Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Movie Bolt

Last night we watched the kid's movie "Bolt". It was a fun little animated romp. They took the classic story of animals banding together on a long journey home and somehow managed to make it fresh and contemporary. If you like dogs and you like animation this is a must see. Oh, and there is a very fun hamster character in it, along with a kitten named Mittens.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Lighting Candles For Sweet Boys & Girls

"Our Atticus"

Sunday marked our 4rth year without our boy Atticus. He was Dan's soul-dog and we still grieve for him. We lit a few candles this weekend for him and for the many other pets we saw pass this last month. Bunky, Kylie & Skippy are all romping around with our boy at the rainbow bridge. I have also worked on several memorials this month. Rudee & Fritz, my last 2 kitty projects were both memorials.

Our heart also goes out to Mark & Lori. This weekend they wrote me a sweet and sad letter about Pino. Their little poodle-boy passed on March 8th, just 19 days shy of his 14rth Birthday. We had created artwork for them awhile back, I think it was early 08. I am so glad we had the opportunity to work with them while their pretty boy was here with them. Mark's letter brought tears to my eyes. I never know what to say to people when they loose a fur-kid and in reality there is no perfect thing to say.
"Sweet Pino"

Dealing With Pet Grief:
There are a gazillion ways to handle pet grief and everyone will have a different coping method that will work for them. I can share what worked for us when Atticus passed. When our boy left us it was a lovely spring month and we spent every single weekend we had out in the backyard working together on flower beds and new gardens. Even though we still had our girl Nessie the house seemed strange and quite. Being outside with our hands in the dirt seemed like the best way to cope with the loss of our little earth dog. The sunshine was good for us and I know it was good for Nessie. Neither of us said hey let's work outside today we will feel better, but it turned out to be the best medicine we could find.
Creating new routines:
The times in our lives where we miss them the most are really the common moments, the small daily routines and tiny rituals that our pets were a part of. I think when a loss is new and your heart is so very raw it is important to create some new routines that will move you forward a bit. You should be going to new parks, planting, reading, writing, whatever you need to do to find yourself out in the world living life. We often found ourselves thinking "Atticus would love this place". The goal is not to forget, but to keep living and keep loving.
Respecting everyone's loss:
The other thing I would suggest is that it is very important to respect and try to understand a partner's grieving process. No two people will process the stages of grief on the same time table. People can try to help each other and yet ultimately our grief is our own. Don't forget to be sensitive and aware of how your other pets are handling loss. Our little Scottie girl Nessie was so heartbroken that she did not even get excited about biscuit treats, and she was a real chow hound. We adopted Ajax before we were emotionally ready because we knew that our little Nessie was ready, and she adored her one year old puppy boy. He brought her out of a deep depression.

Today I am wishing peace and comfort to everyone that is coping with loss. I welcome any comments that may offer additional perspectives and approaches. Few of us are experts on grief, however I know that many of you have been down that road so please share if you can.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rudee The Calico Kitty

"Rudee" ( See All Proofs)
11 x 14 canvas

This sweet kitty was a joy to work on. I loved that wonderful draping arm, a posture that was present on many of the photos that my client showed me. They went with the top sample, and I have seen that ground printed up and it always looks so lovely. Sometimes background patterns can seem distracting however in this case I think the composition really is served well by having something pretty and soft going on at the left. Rudee's eyes are large and they draw you in, so there is no way that you are not going to be able to connect with this pretty kitty. The blue and orange play off of each other well I think.

From Rudee's Mom:
" I simply LOVE it! I have to tell you, just looking at it has brought tears to my eyes. Thank you so much for creating such a wonderful picture of my Rudee, it is something I was always cherish and hold very dear to my heart".

Friday, March 27, 2009

New Kitty Art

"Fritz" ( see all proofs)
18 x 24 canvas

This is Mr. Fritz. He is one of 2 kitty cat projects that I have in-house this month. Tomorrow I will post Rudee the Calico. I have a few tamer color options on Fritz however I really enjoyed bumping his orange to an almost electric level.

I love cats and miss having kitties. I had 2 black cats for over half my adult life, their names were Deimos and Phobos. My boy was Deimos and Phobos actually became Phoebe so she could better learn her name. I named them after the moons of Mars.

I will probably be off most of the weekend although we might be meeting with one client for a project pick-up. You guys have a great weekend and get outside with your dogs! Or stay inside with your cats ...but relax and have fun!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pug Tail

"Pug Tail ... Emmitt is a very good boy"
18 x 11 on stretched canvas

This digital collage if of Mr. Emmitt. He has the curliest tail on the planet. He is part of my Catch you on the Flip Side Project. He has been listed in my Etsy shop, but his Mom Melissa has 1st dibs. A smaller and less expensive 9 x 5.5 paper print is also available by request.

