Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Clients

Bob Opening His Gift

A happy client sent us this photo of her husband opening his gift on Christmas morning.  I love the colors in her bright open home. I think our artwork will fit in great.  This client was local and not too far from our studio so Lola actually hand delivered her project to her work place a few days before Christmas.

I love it when clients send us photos ... please keep them coming!

The week so far:  Well, we got back to work yesterday and now Lola is out sick with a bad cold. Today I am at my desk organizing new orders and sort of working at a snail's pace compared to the focused adrenaline high we were on before the holidays. I am so thankful to all of our terrific clients this past season and for all their friends that are now getting on-line to check out Art Paw.

Next week:  We will be creating artwork again full time and Lola is going to create a slide show video for us of all of the holiday projects.  I will post my yearly wrap up of Art Paw news and accomplishments on the blog. A lot of people start the New Year off thinking about resolutions and things they want to "fix" about themselves. There is nothing wrong with setting goals in life, but before you make a long list of things to improve upon, be sure and take a moment to write a list of all the great things you accomplished in 2009. I have a list for Art Paw, a list for my mosaics and a personal "life" list that includes minor stuff like fun travels.  I started doing this in 2008 and I find that it is great fun to go back and review previous years.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

This shot is from last year, but it catches our lazy mood today. Hope everyone has a great Christmas and a creative New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

New Chihuahua Art

I am working on my 50th pet portrait of the month, and the first that does not actually have to be under the tree on Christmas morning. We finally got the last of our holiday orders shipped. I have one local client due at anytime to pick up in person. I am officially done with Christmas orders (I think). I will review all the paid projects one last time this evening to see if I missed anything.

About This Project:
Duke is a cutie pie all warm & cozy in his blanket.  This is a 24 x 24 portrait and I have a bit more work to do creating more brush strokes and more color combos.  I really love the greens that I added to the bedding.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mosaic Monday

Today I want to share a link to the only video that turned up over at when I searched for mosaic. Click Here to follow the video journey of a  centuries-old mosaic that made its way from Turkey to Indy by way of the Louvre.  The video is a bit long, but interesting. Even more interesting is the discovery of artbabble.orgThis website is all video, and all art all the time. Check it out and be inspired.

If you want more info on the history of mosaics stumble on over to Amazon.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A little off-topic

I just learned that Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson's album "10 New Songs" was included in the Rolling Stones 100 best Albums of the Decade. 
This is one of my all time favorite albums. I grabbed on to it after wearing out Cohen's disc The Future. "10 New Songs" is a  slow meditative switch from that high energy album. It took me a couple of listens to fall head over heels in love with it.  It is now one of my all time favorites and it gets better with each listen.

Bella on her Bed

"Bella" ( see all proofs)
© 2009 rebecca collins

This is Miss Bella. She shipped out yesterday. The bottom image is sort of different for me. I took the soft and smushy painterly work and slammed posterize on it. The filter made everything crispy sharp and it colorized the floral bed texture in a fun way. That pattern was achieved with a Photoshop brush. The client went with the top option. It is softer with more detail.

We are at the count down stage now! I am up and running again with my printer thanks to the terrific folks over at Amcad Graphics for coming out to replace that cyan printhead again. Lola will be in shortly and she has 5 to stretch today. Tonight when I close my eyes I will rest very easy knowing that every client that ordered by posted deadlines has shipped. Yes, I will have conquered this week, and the season!

I am still creating artwork for a few late folks that squeaked in a project after all posted deadlines. You guys know who you are.... and yes I am still planning to get you all proofed by Friday the 18th. No worries.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Many Approved Projects Shipped

Today we shipped almost all approved projects.

I was down to the wire with just 3 approved pet portraits left to ship and I had to do battle with the printer. It seems the new light cyan print head we just replaced is not happy and will have to be replaced again tomorrow, this made me very sad. On the up side, 15 projects did ship today.

All new and "late" holiday orders that have trickled in during the last 2 weeks will be proofed by Friday the 18th if they have been paid for and if quality photos were sent. I am working on new projects in the order they were received with priority being given to rush projects. Be aware that adding a rush to an order does not guarantee a holiday delivery, it only pushes you to the very front of the line.

I am currently accepting new portrait projects for 2010.

If you have questions about an existing order, please call Lola on Thursday. She will be by the phone from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. If you sent in pics by e-mail and never actually paid for your project it is probably held up on our pending board so please do call us.

We will conquer this week,
we will deliver all approved projects on time!

We will conquer this week,
we will deliver all approved projects on time!

We will conquer this week,
we will deliver all approved projects on time!

Finishing up Holiday Pet Portraits

Are my wrinkles showing this week?

