Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Hoooowwwloween

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Come out and See Us Saturday

Art Paw will have a table at the West Village Trots & Treats event here in Dallas.
11:00 - 1:00 pm Sat. 31st.
West Village Dallas
3636 McKinney Ave.
Dallas, TX 75204
The event is to benefit the Katy Trail. Come on out and bring your pups. All of the vendors will be giving away goodies.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Dog Portraits

" Apple" 12 x 12 ( see all proofs)
© 2009 Rebecca Collins

"Tex" 11 x 14 ( see all proofs)
© 2009 Rebecca Collins

It is starting to feel like Christmas around here. We are getting really busy. As soon as I get caught up I will take some time to post our holiday deadlines and maybe throw some snowflakes on the site. Now is the perfect time to order. I am busy, but still have the time and energy to play around and create new grounds and new color combos. Both of the grounds above are new hybrids created from old grounds.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Working With Low Resolution Photos

Today I am working with Charlie. If you check out the image above your first instinct may be "oh wow what a great snapshot". In many ways it is a nice capture. Charlie is smiling and he seems pretty well lit. It also looks like a great day was happening and he must have had a very happy day at the beach. The only thing missing here really is resolution. This image is 148K which is terrific for sharing on the web, but not so terrific for enlarging. Check the image below to see what happens when we bump a low resolution image up in size. When you enlarge a low resolution image you are asking the computer to fill in information that is not there and the result is jagged pixelation. So my first step is always to smooth out the messy pixelation and then once I see what is left, I go in and add in missing detail.

Charlie in progress above

If you are thinking about ordering a custom pet portrait keep these things in mind:
#1 A 1mb image file or larger will result in a portrait with tons of yummy detail.
#2 Dragging a friend's photo off of facebook or Flickr will result in a low resolution image unless you can click around and find the original high resolution version.
#3 Your camera has quality settings and you need to set yours as high as possible when shooting.
#4 I will attempt to work from just about any image sent, but try to send me a high res image for best results. I can always enhance what you give me, and yet the portraits that you fall in love with in the Art Paw galleries are usually the ones that started out with great high resolution photos.
#5 Check out our photo tips page for more help and information about proper file resolution.

Video Below Of Another Low Resolution Image In progress

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mosaic Monday / Dead Artists, Skulls and more

Me & Dan as Frida Kahlo & Vincent Van Gogh

It is that time of year.... Halloween and yes Halloween parties. This weekend we went to the Creative Arts Center Halloween party. We won best costume for the group category, we also had a pal with us that was Bob Ross (the guy that paints little trees). I don't know why we wanted to be such tortured artists. We are both pretty happy individuals, at least Bob was there to add some levity with his big brown afro. At any rate it was fun trying on these characters from 3 totally different eras.


If you need some help getting in the holiday mood go on over to the Skull A Day Blog and search for Skull Mosaics. You will find some pretty cool stuff.

"Cherry Blossoms" By Mystic Mosaics
© the artist Cindy Sbrissa
Check out the terrific Day of The Dead photo set by Cindy over at Flickr. Cindy has some lovely work posted there, including a pretty pup or two.

Other Fun Links of Interest:
Halloween Art Guild at Ning

Friday, October 23, 2009

Many New Doggy Pet Portraits

Shar pei / "Mika" ( See All Proofs)

Mika's Original photo was 4MB .... YAY!
Mika's Head was rotated slightly

Beagle/ "Dotty" (See All Proofs)

Lab Mix / "Princess" ( See All Proofs)

A Word About Proofing:
Here at Art Paw I show my clients a variety of proofs to choose from. A few years back when I had to create a web page for each proofing page along with large, small, and thumbnail sized images for each sample I only offered 4 or 5 proofs to review. This was largely due to the time involved in creating the pages. Today we use a service by Smug Mug for proofing and the web production process is much quicker. For this reason I now show around 10 samples. This is far more than most quickie digital service providers will show their customers.
Sometimes I will show even more than 10 if I am not sure what my client wants. Dotty's human had requested pinks and pastels. I am not the queen of pastels and so I experimented creating some new grounds and ended up with around 19 samples for review. Around 12 of those had different background options.


About Art Direction:
I love it when clients do tell me what colors they are wanting to see and I will keep those colors in mind as I am working. I do not allow this information to totally restrict my creativity and will often show something that may be totally not on their list of colors while still showing several proofs that do follow their recipe. On several occasions I have had clients pick deep reds or blues when that was not what they thought they wanted originally.