I am really enjoying these fun experiments. Even the size formats are different and unknown to me when I start. Melissa sent me just the tail ( shown below) and I knew I wanted to do something that would include a full body silhouette, but I was not sure how it would come together until I started playing. Next week I have 2 Jack Russells to work on and soon I hope to get to a very cute row of little puppy butts.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Meet Rita


This pretty little King Charles Spaniel belongs to Dr. Shawn Messonier. I was thrilled when Dr. Messonier contacted us about a possible radio interview this spring. You have to check out the Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats by Dr. Messonier. I have a copy myself and I can't say enough about what a good reference guide it is. So many of us want to try a more natural approach to caring for our fur-kids and this book gives you the information you need in order to make the choices that will work for you and your lifestyle. You need this book!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Doggy Butts at the lake

Last week we played hooky one day .... well sort of. We really were on a mission and we went to the Dallas Dog park at White Rock Lake and started a new project. Lola and I are going to be uploading some experimental videos soon of dogs and their humans. We are still in the editing stage right now. Above are a few still shots I took as we sat in the sun and watched dogs frolic.

If you have never been to a dog park I would encourage it. If you go to dog parks all the time, I would suggest you try going once without your dog. I really love just watching the pups play without having to worry about where my own pup is and if he is playing well with others. Of course there is that problem of walking in the door reeking of other dogs ... they always know when you cheat on them.

You can see more dog park photos in my Dallas Dog Park Flickr Set.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bruce Metcalf

The other day I was stumbling around Flickr, which lead me into some blog browsing, which lead me to Bruce Metcalf. His name sounded familiar and then once I clicked through to his blog my entire college history came flooding back to me. Seeing his work reminded me of my younger days as a jewelry and metalworking student. He is the sort of artist we would admire in American Craft Magazine. Metcalf is a legend in fine crafts. He has one of those blogs where content rules and frequency is not a concern. What you will find on his blog are a few very well written posts. I really enjoyed the post titled " Craft Identity in Craft Education".

Reading his blog I found myself longing for my college days when I spent so much more time in my head. In our 20's we burned the candle at both ends and while we worked hard in the studio there was always time for thinking, more thinking and discussion.

Below is a great video interview the folks over at Etsy did with Mr. Metcalf.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Catch You On the Flip Side

"Pin The Tail on The Donkey"
17 x 14 on Canvas

Detail Image ( above)

This is Ottis. He belongs to Manon Doyle. I have had a huge response so far to my request for Doggy Butt photos. My "Catch You On the Flip Side" project is still going strong, so keep those 1mb photos coming. You can e-mail photos to collins@artpaw.com. I can not promise that everyone will be included, it really just depends on the amount of pics submitted and image quality. I am going to try to do one a week and post to the blog.

Ottis Original photo ( above)

The Color Green

Star Trek Woman

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Great time to talk about green.

Green In Culture:
Green was symbolic of resurrection and immortality in Ancient Egypt the god Osiris was depicted as green-skinned.

Many flags of the Islamic world are green, as the color is considered sacred in Islam.

In the Celtic tradition, green was avoided in clothing for its superstitious association with misfortune and death.

Green Artist Quotes:
"Absolute green is the most restful color, lacking any undertone of joy, grief, or passion. On exhausted men this restfulness has a beneficial effect, but after a time it becomes tedious."
Wassily Kandinsky

"When I go out into the countryside and see the sun and the green and everything flowering, I say to myself "Yes indeed, all that belongs to me!".
Henri Rousseau

"They'll sell you thousands of greens. Veronese green and emerald green and cadmium green and any sort of green you like; but that particular green, never."
Pablo Picasso

Dozer In Shades Of Green

Related Posts: The Color Green

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Challenges of Customer Service in The Digital Age

Where's My Proof, Why haven't I heard from you?
What to do when client e-mails get to you, but all your replies to them get filtered out.

Here at Art Paw I try hard to provide a very high level of customer service and yet occasionally things do go wrong. I am currently struggling to proof a client that did everything right and filled out her web-form and paid on-line. I thought I had done everything right as well, e-mailing her within about a week of payment with a large proofing set to review. I waited a few days so she could mull over the proofs and then e-mailed her again when I did not hear back. In my 2nd e-mail I assure her if she needs design changes or color tweaks I am more than happy to oblige. A day passes and still no reply ...obviously she has a junk folder that is weeding out my e-mails. I am not receiving bounce notices so I assume they are hiding in her spam folder.

No problem, she did everything right so I have her contact details and I give her a call. We try sending from a different e-mail, and we try sending to a different e-mail. She warned us that the 2nd work e-mail she has may bounce due to aggressive spam filters, and indeed it did. All of our attempts to contact this client via e-mail are leading us no where. I am totally confused as to why nothing is working. I have added a thumbnail to her proofs from our main homepage and her artwork is featured here. It is my hope that with a few more phone calls and some verbal navigation we will eventually iron this all out. She has been really patient in all this and for that I am so grateful.