Ok it is really starting to feel like Christmas around here. Tomorrow we will try to stretch and ship all projects that have been approved so far. That means all of my wonderful clients that ordered by posted deadlines, and then approved quickly and easily will be getting a print under the tree in time for the holidays! YAY.

Today I am working on design updates for clients that have requested changes. Late tonight I will start on all of the straggler projects that have been squeaking in after posted deadlines. Please be aware that any new commissions placed as of today will not be touched until after the holidays. At some point I have to say "no you can not get this by Christmas", and I have to really mean it. This last week before the holidays is always so stressful because in addition to getting things out the door I have to say no to a lot of people that want to order late and get a custom piece of artwork within one week. I wish I could clone myself and get more work done. I hate letting potential clients down, but there are only 3 of us here at Art Paw and I am the only one creating the painterly portraits.

We will conquer this week, we will deliver all approved projects on time!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Doggy Nicknames in My Art

"Ali" ( see all proofs )
© 2009 rebecca collins/

Every now and then I get fun special requests from clients that require me to come up with new solutions and new ways of designing a background. Ali's Mom asked me to include a rather long nickname that evolved from her husband coming home each day when Ali was a pup and bestowing a new word to a long running name he created for this special girl, rather she is a "special precious unique beautiful darling loving kind angel number one" sort of girl. I have the best clients on the planet and they always make me smile.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Art Paw on Good Morning Texas

Thanks again to Dr. Shawn. He was on Good Morning Texas today on Channel 8 and dropped a plug for Art Paw. YAY! If I can find some video on-line of it I will post it here soon.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Dogs with Toys

"Cyrus" ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins/

I love it when clients send in photos of their dogs playing with toys. Today was very productive and I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak. I am almost caught up with all projects that were ordered before our holiday deadlines. Tomorrow we print & ship a lot of portrait projects. Lola worked on a couple of Warhol projects and I proofed a few painterly orders. We are in very good shape!

Today we put our Amazon shop on vacation so we can focus 100% on our portrait commissions. On Friday we will take down our Etsy listings until 2010 so if you want something from our Etsy shop you need order by Friday. I find that if I don't place a hold on some of our various selling venues we will be trying to fill orders for bookmarks right up until the 24th and then people wonder why their bookmark or other gift item order did not arrive on time.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Wow, survived a live Radio Interview!

Tonight I am sending out thanks to Dr. Shawn for interviewing me on his radio program. Yay, I think I did ok. I am a pretty shy person, but when it comes to promotional opportunities I do manage to find my voice. I always get nervous, but each time it gets a little bit easier. Of course it helps that Dr. Shawn has a talent for putting his guests at ease.

This last month I enjoyed working on Dr. Shawn's kitties. You may recall that earlier this spring we worked on his King Charles Spaniel. This new artwork was designed to work well with that portrait.

If you get a chance check out Dr. Shawn's website He has great articles and advice on-line. Or if you are looking for that perfect book for the animal lover on your list check out his Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Dutch & Greta The Beagles

© 2009 rebecca collins /
(Click Here To See All Proofs)

© 2009 rebecca collins /
(Click Here To See All Proofs)

About the Art:
Dutch & Greta were a lot of fun to play with. They are a great example of what is possible when our clients send in photographs with very expressive eyes. In this case I worked from actual printed photos that we scanned in at a very high resolution. I am very pleased with these two pretty Beagles.

Crazy Holiday Work Week Ahead:
This weekend we proofed around 7 clients. I know many of you are still waiting on proofs, just hang tight and let me do my work, I still have about 12 days before things get too tight to ship. If your photos have been sent and your payment made then you should be able to see your name and proofing date on the calendar below. If you made payment, sent photos and do not see your name below then please do give us a call. Our deadline has passed for new holiday orders so those of you placing a brand new order this week will be sent "proofing only" before Christmas. The late order proofing option is still a fun way to have a creative and exciting original gift to give. Instead of a print to wrap you just pop open the laptop and show your loved one their 10 colorful proofing choices and then they get to choose their favorite.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

A few new pet portrait projets

© 2009 rebecca collins

© 2009 rebecca collins

© 2009 rebecca collins

© 2009 rebecca collins

Today I am posting just a few of the many projects we have worked on this last month. You can click here to see our proofing site and take a peek at more pet portraits. It looks like we did 38 projects in November and this month we have 5 posted so far, although I think Lola is working on 4 new proofing pages today.

We have a lot more work to do, and I do apologize if my e-mail replies are a bit slow this week. I am really focused on getting some projects out the door. I wish we had a huge customer service department staffed with helpful e-mail responders and phone receptionists, however it is just me and Lola so try to be patient with us.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Last Day For Out Of State Portrait Commissions

Santa's Elves are working overtime
at Art Paw!