About Photo Quality:
I know I sound like a broken record, and yet the higher the resolution is and the better quality the original photo is the better the final portrait. Sometimes our subjects are no longer around and clients may be limited on the photos they have to choose from. Keep in mind that I can work from just about any image. All of the images in this post were very workable and fun to play with. I was able to work with an actual photo on Dotty and so I scanned it in really high. Her image quality was stated as "fair" because even scanned at a high resolution she was a bit grainy and lacking in detail. This was not too big of a problem however because her smile and that crazy "fly away ear" totally charmed me and made me eager to paint in additional detail as needed. She was also pretty well lit and that made a positive difference. We have a photo tips page on the site if you are thinking about shooting for a custom pet portrait.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mini Moo Mosaic Cards Are Here!

This last month I ordered a pack of mini-moo business cards for my mosaic life. They came this week and I am pretty pleased with them. I thought they printed a tad bit dark and so if I reorder I will be sure and up my brightness levels a bit before I upload.

I will give the Moo company an A+ on service. I harassed them with an e-mail crabbing (nicely) about a missing delivery when the package was here all the time. They responded very quickly to my e-mails and were very professional.

The mini cards are about half the size of a regular business card and at around .20 each they are a bit pricey. With that said, let me explain the reason that they do rock. You can upload 100 different art images to make up your box of 100 business cards. They are the perfect solution for artists that do not need huge quantities of cards. So while they may be great for my fine art mosaic life where these will last me for awhile, they would not be the best option at Art Paw where we go through 1000 cards every 6 months. They do have some bulk pricing, but it does not compete with traditional services that only let you do one image per card. I may still do a run for Art Paw because with so many dog breeds it would be so cool to send these out when people order reproduction breed prints. You order a Pug print and you get a Puggie business card right? Yes, that would be nice.


Tips for Designing Your Own Mini Moos:

These guys are slim so you will want to crop into the most interesting portion of a piece of art and do some fun close-ups. Print your designs out on your office printer and cut them up before you upload so you know what you are getting. I discovered that a few of my crops were not that interesting after all. I'll design better next time. Do make them maybe 5 % brighter than looks good on your monitor. They do have standard psd templates you can download and if you are not good with image editing tools then you can just upload a photo and do the crops on-line.

Oh, and another word of warning, my pal Manon ordered some standard size Moos and she says people ask her for several when she offers a choice ... they can not choose just one. Hmmm ... maybe they will not last forever after all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier Art

Today I had to create some eyes for Tucker. Shaggy dogs often have dark shadows where eyes should be. Painting these eyes in is rather tricky as you still need to have some hair fluffing in front for it to look natural. I am really happy with how these peepers sparkle.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Shih-Tzu Art Portraits

"Siopao and CoCo" (see all proofs)

Today I am going to post a few old Shih Tzu portraits for Benny "The Tank". Last week he commented that he is surprised he has not seen many Shih Tzus on the blog. We actually rank really high on our site for that keyword however it is not a breed that we get a lot of orders on each year. I had a Shih Tzu growing up. His name was Leechie. He was the sweetest boy.
Some of the images below are close crops so you have to click through to see the old proofing pages.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Become A Fan Of Art Paw at Facebook

Hey guys, I just set up an Art Paw Fan page over at facebook.
Become a fan and get news over at facebook about upcoming sales and events. Just click the badge image below to add me to your favorite FB pages.

Art Paw

Promote Your Page Too


If you are an artist wondering about the whole facebook fan page concept check out what the Art Biz Coach has to say on her blog about the subject.
I am not sure how my fan page will grow and what all I will do with it, but I might as well give it a whirl.

Mosaic Monday/ Alaskan Whale

Alaskan Whale
Originally uploaded by Chris Heisinger
Today's blog post is not a dog and you can not even find a face here. I fell in love with this modern and decorative piece by Chris Heisinger. Click the image to follow through to his flickr page to find more great work from this very talented mosaic artist.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chester The Pug and His Cartoonist Dad

The other day I was using stumble and bumped into a young and fun cartoonist guy and his pug dog Chester. You can find a bunch of old videos of Chester and Drew discussing politics over at
It is all rather absurd and a few of his vids can be a tad pg13, but you can not help but laugh. Drew's main site is

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Party Animal Art Auction is Live!

" Big Tommy"
8 x 8 Canvas Bid Today

Scottish Terrier Art By Rebecca Collins

The Party Animal Art Auction is live. Place your bids and help animal rescue and the terrific group A Place To Bark. All of the proceeds from this auction will go directly to this terrific non-profit group that is saving lives every day.

I have already placed a bid on Jill Beninato's lovely mosaic Boston Terrier and a really handsome Boxer painting by artist Heather LaHaise.
Go ahead ... outbid me, I dare ya, after all, it is all for charity. I will be back before auction end to see what other original works of art I can snag for the office. There is a really lovely piece by my pal Linda O'Neil, Puggie art by Melissa Langer. The list just goes on and on. Click on any of the links in this post to start shopping and then once you are at ebay, look to the right and click on "See Other Items". That will take you to the main listing of all of the art.

