Friday, July 31, 2009

Galveston Dogs

These are a couple of random doggies that I shot while on vacation this last week in Galveston. Even when I get away from work I am drawn to other people's pets and especially when I am away from home without my dogs I feel a strong need to talk to everyone I see that has a dog. I swear if I lived in a tourist town I might start a business renting out a "dog for a day" for travelers like myself that go through dog withdrawal when traveling. The bottom photo reminds me of Jamie's pup Fergie.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Colors Of Galveston

Galveston Texas
Originally uploaded by artpaw
Hey guys, I am home and settling back into work after a quick weekend trip to Galveston Texas. The city seems to be recovering well from Ike. I will post some cute dogs I shot on the strand tomorrow. I did not shoot a lot of photos. This house caught my eye right as we drove towards the beach and we went back the next day to shoot it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Young Deer Bathing Kitty

This video is just way too cute! The web is abundant with interspecies wet nurses but this is one of the first videos I have seen of an animal grooming another animal from a different species. The tabby cat is digging the attention and the deer seems really happy as well... makes you wonder if the cat has been oiled up with a tasty treat or something. I don't mean to be cynical. Enjoy the cuteness and have a great weekend!

By the way, video originally discovered over at the Animal Crazy Blog.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pet Portraits On Cardboard!

Earlier this summer someone with another pet portrait company e-mailed me to see if I might like to feature their artwork on the blog. Nine out of 10 times I decline or ignore these sort of requests because lets face it, I am here to talk about "me", and occasionally I'll link to some of my dog artist friends that I share a support system with. So seeing the e-mail I rolled my eyes and clicked on the link, expecting some beginner site and so on. To my pleasant surprise I was charmed by not only the originality of the artwork, but also the clean slick website that presented it.

These fresh and original works are create on cardboard. When you visit their site be sure and click on the images so you can see the pop up window that will have a mouse-over showing you the depth these works have.
Their starting price is only $125 so I may just have to see what they can do with a Scottie. I really do adore their use of unexpected materials and their playful style. Check out and tell them Art Paw sent ya.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Few Big Dogs

This week I have finalized some artwork for a few big pups. Meisie's Mom ordered 2 portraits and she will qualify for our repeat client discount that we are offering this month. Pete & Haley are new clients and their Mom is taking advantage of our 8 x 10 promo. Click here to learn more about our July sale ... keep in mind that it ends soon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Party Animal Zine / Rescue Charity Project

Cover Art By Jill Beninato

The Party Animals Project benefiting A Place to Bark is now available for purchase as a beautiful zine. This printed book is really stunning and our own Scottie Big Tommy is thrilled to have his artwork included. I was really impressed with both the layout and the print quality on the book. I thought the colors were very very close to my original artwork, and that rarely happens with print on demand services. The book is being billed as a "zine" however I like to think of it is an auction catalog. Order your copy today so you can pick out the original artwork that you will be bidding on in the fall.

"Make A Wish"

"Party Animals features the artwork of 21 different artists from across the country. The proceeds from the sale of this book will directly benefit the animals at A Place To Bark animal rescue. All work was donated by the participating artists and the original pieces will be auctioned off on Ebay in the Fall of 2009. This 43 page, full color book includes reproduced artwork from each artist, information about A Place To Bark animal Rescue, How To's, ways to get involved with helping animals, a dog treat recipe and much more!"

Please click here to preview and purchase your copy today for only $20.

A special shout out and thank you to Jill for including us again this year and for all of her hard work with her on-going artist collaborations.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Pet Portrait Projects

Today and tomorrow will be pretty busy. I am finalizing artwork for Meisie, Zoey, and Mia. Meisie's project has been in-house for a couple weeks now. She is a lovely Ridgeback and her human has ordered a few gift portraits from us in the past. We are doing 2 portrait projects from 2 different pics for Meisie.

