grip around their collar. Dan uses the baby locks on the car windows because Ajax has on occasion leaned on them in the back seat and rolled them down.

So what are your rules when it comes to car rides and dogs?

Cool vintage dogs in cars above found over at Flickr ... you can click through to visit the photo streams of these terrific Flickr members. They all seem to belong to actual family members, and are very nice image posts.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Me & my Pups

I am so excited to have some new photos to update my bio page with. Still trying to choose which ones to use. Last week a photographer pal of mine came over and we had a little photo shoot. You have to check out Kris Hundt's photography work at her site. She is very talented. I played around with the image below. Kris is not only very talented she is also pretty tolerant and she knew I would probably screw around with her work. I am just that way when it comes to Photoshop. While the image below is sort of flattering in that it blows out my imperfect skin tones it is not really all that good from a photography standpoint. I will probably stick with the full-color, as shot versions. Although, it also blows out the background texture which is also nice. Hmmm, I dunno.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Interview with My Mosaic Teacher

Birds of a Feather Mosaic Together:
Today I want to share a recent video about a project that my mosaic teacher Katrina Doran, has just completed for the State Fair of Texas. She and her army of mosaic artists have been feverishly working against the clock to get these garden sculptures installed by opening day, which is today! Katrina designed and created 9 flamingo bird forms. She enlisted 6 other artists to mosaic 6 of the bird forms while she knocked out 3 herself. Each artist came up with their own way of approaching their birds and the variety is so fun. Katrina chose the basic color palette and most of the tile that was to be used. Each artist was allowed to add new tile elements to the mix, and so of course the application and design work on each bird was unique. I am so impressed with their work, and I know you guys will love this video. Oh, and before you ask, nope I was not one of the artists involved ... thank goodness, something this big would have killed me. I am so impressed with the discipline these gals must have had in order to reach their deadline with such first rate work. Great Job Ladies!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Peach Update!

Hooray! I just spoke with Peach's Mom and she is ecstatic over her proofing set and is having a tough time choosing. The lesson I take away is that it pays to let your clients be a part of the process. The artwork and style might be mine, but the animals are theirs so you have to strive to create something that works with their vision and will honor their memory.

Stunning Pitbull and "Hearts"

What do hearts, smiley faces, rainbows, butterflies and unicorns have in common? They are all sweet ornamental devices that my artist snob brain throws into a mental file folder that I have banished to the recesses of my mind.

So with that said, what do you do when a client insists on "hearts" in her background, with pinks & purples? Well you toss and turn all night long and wish that more clients would just let you do what you do best. Then you wake up in the morning and accept the challenge and you do your version of "sweet", you tackle "hearts" with gusto. You also pause and admonish yourself for being such an art snob, and you start to think about what the symbol of a heart must mean to your client. Her lovely girl Peach is no longer with her and for her the traditional symbol of a heart is the perfect design element to celebrate her tender love for her special pup. So now that you are feeling like a total jerk, you give her not just one sample with hearts as promised, but 6 on-line proofs with hearts and you even e-mail her a 7th option, hoping that one of your efforts will hit a home run ... still crossing fingers.

If you are an artist reading this pause and ask yourself if you have a few snobby areas in your brain that may be limiting your creativity. Just because something like the heart symbol may be overused in the world does not mean that you can't try to put your own spin on it. I often resist being over directed by my clients and yet sometimes the challenges they throw my way are the perfect solution for getting outside my comfort zone. I said on Monday I would try to work with new color combos ... well for me pink and purple are at the very bottom of my crayon box. I am really happy with Peach and the fun variety of heart solutions I was able to present to her Mom. She was totally right, hearts are the perfect solution for a background texture.

Monday, September 22, 2008


This is a portrait for a pal of mine that is a photographer. She is coming by later today to shoot an updated bio photo of me for the website. I will post that soon. My current bio pics are like 10 years old and not exactly how I look today.

What color is your Monday?