Bid Soon ...and Bid Often!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Brio #2 /Belgian Malinois

Brio's project had compositional challenges. The client wanted to see full body and our rectangle size is the 36 x 24, which is the longest, tallest rectangle that we offer. In the bottom sample I have shown the full body and also layered in text about the Belgian Malinois breed, while also including a body silhouette to the top left. By adding these background elements I have taken what could have been overwhelming empty space in the composition and given the eye something else to play with.

Handmade moments are everywhere

Fun little video found over Etsy's Youtube channel. It has an octopus in it so you know I love it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Yellow Lab Art/ Bud

This project was a lot of fun because Bud has such a great smile in this original photo. The snapshot was a tad dark & grainy, but we have stunning eyes and a happy smile so all in all, not a bad photograph. We also were able to scan it in at a really high resolution so that made things nice as well.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Mosaic Monday / In A Dream

I just placed the documentary about artist Isaiah Zagar in my shopping cart at Amazon.
Check out the video clip below and then order your DVD over at Amazon. Over the past four decades, artist Isaiah Zagar has covered more than 50,000 square feet of Philadelphia with stunning mosaic murals. The murals chronicle his love for his wife, Julia, and subtly hint at the darker corners of his extraordinary imagination. IN A DREAM follows the Zagars as their marriage implodes and a harrowing new chapter in their life unfolds. Filmed in stunning high-definition and directed by their son, Jeremiah, IN A DREAM combines beautiful imagery with a fearlessly intimate, utterly captivating portrait of this unique family. Eight years in the making, this documentary has won numerous awards at festivals, including SWSX and Full Frame, and was short-listed for the Academy Awards.

Friday, October 09, 2009

I love Meeting new Clients!

Below "Hank At Home"

I love meeting new portrait clients. Yesterday Hank's Mom dropped by to pick up her project. Hank is a lovely Chesapeake Bay Retriever, and I think my very first one. She arrived at my house with another great client from this last year and we had a lovely visit. Last night she forwarded a shot of her portrait hanging and this rounded out my week in a lovely way. I like that pretty copper colored vase below the artwork, they work very well together. Thanks to Linda for sending us a photo and so quickly! YAY!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Party Animals Auction Starting Soon

The Party Animal's Auction is starting on the 15th so Ladies and Gentlemen ... get ready to place your bids! I will post a link next week when the bidding starts. 100% of the proceeds will benefit a Place to Bark.

So click the image above to download a copy of this flyer, print it out and tack it to your bulletin board. Or better yet. feel free to post to your blog, facebook or other web out post. The more people that know about this the more money we will raise for rescue.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Bella & Gentry

Bella & Gentry ( See all proofs)
I enjoyed this project a lot. The client requested a harlequin background.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Save Money on Pet Portraits

Returning Clients can save 20% on new portrait orders from now until October 15th. Just use the discount code "repeat" when you check out.

New Clients can also save 20% when ordering 2 portraits at once. Just use the code "repeat" when checking out.

We will be running blog promotions each week for the remainder of the month, so be sure and check in on the blog from time to time. Now is the time to order for the holidays. If you wait until November you will not find these great discounts and you may even find that we will have an earlier cut off date depending on actual volume.

To qualify for this discount you have to either order 2 portraits at once or be a returning custom pet portrait client. This offer does not apply to gift shop items, only custom portraits. These savings can not be combined with any other offers.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Mosaic Monday/ Best In Show

16 x 20x 2
© Rebecca Collins

I am reposting my own mosaic work today in order to share some exciting news. My Beetle mosaic from last month recently took best in show at the members show for the Dallas Creative Arts Center. The exhibit is an eclectic mix of painting, mosaics, and 3-d projects. The show is called "Unleashed" and is at the Mary Thomas Studio Gallery. It will run until October 17th, and there will be a closing reception on the 17th 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
1080 Bldg. at 1110 Dragon Street
Dallas Texas 75207.

I was really honored just to be included in the show, and when I saw a ribbon next to my piece my jaw really hit the floor. I feel really validated with this award. My mosaic work and style is sort of untraditional among mosaic artists. I am really more of a mixed media artist using my computer, collage elements (created in photoshop) and glass to create works that I feared could be seen as too crafty for the fine art world and too mixed media-ish for the fine craft mosaic word. With this recognition I have decided it is time to put those worries to rest and just keep playing.

You can see more of my mosaic work over at

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Brio New Pet Portrait

This pretty pup is Brio. He is one of a few projects I have going this week.