Monday, August 31, 2009

Mosaic Monday

Today I discovered a very fun day of the dead cat & dog by doing a google image search. Anyone that has spent any time at all searching mosaic art on the web has probably stumbled into the work of Martin Cheek before. I think he has quite a following in mosaic circles. Martin has a playful style and a wonderful sense of humor shines through in all of his work. Check out his day of the dead market lady, complete with happy octopus for sale. You can also learn more about him by following his Barbados Diary on his blog.


I love the day of the dead work on Martin's site and enjoyed featuring it today. It is getting a little cooler here in Texas and I know that fall is just around the corner. The day of the dead celebration is November 2nd and that will be here before you know it. I have been tossing around the idea of starting on a small skeleton bat as a donation to the Creative Arts Center's Halloween fundraiser. Mr Cheek's work has really inspired me this morning, and I now I can't wait to start on my bat. He will be a vampire bat and I will return to the use of heavy text in the background.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It Is Raining Chihuahuas!

"Isabella" (See all Proofs)
These fun little Chihuahuas are an excellent example of the quality of artwork I am able to create when I have a really good photograph to start with. Isabella's photo was a tad challenging because it was all black and white. Since she is a black pup it worked out pretty well I think. I played around with backgrounds a bit this time. In addition to creating a couple of new background options I also dusted off some old grounds and played around with color, giving them new life. My last pup at the bottom, was influenced by Jeff Soto's color palette and his amazing ability to use "pink" in a non-passive unromantic way. Pink is a versatile hue and it does not have to be used in an overly girlie fashion unless of course that is what you are shooting for.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Diego & Skylar / New Dog Art

"Diego" (see all proofs)

These two pups were a lot of fun. The original photos were very high in quality and shot by pet photographer Jill Beninato. We are starting to get very busy here at Art Paw, so stay tuned for more artwork this week.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cody The Black Lab

This handsome water dog was a joy to play with. The original photo had a lot of detail and that made my job easier. This week I hope to post a lot of artwork on the blog. I am working on a Kitty, Bulldog, Dane, Chihuahuas and a few other pets.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Mosaic Monday

Dog Mosaic by Bridget Navoda
"Repete in Repose with his ball Wilso

Hello Monday. I thought this terrific 3d pup was a great image to start the week with. Click here to find the original post and artist.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Art Paw Has been Featured

This week we were lucky to be featured in a couple of terrific blogs. There is an in depth article and interview over at Digital Image Magazine. Thanks to Bob Nolin for contacting us about for this interview. Bob had a few questions for me about marketing and PR.

My friend Moira over at Dog Art Today just informed me that we also got a little mention at Zuniga Interiors. Thanks to Michelle for the mention on her great post about Greyhounds.


Seems like the abundance is just starting. Today I am rich in Scotties. A good friend just dropped off Celtie and Rufus to visit for a few days. We love these 2 Scotts and will enjoy their antics over the coming weekend. I'll try to post some photos soon.


Today we are working on portraits. I should have several new works to post soon.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oynx The Pug

The Black Chinese Pug

I don't think I ever posted Oynx from this last month. This adorable Puggie is shipping to France today. She is an 18 x 24 and I think "she" looks great. I really like the background that the client chose on this one.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mosaic Monday / Dane

Originally uploaded by pixelhut
Found this terrific wall by doing a google image search for Dog Mosaic. Original post is over at Flickr by pixelhut.

Click here for enlarged version.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Scotties know I have been cheating on them

I am home from vacation. The kitty above is Albus, and I know that my dogs must think I went all the way to North Carolina to cheat on them with some fluffy tabby. This sweet and friendly kitty lives outside the rustic Inn we stayed at. Whenever we gathered outside to sit and talk with family Albus would jump from lap to lap purring and drooling.

The barn shot above is from our last morning. Dan and I got up at like 6:00 a.m. to drive around the countryside shooting old barns and other stuff. It was a fun and special morning that we spent together.

I am ready to jump on things here at Art Paw tomorrow morning. A few new orders came in while I was on vacation. I will be e-mailing clients tomorrow with expected proofing dates. Even though I did have someone holding down the fort for me a few balls were dropped here at work and I will see what I can do to juggle those on Monday. If you are a client waiting on a proof or an e-mail from me please be patient for 24 more hours and I will see what I can do to get in touch with you regarding your project.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Shifting Gears

Originally uploaded by artpaw
We have arrived at our vacation spot ... shifting gears into a slower pace. I shot this while on the road. It is some old rusty machine.

Getting back to this weekend's subject of how to find cool art blogs to follow, I suggest you play over at Flickr. Flickr has tons of artists posting new art every day. If you see something you like just click on the user's profile and see if they have a blog link. You can also use the Flickr search feature to look for specific types of artists or painters. You can even find groups devoted to a specific type of art.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Commenting With Style

We just passed the Tennessee River. I am blogging from the car today. Fun Times!

Recently a lot of business blogs are telling people to get out there and comment on other blogs to encourage others to visit your own blog or site. Some people do this well and some people do it in a hurried "drive by" fashion. I tend to comment in a variety of ways, and in reality my goal in leaving a comment is never just a desire to get traffic. When I am visiting a new blog for the first time I try to leave a comment that refers back to something about the artwork or subject within the post. When I visit one of my regular artist pals that I see a few times a week, I admit I will occasionally leave a quick little: "great art", " "good job", or " well done". In these cases I really just want to say hi, and let my friends know I am reading them this week. So a comment can function in a variety of ways. It can be an introduction, a hello, and yes it can even be constructive criticism. A comment should never be an advertisement. Most people know this instinctively and I have to say that very few artists have ever left a comment on my blog saying "hey I do pet portraits too, go check them out at". When I do get a spammy comment it is generally from a non-art site that is pet related.