Color by COLOURlovers

I have not done a what color is your Monday post in awhile. My Monday is a retro splash of steel-dust blue, pinkette, burnt or crispy brown, fruit flesh orange, and Kiwi-mi green. This week I will get out of my box and try some new color combos.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More Mountain Dogs

"Cody & Windy"

For some reason it seems that I have done many Bernese Mountain Dogs this last year. I really like this recent duo. The image above is just a mock-up of my favorite proofs for Windy & Cody. I messed up with this post ... Windy & Cody are actually Greater Swiss mountain dogs ...Ooops. I had been calling them Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Here is a run down of just a few of our Mountain Dogs:

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wheaten Terrier Art

" Wheaten Terrier Dudley"
( See all 6 proofs)
This cute and happy dog was fun to play with. As you can tell from his original photo I had to get rather creative in painting in some eyes. When you paint in eyes on shaggy pups the tricky part is making sure you still have just enough fluff still going into the eye a bit so that your fix is believable. It has taken me 10 years to get to a point where a can remedy these situations with some ease and confidence.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Friday Art Dog Vlog

How can it possibly be Friday so soon. I have had a really busy week. A lot of new orders have come in for pet portraits. I did not get a chance to line up any dog artists to interview so today's video is a straight vlog post, just me.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bryce The Great Dane

(See all 6 proofs)

I am working like crazy on dog art this week. I will post some sort of video Vlog on Friday, but I have not had a chance to line up a dog artist interview this week. I would really like to interview my girlfriend that makes jewelry. She is having a big sale and I know she has a lot happening in her studio right now. Ah we shall see. So much going on.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Wire Hair Jack Russell Art

This sweet old gal is Miss Muffett. I have always sort of wanted to have a Jack Russell Terrier. I admire their energy level and their intelligence. This original photo of Muffett really captures the spirit of this breed. Here you have an older gal, eyes failing and yet her posture says she was still ready for anything when this shot was taken.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Car Of The Future?

Have I blogged this image before? I don't think so. This is a fave from my Flickr finds. It reminds me of a blog I have been wanting to share for awhile, but I did not know how to work it into a conversation about dogs or art. I can't really.

Here you go.... a bit off topic for me, but a great read:
This blogger has been rather quiet this month, but don't let that put you off ... sniff around and dig through his archives for some fun stuff.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

About Artist Vlogs and Videos

Several months ago I started creating slideshow portfolios of my artwork and set them to music. At the time I thought wow this is fun, but I will never be one of those ego-centric vloggers that sits in front of the webcam telling everyone what I had for lunch. Well, never say never. This last month I have sort of tiptoed into the vlogging realm as well. I am constantly facing new challenges as I sort through the various learning curves involved with the technology. My readers have been very supportive and patient as I upload these things. My first vlog was so low in sound I am sure 80% of you guys could not even hear it.

Today I offer a list on what I am discovering on my journey.

Top 6 Challenges in creating an artist Vlog:
Finding some content: Figuring out something of value and interest to talk about. Recently I decided interviewing other people makes the journey more fun.
#2 Finding your tools: Buying and learning all the various software tools you need.
#3 Finding the cuts: Trying to figure out artistic ways to edit a video without looking horribly trite and inexperienced.
#4 Finding time: The time involved is huge at first.
#5 Finding a style: Video editing can be regarded as an art form in itself and once you get the basics down (which I have not done yet), you have to think about what sort of style or aesthetic feeling your want your videos to have.
#6 Finding an Audience: With the amount of time and effort you put into making a video you sort of want someone to see it. You can only bug your family & friends to a certain degree and then at some point you have to address the issue of how to get your videos seen.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

New Doberman Pinscher Art

"Thor & Zeus"
( See all 6 proofs)

I love these two handsome boys. This is a recent commission. This is another custom size, at 34 x 54 inches this will be a real show piece.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dog Artist Interview/ Melissa Langer

Today I continue with a new series of dog artist interviews. For the next couple of months I will be interviewing the talented dog artists involved with Jill Beninato's Dogs Rule Fat Book Project. Today we speak with Melissa Langer of pugnotes.com. Check out Melissa's Blog, and you have to check out Emmitt & Piggy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Bulldog Art

(see all 6 proofs)