So I can be satisfied that no matter what happens I have done everything I can? Or have I? Should I take greater effort and explain to people at the point of ordering that they should use our toll-free number to contact us if they have questions at any point. Should I go into lengthy explanations about spam filters etc. and let people know that they may need to check their spam folder or filter settings? Should all of this additional info clutter up my ordering page, or should I just be happy that things work right 95% of the time? Should I risk spoiling surprises and leave phone messages every time I send an e-mail proof out?

At any rate her project was really a fun one and I am eager to see it printed out. I have to say that my frustrations are not with her or her project. The challenge is navigating the digital waters of communication. For help I googled "getting pass spam filters" to reach your clients. Of course all I could find was info on "e-mail marketing". It seems nobody has any advice on how to use e-mail for existing client interactions, or project management.

If you are a fellow artist & business woman please leave any advice you may have on this matter.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pug Poster Give- Away

Check out the contest over at Dog Art Today. To celebrate her 2 year Blog anniversary Moira is giving away a terrific poster of Valentino & his Puggies.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fab Blog Award

Wow what a crazy busy week. Been meaning to post about a Fab blog award that Manon Doyle gave me earlier this week.
Here are the rules....
1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post rules on your blog
3. Write five random things about yourself
4. Tag 5 random people at the end of your post and link to them
5. Let each person know they've been tagged

Ok 5 random things about me:
1. I am a total computer nerd.

2. My first pet was named Juno ... a white kitty.

3. My first car was a 1972 cougar convertible.

4. I believe art is a way of life, and not just a thing you do.

5. I am a huge fan of Leonard Cohen.

I'd like to give this award to.....

Dog Art Today: because Moira keeps the freshest content happening over there.

Anne Leuck Feldhause: because she is super talented, her name is hard to spell and we keep trying to connect about an artist interview .

2 Dog studio: because she has some really great work on her blog right now.

sitstaysmile: because Jill is just the coolest. She is a great networker and a great photographer.

Kathy Weller: cause she just survived a blog merge...and she is really talented and all that stuff.

There are a lot of other super talented guys and gals out there that I could have listed, but I know some of you are too busy right now to play.

Ok, this weekend ... more doggy butts for me. You guys have fun, if it is not raining where you are get out to the park with your dogs!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Etsy Purchase Octopus

"Cordial Creatures - articulated paper doll set"
Mermaid and octopus = friends

"Wool and Water" Shop

Today I am training Lola to update my Etsy Shop. Wow, it has been so long since I listed new stuff I am having to relearn as I teach. Of course when you start listing and playing on Etsy you have to buy stuff ... right? Well the very cool paper doll duo above is from the shop "Wool and Water" , artwork by Amy Earles. I can't wait to receive it.

My Etsy: Today we are uploading some doggy prints and a couple of octopus prints on canvas. Below is Ozzie the Octopus and he can be purchased as an 8 x 10 or 5x7 matted print. I have sold 90 items so far over at Etsy. I am setting a goal to sell 100 items by May... should be easy right?
I have decided that Wednesday will be Etsy good Karma days for me this spring. I am going to start going through goodies I have marked as favorites over the past few months and start making some more purchases. To be a good seller on Etsy you need to learn to be a good shopper. I know Melissa is hearing me on that one, that pug lovin girl knows how to shop!

Support Independent Sellers ... go over to Etsy and buy something!

Don't know where to start? Try their shop local tool. Or their groovy gift guides.
Send your Mom or spouse a list to your favorites. When you see something you like you can bookmark it by adding it as a favorite. Below are thumbnails of some of my favorites. Dang their are a lot of good doggy artists on Etsy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why Do We Love Bulldogs So Much?

"Jackson" ( See All Proofs)

So why do we all love Bulldogs so much? We get a lot of attention when we walk our 3 Scotties, and yet I can only imagine the attention Bulldog owners are given on their daily outings. Is it their wonderful rolling walk or their smushed faces or is it something else? Did you know that George Clooney, Vincent Price and Tennessee Williams have all owned Bulldogs?

This handsome fellow is Jackson and he is part of a large 3-dog project. He lives with some stunning Huskies. I hope to have their artwork finalized by the end of the week.

Jackson's Dad liked the bottom sample above. I did a quick mock-up of the artwork in his home along with the other 2 portraits that are still being fine-tuned. When my client visited the studio we found an image of his new couch that had not yet been delivered and mocked it up into his living room. Now I have a pretty accurate sketch of how his artwork may look at home. It is not 100% to scale. The wall is also a lighter tan in real life, although he said he may be painting. These works will be on heavy duty stretcher bars. The huskies will be 24 x 36 while the Bulldog is 34 x 36. We do offer custom sizes and upgraded deep bars on request.