Zoey & Mia are 2 fluffy pups that will ship to Canada. I am still playing around with Mia, but I will post Zoey below. Check out the ground on this first sample of Zoey. I incorporated the actual photo background layered on top of one of my painterly grounds. I set the photographic layer effects to be hard light and then played with color and splatter brushes.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mosaic Monday / More Bugs

This weekend I went to Kittrell Riffkind and spent a small fortune on iridescent glass. I am working on a new series of bugs. The small beetle plaques below are going to be part of a larger project. They will be mounted on to larger boards that will be layered with collage text and glass. The yummy iridescent glass is not photographing all that well. I will not grout the backgrounds on my bugs until I decide on the overall look of the frame panel boards.

When I first started working in mosaics I thought the iridescent glass was sort of cheesy. It is pretty and everything, but it was a bit too disco-ish for me. Now that I am working on bugs I realize that there are plenty of places in nature where iridescent color is quite natural. Bugs, fish and bird feathers all tend to have an iridescent sheen.

Green beetle to far right is still in progress.

Last week I was very fortunate to be featured on the terrific blog of Mosaic artist Kim Grant.  You can check out Kim's portfolio on her main site.  Or visit her blog to read her interview with yours truly.

Friday, July 17, 2009

New Golden Retriever Art

Today I proofed Scotch the Golden Retriever. I really had a blast working on this handsome pup and the original photograph was a total joy to play with.

I have started rating my client original photographs as "poor, fair, or good" in quality. My first reason for this was so that people would look at their original photos, then look at the resulting artwork and understand that I have gone to extra measures to compensate for a lack of detail, glow eye or other flaws. With that said it is now my hope that potential clients will start to see the images that I am rating as good or very good and learn by seeing just what a good quality photograph looks like. I tell people all the time that high quality, high resolution photographs make all the difference and yet without visual examples of good quality I am really not defining what I am talking about. So thanks to Scotch's humans for sending me a terrific example of a high quality good photograph.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another Chance to Save On a Pet Portrait

Yesterday I posted some Christmas in July promos and today I want to share a link to an auction where you can swoop on an 11 x 14 custom pet portrait by Art Paw. There is only one bid so far. The auction is to help one of my photographer pals earn some extra traveling coin for a mission trip she is going on to Peru to photograph a journey with Doctors that are helping out the indigenous peoples of the Amazon. She is also auctioning off a Wacom tablet just like the ones we use to create our artwork. There are a couple of pieces of photography gear, a massage, candles, Yoga instruction, oh and groovy dog bowls from Pawcasso. If you are local you need to bid on her pet photo session! Kris does terrific animal photography.

Go check out the auction goodies:

To bid you just leave a comment ( on her site, not this one, follow link above) . I have never seen a blog formatted auction before ...very well done.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Christmas In July!

Have a lot of good dogs on your holiday shopping list? Well it is time to place a custom portrait order and save. Returning clients just need to use the coupon code: "repeat" when they check out and they can save 20% on their custom art project. You must be a repeat portrait client to qualify for that discount and it works on any size & style. New clients can try us out with an intro sized mini print for less than $100. Click here to learn more about that offer.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lucy Sneak Peek

Today I have been playing with Lucy the King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. I have quite a bit more work to do. Today I am posting my progress.

click to enlarge
As you can see from the photo above there was very little contrast between Lucy and her bedding. Everything also had a bit of a yellow tone to it, so the first step was correcting the levels and the overall color. I also ditched the plush toy since we will be adding a sock monkey toy.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Word Mosaic/ A Video

Ok, I know it is Mosaic Monday time, but I found this terrific video while stumbling. I'll stretch my Monday a bit and call it a Mosaic, of sorts ..."you know"?

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Otto The Shepherd

Working on this sweet puppy today. I have a lot more work to do.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

New Jack Russell Portrait

"Tyson" (See All Proofs)
34x54 inches
The orange ground above was the client pick.
A very good choice I think.

This happy little fellow is Tyson. He is a very large 34 x 54 inch portrait. We will be printing & stretching this guy later tonight. It will take us most of tomorrow afternoon to package him up. I love doing these larger prints. They are really impressive big. They can be a challenge to package up as we have to build a special sized box and we really bubble the heck out of them to protect them in transit. They are worth the extra care and work, I can't wait to see him stretched.