Today is the last day for out of state clients to order a holiday portrait with a guaranteed print delivery. We are working day and night to get all of our current projects proofed. I love this time of year. So much creative energy is flying around the studio, bouncing off the walls and landing on my Wacom tablet. Click here and place your order for a custom portrait today.

We will still be taking orders and proofing clients on-line, however we can not 100% promise a print delivery. You can gather around the laptop and share their proofing link with your loved ones on Christmas morning. Then they can choose their favorite colors. We will even try to ship out a few more late orders when people are willing to upgrade their shipping options. (If we finish a project on December 19th we can not use our standard ground shipping and be confident that Fedex will be able to get it to you during the final week of holiday shipping madness.)

Local Dallas Clients:
You have until the 7th to place your order if you want to pick up your prints in person.

Other Gift Ideas:
Gift certificates are quick and easy. Click here to order an e-cert that you can print out and place inside a holiday card. We also have tons of fun dog and cat gift items in our Cafe Press Gift shop, Or check us out on Etsy.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mosaic Monday / Video

I think you guys will like the work of Australian mosaic artist Brett Campbell. The video below shows a wide range of subjects including a few animals. You can learn more about Brett on his web site. The site offers supplies and kits for those that are new to mosaics and need help getting started.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Last Day Off For Awhile

Well its is Saturday and we have one more family gathering to enjoy. Today I am going to relish my last day off from work for a few weeks. On Sunday I will be back at my desk and working on portraits. I will also get caught up with e-mail and try to touch base with any clients waiting on proofs for longer than one week. I am about to go into the last long stretch of intense work & creating. The finish line is just ahead and I am hoping to wrap up all my projects by 12/20.

Have a great weekend everyone. Enjoy your families.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful For So Many Great Clients

"Henry" ( see all proofs)
© 2009 rebecca collins/
Harper ( see all proofs)
© 2009 rebecca collins/
© 2009 rebecca collins/

Today as I organize new orders and review all the projects that need updating I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, which is a very good thing and the normal way I should be feeling as we go in to the final month before Christmas. I am also feeling very thankful to all of you guys that have been ordering early and paying attention to the holiday deadlines.

I probably will not be extending the deadline this year as we are officially swamped. I will be having a sale on Friday though for both existing and new clients that may want to do a Gift Certificate Purchase. Gift Certificates are a great way to order a portrait for your self or a loved one and not have to worry about photos right now. So even if you have an order placed with us for your own pup you might consider doing a gift certificate for Mom & Dad. They will enjoy working with us and picking out their favorite proofs.

Check Back for our Black Friday Sale and order a Pet Portrait Gift Certificate this month that we will create for you later in January of 2010.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

My Santa Scottie

"Big Tommy Says HoHoHo"
( above back-side of card)

This weekend I spent some time designing our holiday card. Back in the mid 1990's I worked full time as an independent greeting card designer. I recall that I really enjoyed designing the backs of my cards. I am pleased with the back of this one. The tiny word in the center of the ray beams is "wag". The interior copy reads "joy". I had a version with the snowflakes on solid blue and one with just the ray beams. When I asked Dan which to use he said combine them .... and that was the perfect answer.

Oh ...and yes ... this is repurposed art from the Party Animals Project. Originally Tommy was shot with a party hat.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Kitty Mosaic

Originally uploaded by cbmosaics
Lovely kitty cat from Christine Brallier. See more from Christine over at: or click through to her Flickr stream.

I am swamped with work. Will try to post some new projects soon. This will be such a short week.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Dog Named Dylan

"Dylan" ( see all proofs)
© 2009 rebecca collins/

This morning I have been playing with a dog named Dylan while listening to a man named Dylan. I am trying out the Rhapsody music site. Currently I am enjoying Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series Vol. 6: Live 1964.

About The Art:
I rotated this handsome Chocolate Lab's head just a bit and brightened the photo before I started. Everyone always comments on Mr. Big Paws, another lab on the site and so I referenced that older work a bit before I started. The images above have a posterize effect applied to the painted work. I have a softer painterly option available in the proofing set.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Zoey The Bulldog

© 2009

Sometimes our proofing e-mails never reach their destination. Zoey's Dad called me just now because he knew he was supposed to get a proof today and he was eager to see his girl. I sent him a forward and he did not get that e-mail either so we will try adding the proofing link here on the blog.