So just how do you get traffic by leaving a comment without actually saying "please go to:". Well for those of you that have never left a blog comment, what you need to know is that most blog writers set their commenting preferences to allow commenters to include a web link. I personally think that the appropriate web link to use in that field is a web link to the commenter's own blog and not a web link to a website that offers goods or services. If the commenter does not have a blog then a link to a portfolio or business site is perfectly acceptable. When you type in that web link it usually will read as the name you type in the "name field" (see image below). Your name will show up blue and be clickable and it will take readers to your blog. I usually just type in my first name "Rebecca" in the name field. I am going to change that starting today. The other day I was reading a blog post about Lauren Nassef's stolen artwork and I saw a comment by someone I know a little via the web, Claudine Hellmuth. I don't know her real well but I know her work and I know her name very well. When I saw her full name I got a visual image of her terrific work and I knew she was not Claudine Smith. If you see the screen shot below you will see 3 comments left by 3 different artists. Diane does mixed media art, Melissa is another doggy artist and Manon does a lot of art journaling. Oh, and Emmitt is a cute teenage Puggie. Melissa & Manon are both giving me more than just a first name, they would not need to ... I know them well. By giving more than just a first name they are also giving all my readers a little more info as to who they are. They are making their profile link more interesting, and therefor more clickable.

So to sum it up I will post some Dos and Don'ts on commenting. This is not law, and opinions will vary widely on "commenting with style". In fact please leave a comment and add your own favorite dos and don'ts.

Do try to leave a thoughtful comment when visiting a new blog for the first time.
Do leave a link to your own blog in the link field on the submission form.
Do use your full name (if you are comfortable with that).
Do remember that in addition to possible blog traffic you may also be building reciprocal relationships that will benefit you in many ways.

Don't leave an http://weblink within the actual "body of your comment" . That is not necessary and could be seen as spammy. The blogger will give you the chance to add a link in a special field if they choose to. This rule can often be broken among friends when sharing additional resources and info that is on topic.
Don't paste the same 4 word sentence into half a dozen posts on the same blog.
Don't just be a "drive by" commenter, find some blogs you really enjoy and visit them often ... comment a lot and comment well!

Later I will talk about how to find those cool art blogs you are going to love and want to comment on.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Busted For A Dismissive Attitude

Today I received a pretty spot on comment that nailed me for being dismissive towards beginner artists and I realize once again that you have to choose your words carefully in life or you may end up looking like a butt, or you may show your butt when in fact you are actually just trying to be generous.

The post in question was actually a post that was supporting another portrait artist and yet one reader zeroed in on a rather snobby attitude that came out on my part regarding beginner artists that e-mail random requests for support and promotional help. In reality I do spend a lot of time writing for and encouraging new artists. I have a tips section on my blog and I create photoshop tutorials to help people along. What I don't do and do not have time to do is respond personally to every single random e-mail that requests a link exchange, or a blog feature. I just don't have enough hours in the day to do this and so yea, I often roll my eyes and I do get impatient with people. I'm human.

So this next week I want to offer up advice to any beginning or seasoned artist that may want information on how to get their blog, site, or artwork talked about by other artists. There are very effective ways to do this and there are clumsy spammy ways to do this. The artist I featured last week had someone within their team send a very professional e-mail to me. They spoke to me with some flattery and yet more as though we were already peers and I was happy to support them.

So, tomorrow, from the road I will post on blog etiquette among artists.
I'm stuck in a car for 15 hours so this is a great time to talk about some stuff I have been wanting to touch on for some time now.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Tyson At Home!

"Tyson At Home"
My most recent 54 x 34 inch portrait client just sent me a photograph of her work hanging in the home. Her house looks much like the lovely stock photos we sometimes use for promotional images. I am impressed that there is the perfect amount of wall space on the sides of the piece. In our tiny 1940's bungalow this piece looked so massive while in this modern and spacious home it looks like just the perfect fit. Thanks to Tyson's Mom for sending this on over .... I love having authentic in home shots!

For more home decorating ideas check out the recent video that Lola helped me put together, well ok Lola actually put it together, but I showed her how and I culled the images. In this video we try to show that Art Paw Pet portraits can work in any room and on any wall.

Dog and Cat Art Portfolio from Rebecca Collins on Vimeo.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Italian Greyhound Art

"Ava & Archer" ( See all proofs)

Working hard today to get organized and see who all needs proofing this week. We are going to the mountains next week. Lola will be here holding down the fort and of course the Scotties will have their favorite person on the planet house sitting so they won't be alone at night. I feel like I have a zillion things to do to get ready for the trip.

About Ava & Archer:
These two adorable Italian greyhounds were a lot of fun to play with. Check out their fancy plush bedding. Do you think they let the humans sit on the couch too? Photo challenges included a lack of crisp detail and lack of contrast. Positive things about the photo include lovely eyes, and a charming pose by both pups.We all know how hard it is to get everyone looking good in one shot. I really had fun with this project and enjoyed picking up on the pattern in the ornate pillow, with a few different wallpaper background choices. I love mixing patterns and find that if the colors are similar in richness you can get away with some fun combos.

Mosaic Monday

"Prince Ropork" By Kate Rattray

"Rain" By Barbara Benson Keith

Today for a little inspiration to start the week I went over to one of my favorite communities, the Contemporary Mosaic Art group over at Ning. They have tons of amazing and talented mosaic artists. The group is a friendly place and terrific spot to get an idea of what is happening in Mosaics today.