Learning how to say no

Today I received a very nice e-mail from a terrific non profit group that wanted to know if I was interested in helping them with a logo design. When I first started this business 11 years ago I thought I really had to say yes to every request that came across my desk from a non profit. It seemed to me that if I was truly going to be devoted to my 4-legged subjects that it would be wrong to not help small orgs even when I may not be the best person for the task at hand.
The reality is that logo design work is hard. Getting it right is hard for seasoned graphic designers and twice as hard for a fine artist like myself. Many times people think they want a terrific animal image or wonderful furry mascot incorporated into their logo. A pro will be able to explain to them the realities of how many places that logo will need to look good. Is it simple and clean enough to work on a business card, web banner, small magazine ad, and so on. A good logo really needs to say a lot with what looks like very little effort.  

Anyway if you are an artist reading this I know at some point someone has or will ask you to illustrate a children's book for them, create a logo, or design a website.  It can be very hard to explain to people that you may not be the best person for the job, but it is important that you learn how to do that sooner than later.  Below is my e-mail letter. It was very hard to write as I hate saying no, but it is better than creating a logo that I know would not be the best solution for them.

"Thank you so much for the kind words about my work. Unfortunately I will have to pass on the logo work.  Creating logos stresses me out beyond words. A logo is such a crucial and important part of any business or organization. It is very hard to get it just right. In the last 11 years I have reworked my own logo 3 or 4 times. I just honestly do not feel that logos are the sort of design work that I am good at. I would encourage you to try to find a local designer, not an artist, but a graphic designer that you can meet with in person. A skilled graphic designer will be able to create something for you that will look good in print, on the web, and in a variety of formats.
Best of luck and thank you again for your interest in my work."

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Art Paw Featured at Daily Candy!

Thanks to the folks over at The Dallas Daily Candy for featuring us yesterday. Our daily traffic  doubled yesterday with over 2500 visitors.  DailyCandy is a free daily e-mail newsletter and website, an insider’s guide to what’s hot, new, and undiscovered — from fashion and style to gadgets and travel. 

Monday, July 06, 2009

Mosaic Monday/ Stepping Stones

Dog Breed Stepping Stones By Karen White
Purchase your favorite breed over at Etsy.
Found these adorable stepping stones over at Etsy. They are a steal at only $30 each. It would be very cool to order half a dozen in a variety of breeds for the garden. These are created from recycled tile and Karen even creates memorial stones on request.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Happy 4rth of July weekend!

Big Tommy Says have a safe and fun weekend!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Recent Pet Portrait Projects

"Beast" ( See All Proofs)
"Alex" ( See All Proofs)
"Foster" ( See All Proofs)

We had to remove Mavis' Bee costume, per client request.

June was a pretty busy month. It looks like we did around 19 pet portrait proofs. These are a few projects that we are shipping this week. I have 2 more projects from last month still on the board and then I will be caught up. I am starting to get excited about Christmas already. I plan to start my Christmas in July promotions next week. Not sure what sort of discounts or offers I will be doing, but be sure and watch the blog for updates. I plan to do something special for repeat clients.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Not Just Another Pretty Voice

I have always preferred gritty, raw throated singers, but for you Ms. Robinson I will make an exception.

For years I have enjoyed the smooth and polished vocals of Sharon Robinson as the back up singer for Leonard Cohen. When I saw her live this year, every smooth and polished word she sang served to add depth and richness to Leonard's sandpaper chops.

Robinson is a talented writer and has collaborated on several of Cohen's songs. With her recent solo release of "Everybody Knows" she delivers a cool and quenching performance. Strong and sensual, Ms. Robinson's voice is the perfect answer to a hot summer evening. There are too many great tracks on this CD to list, but if you are someone that downloads individual tracks you must grab "Alexandra Leaving". Long time Cohen fans will swear they are hearing this song for the very first time. New listeners will discover a poet of great talent, and yea she happens to have a very pretty voice.