If you are waiting on a proof and your were given an estimated proofing date you can always give it 24 hours and then give us a call. Proofing dates are usually rough estimates. I am doing my best to handle everyone quickly and yet some projects are harder than others depending on image quality. Zoey's high res. image was terrific and she was breeze. Now if we can just figure out the e-mail problems.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dog Art and yes, more Dog Art

"Lola" ( see all proofs)
© 2009 rebecca collins /
Today I updated a couple of clients, I proofed Lola , Pete-e, and Ginger. Lucy was finalized yesterday and her proofs are on-line. We also shipped a small print to Canada and stretched another project today.

I finally have my head in the game and we are rocking and rolling around here. Tomorrow I will look at all pending color revisions and any orders that have been in-house longer than 2 weeks.

We have a bunch of new orders that came in over the weekend. It seems that people are taking my holiday deadlines to heart. My calendar is public and clients can check it to find their "estimated" proofing dates. It will take up to 48 hours or so for new orders to be placed on the calendar.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mosaic Monday

"Puppy Love and Bunny Kisses" By Linda Billet

The screen shot above is from The Contemporary Mosaic Art Group over at Ning. They have a terrific mosaic Doggy slide show on their main page right now. One of my Scottie mosaics was featured there as well. This is a great group to join if you are a serious Mosaic artist. They currently have 911 members from all over the world. Go check it out.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Lucy And Her Fly Away Hairs

Sneak Peek of Lucy In Progress

It is a late night and I have been playing around with Miss Lucy. This pretty girl is our first "Small Munsterlander". I take pride in knowing a lot of dog breeds and their temperaments. I had never heard of this breed before. According to Wikipedia: " Small Munsterlanders are very intelligent, trainable, and attentive but require gentle and patient training, which provides excellent results. They are also strong-willed and an owner who is inconsistent or indecisive might find that his dog is hard to control". She sounds like my kind of girl ...we adore stubborn pups around here.

About The Art:
I still have a lot of work to do. Tonight I have been focused on painting in Lucy's fly-away hairs. The 3 detail shots below sort of show some steps. We start with an original photograph. Then my assistant erases the background. When you erase the background it is impossible to get every single hair isolated. Lola does a great job at getting photos ready for me. I know that some hairs will be lost and that is ok because it is easier to go back in and paint them back in than try to erase around them. If I did not go back in with the paint brush tool and the wacom tablet the result would be a little choppy and "cut out" looking. I will try to post a video tutorial on this process later next week. For now the pics below will give you the idea. It is a very time consuming process, but I love it. In fact I may have gone a bit overboard and given her more locks than needed. Hmmm, I'll have to look at that in the morning.

Ginger The Dalmatian

© 2009 rebecca collins

This weekend I have several projects I am working on. The weekends can be a fun time to work. The phone rings a bit less so I can crank up the radio and really get into what I am working on.

About The Art:
With each new photo that comes in I ask myself what is fun and great about this pose and this pup. Then I ask myself what is not so great about the photo? In this case I was torn about the water bottle. So often we see an empty plastic water bottle as trash that needs to be recycled. In this case I was so charmed at how Ginger was actually holding on to that bottle. I decided I had to keep it and make it fun. So with a little purple tinting and some fun white smudges I dressed up that bottle a bit and I think it is working.

Potential portrait clients need to e-mail us photos this weekend to make our holiday deadline. Get your photos e-mailed to Or make payment this weekend and you can get your photos in next week.
Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Making a Big Statement with Composition

" Max" ( see all proofs)
© 2009 Rebecca Collins
About The Art:
I started working with Max today. He is a Great Pyrenees. If you have never met a Pyrenees before you are missing out. They are the biggest most lovable lumps of dog flesh that you can ever want to cuddle up next to. I can not imagine having a dog this big and yet I fall in love with every one that I have ever seen at the parks. So anyway, I did several full body proofing samples and then I decided to play around with composition. The top image is my all time favorite. By cropping much of this gentle giants face off of the canvas I feel like I have captured the bigness that is the Pyrenees. He is way too big to be contained within a mere canvas and so I allowed him to grow beyond the borders. As always the client gets the final say and you can see one of my full body options below. It is fun too, and if they adore his massive paws I can see them going with the full body. People have their things that they love about their babies.

Yet Another Boxer Dog

"Winston" ( see all proofs)
© 2009 rebecca collins

Winston is one of about a dozen projects shipping out this week. The background option shown here is the one they went with and it was fun to see it printed up. The colors looked great. I really like the combination of the raspberry and muted aqua.

I am finally getting over my cold and I am starting to feel confident that we can handle the holiday work load. Yesterday we brought back another part time canvas stretcher and her help is going to make a huge difference as we head into the Christmas rush.

Oh and by the way ...potential clients should know that we do work on other pups besides Boxers. I don't know why we have had so many Boxers come through the doors and on to our digital easel. We do love the breed so we can't complain.