My 3 Scottish Terriers

3 Scottish Terriers
Originally uploaded by artpaw
Another Shot from behind pet portrait. This is one of my all time favorite wacom sketches.

"That Dog Won't Hunt"

"That Dog Won't Hunt"
Originally uploaded by artpaw
Another Doggy From Behind. Still working up a few samples so I can create my Artist Choice Promo Page this week. This work is 8 x 8 on canvas. All artwork created from the "Catch You on the Flip-Side" promo will be available for purchase and prices will range from $75 to $250. The folks sending their pics in will have first right of purchase. This is the goofiest promo I have ever thought of. Dog Butt Photos can be sent to collins@artpaw.com

Monday, March 09, 2009

Catch You on The Flip Side!

" Wag The Dane"
( 17 x 14 on canvas)
" Go West Little Westie"
( 16 x 8 on canvas)
Hey everyone, I am ready to catch you on the flip-side for a wagging good time. This week I will be starting a new Artist Choice Promo. In the past my Artist Choice Promos have been discounted portrait projects within a theme, like "pets on flower backgrounds", or other such concepts. This time around I am going to borrow a working model from my artist pal Leigh Jackson and set my terms up a wee bit different, making it a "call for photos" with no purchase obligations. The reason for this is that the project is going to be a total experiment for me and I am not sure I can get people to pay for artwork of their dog's butt. Yep you heard me right, I want to paint your dog's butt. I am wanting high resolution ( 1mb or higher), of dogs shot from behind, or photos where the tail is visible and important. I will create artwork in a variety of sizes, styles and media. I will be posting more on the project soon. I am still working out my terms page.

Why The Flip-Side?

As a commercial portrait artist going into my 11th year I sort have this pet portrait thing down. The eyes are the window to the soul so you make them sparkle, you strive for perky ears and you rotate heads a lot. You also deal with a lot of glow eye and tiny resolution photographs. I want to look at more of my subjects now and try to catch the essence of "dog" through that all important tail end part that shows so much joy ... yes the waggy tail. Backsides where pups are staring off into the distance can also be quite nice and so a tail is not 100% required.

The goal is to capture a mood without the emphasis being on the face. So start shooting people. Ooops that did not sound right, I really meant to say " People, start shooting your dogs from behind".

I will post more on this later in the week. To send photos attach them as jpgs and mail to collins@artpaw.com please use flip-side as your subject line.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Not My Scotties

Originally uploaded by 'Lulu'
I fell in love with this Flickr find. These are not my Scotts however our guys will sit very close like this. Our 1st two Scottie dogs, Atticus & Nessie adored each other and yet they had a certain amount of personal space that each respected.

Have a great weekend evreyone.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

New Dog Art Ready For LuLu

"Lu Lu" ( See All Proofs )
This is Miss Lulu. I lover her scruffy terrier type coat. LuLu's Dad shares an e-mail account with LuLu's Mom so we are having to be sneaky about delivering proofs. I will call him soon and tell him to visit the blog and CLICK HERE for entire proofing set.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Google Analytics

If you are a blogger consider using google analytics to see where your traffic is coming from, and how much traffic you have each day. I am not going to share my stats with you but I can tell you that I just shuffled my blog roll links around to thank 2 of my highest referring blog pals. You girls know who you are and you rock. Later this week I will dig into the stats deeper and try to see who else may be linking to me so I can add them to the blog roll.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009


I am really not the jealous type, however I sure wish I had been one of the lucky lucky lucky bloggers to have received one of the 50 handmade promotional art boxes sent out by the Coraline team. I first learned about the really cool Scottie box that was gifted to toysrevil from our friends over at the Scottish Terrier and Dog News Blog. I did a little research and discovered a great blog post about these amazing boxes over at NotCot.com, (check it out each one is different). I know my mixed media artist buddies will drool.

New Pet Portraits in the Works

"Nadine, Jackson, Annie" ( ready for color)

"LuLu" ( ready for more color)
"Prince" ( ready for specified color)

I have several new projects underway and several old projects to finalize. I thought that this week might be light, however I was mistaken. I seem to have a lot of projects to juggle. I am going to try to get several clients updated on Thursday and several new clients will have at least a working sketch in hand by Friday.

All of the projects in this post are underway. Jackson the Bulldog & Husky pals will be a fun project for a local client. I have a pic of the room it will go in and I will be able to mock these 3 projects up in photoshop later in the game so the client can see how they will look at home. Lulu needs more color and a variety of background options, she is almost done. Prince the Doberman will be fun to finalize since the client has given very specific color notes and background ideas. The ray beams shown here will probably not make the cut since she specified no borders or geometrics ... oh well, sometimes I have to try things out for myself even when I know they may not be the 1st choice for the client.