This retro bulldog girl is Miss Pearl. The sample above reminds me of the 1960's. I really got loose and messy with this sample. Since I give my clients an abundant 6 proofs to choose from I do on occasion try to push one sample to a bold extreme, and play around with color and line-work. Most clients are drawn to Art Paw because of our colorful offerings and yet that does not mean that the boldest sample will work in every room. Pearl's Mom is going with a more tame option although she did fall in love with this proof.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Bug Mosaic

( above) Detail
"Fig. 4 Bug"

This is my newest Mosaic. This travel bug is available over at Etsy today. I call him a travel bug because of the map artwork underneath the glass. Bugs are my newest obsession. I love how well the iridescent glass works with these creepy crawlers.

Last Friday I was fortunate to be mentioned in the terrific Mosaic Art Source Blog.
I was thrilled to get some ink so to speak on my mosaic work. Mosaics are my secret passion and a part time pursuit at this point. I love not only making the artwork, but also getting to know a wide variety of talented people that are working in the media.

I am currently working on a promo video for a collaborative pink flamingo project that my teacher is in charge of. I actually am not participating in the mosaic project myself, but I am a total fan of what is going on with Katrina and her army of flamingo artists I hope to post their video soon.
Flamingos, by my classmates

Monday, September 08, 2008

Artie Scottie with Goggles

Artie Scottie with Googles
Originally uploaded by artpaw
Artie with goggles is another contest dog shipping this week. Working late tonight trying to package up a bunch of contest winners from earlier this summer. We are officially moving into the holiday season here at Art Paw and I will probably not be having any more contests for free portraits this year. I will try to run a few specials and may give away some free gift items, but I am swamped with commissions and will not see light at the end of that tunnel until Jan. Below we have Max, Duncan, and Cambria. I only have 4 more contest portraits to go.

Hot House Orchid

Dancing Orchid
Originally uploaded by Inspirational Sheila
If your dog was a flower what kind of flower would they be?
Our boy Ajax is a Hot House Orchid. He is delicate, hard to grow, and very sensitive. We have to feed him just the right balance of food or we deal with allergies.

Our Big Tommy is a more of Sunflower. He is strong and sturdy and large.

Little Pixel, or Pickle as we call her well she would have to be a Snap Dragon. Yep she is fierce yet insecure as well which causes her to snap some in play with new dogs.

This dancing orchid image is from Sheila Finkelstein's Flickr stream, click through to see more of her photography.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Murphy The Scottish Terrier

This is one of 10 contest winners from a blog contest I ran back in early July. All of those lucky winners will have their artwork shipped early next week. I should have shipped before now, but I have been trying to get a few new digital artists trained.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Dog Artist Interview / Jill Beninato

Today I am posting a video cast from a dog artist interview I did with Jill Beninato. Jill is a very talented and well known pet photographer working in Virginia Beach. She recently invited me to be a part of her Dogs Rule Fat Book project. She asked 13 artists to submit 14 hand crafted dog art pages to create a stunning and one of a kind handmade book project. Each artist received a copy of the fatbook and the 14th book will be auctioned off to benefit A Place to Bark. The book was recently written up in Bark magazine.

This video contains artwork from that book. It is my hope that I will be able to do interviews over the next couple of months with each and every artist in the book. I may not have time to do actual video casts of each interview but I will at least be able to present them as podcasts. This short little video cast has excerpts from a 20 minute interview I did with Jill last night. Later this weekend I will try to post a link to that longer unedited rambling conversation we had for anyone that may be interested.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

New Dog Portrait


Today I am printing and stretching pet portraits. Early this morning I got started on Sabu. I will be proofing this adorable dog with ball next week. The background here is borrowed from the portrait below. By using the multiply filter it becomes a subtle tone on tone pattern. The work on the dog is a combination of regular old posterize with a whole lot of drawing and painting on top. This portrait is a great example of what you can achieve with a great snapshot. The eyes here were expressive, the pose playful ... yes, this photo was a 10 all the way around.
Sabu seems intent on offering this ball to the viewer which of course immediately engages you in the artwork.