Friday, February 26, 2010

New Cat Art

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

This handsome kitty is Cooper. He  has been approved and he  will ship early next week.  He had a great photo to start with. I love it when we get in well shot cat photographs.

Today when Lola gets in we are going to play around with some mixed media collage ideas I have. We may have some fun new goodies next week to add to Etsy. Have a great weekend everyone. If you are someplace where spring is happening get outside and enjoy it!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Team Up Thursday

Left © Rebecca Collins  • Right © Kris Hundt

This week's theme was "self portraits". Mine is on left and my friend's Kris is on right.

Doing a self portrait was hard, and I could have explored it further I think. I messed around in photoshop with mine, I figure it would not be me if I did not alter it in some way. My favorite part on mine is the goofy and trite little photoshop "star-burst" brush that I used at the rim of the camera lens... you may have to click to see the larger version to catch it. The brush is generally over-used and usually not used well out there in the world. On Kris' portrait I like how she got the effect of a fish eye or wide angle lens by shooting into a chrome thing ( anyway guessing that is what she did).  The Diptych works well with the white lights giving it a flow.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Montana The Cocker Spaniel

© rebecca collins /

This week I have been working on a few projects including this pretty Cocker Spaniel named Montana. The original photo was a tad bit low in resolution and lacking in detail. I am really happy with the color and detail I was able to paint in using the wacom tablet.  If you click the image below you will get a sense of the line work and color that was added.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mosaic Monday/ Dachshund

Originally uploaded by
I love the pattern on this little fellow, and on his background. I ran across the wonderful work of Gretchen McPherson this morning on Flickr. She combines materials in a fun way to create rich ornate mosaics.  Her subjects include fish, birds, dogs, gnomes, mermaids  and she even has some stunning abstracts.

 You can click the image to check out Gretchen's photo stream over at Flickr or go directly to her main site:

Friday, February 19, 2010

New Rottweiler Art

"Kodi" ( See all Proofs)
© Rebecca Collins /

This is Kodi. As you can see from the two pics above he was a happy handsome boy. Sadly he is no longer with his humans so I had to work with available photos. The images provided were a tad lacking in detail and the one with severe glow eyes had the best smile. So I ended up using both images.  With a little verbal direction from my client I painted in his little subtle moustache during  a quick revision proof and this portrait is now ready to print and ship next Tuesday. I am really happy with how he turned out and can't wait to see him printed.

Take some great photos of your pets this weekend everyone! They are with us such a short time. Be sure and get some terrific photographs. Then once you have your images on your hard drive ... print a few out, stick them in an old shoe box or in an old time photo album.  I think that is what I am going to do this weekend ... print a few snapshots. Way too many of my great digital pet snapshots have never been printed out... I really need to fix that.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Team Up Thursday/ The number 9

"The Number 9 "
top image © Kris Hundt, bottom image © Rebecca Collins

My 2nd shoot for Team Up Thursdays. My image is the bottom shot, Kris Hundt shot the cool distressed "9".  If you want to find a partner and take part in Team-Up Thursdays skip on over to Flickr and check out the group.

The Number Nine: 
"Revolution 9" is a recorded composition that appeared on The Beatles 1968 self titled LP release  (popularly known as "The White Album").

There are both nine circles of Hell and nine spheres of Heaven in Dante's Inferno.

In Greek mythology, there were 9 muses, responsible for creation of the arts by way of inspiration. They were the daughters of Zeus, king of the gods.  

Friday I will post some recent dog art projects. I hope you guys are enjoying the mix on the blog lately. I have really enjoyed having guest bloggers and hope to continue with that. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Letting go of old Passions

Today guest blogger Kathy Weller talks to us about letting go of a creative passion that possibly no longer fits. Kathy is a disciplined artist that has the grit and determination to succeed at anything she sets her mind to, and her successes are many.  Recently she discovered she also has the strength to say goodbye to one love and let one creative pursuit go to make room for more. I asked Kathy to talk today about her decision to put the breaks on her pet portraiture business....

 Petamorphosis: My journey into, and out of, pet portraiture
by Kathy Weller

I started doing pet portraits in late 2004. Choosing pet portraits as an independent creative business hit so many important areas of growth for me - areas that I wanted to really push hard. Pet portraiture hit them all. It was a match made in heaven. And I did push hard. I pushed really hard. I did not even know I had such ambition and drive before I decided to do pet portraits. But I found that it was there, lying dormant, waiting for a context to live within.

© Kathy Weller

With pet portraiture, the dam broke. The dam held a lot of my long-held dreams and hopes to find a special and unique outlet for my art. I have always been an artist, and a pet lover too—but I haven't always been so good at all the other skills necessary to turn your art into a business. Once I began to gain knowledge in the areas that were important for the growth of my pet portrait business, I learned how much more capable I was in many other areas. Learning business and marketing fueled my self-confidence. Creating the portraits sharpened my technical drawing skills, maybe more intensely and consistently than any class I've ever taken. Communicating with clients, especially clients of emotionally-faceted custom work, turned me into a customer service guru. And doing everything on my own (no buck-passing!) proved how resourceful I could be.

© Kathy Weller

Doing portraits was great, and so exciting. I was thrilled with my new business! I had my own 'thing' - something I built myself, something that was unique and was focused on animals, which I loved. It was perfect! Then, after the first couple of years, I discovered that the business model I'd built my house on might not be conducive to a lot of growth. There were only so many portraits I could complete in a given time frame, and, while I did revise my prices several times during my tenure, there was a sort of 'invisible ceiling' that I really didn't think I could break without pricing myself out of the market. Aside from everything else, I was also starting to feel creatively confined. While I had initially set out to "learn-by-doing", I started to notice a few side-effects, some of which I wasn't completely prepared for. When I noticed my work was growing far more technically tight, I worried what the catalyst was for that change: Was the change due to the natural progression of my skills, or had I molded into this new 'shape' partially due to client feedback? Regardless, it was clear that I had begun to grow too close to the creative template I'd set. And, unfortunately by that point, it was really set in cement. Maybe not through an objective lens, but I could not see past my nose. I didn't know how to change it, if I even wanted to change it, or how I would change it, if I could. Where pet portraits were concerned, I was having trouble defining, or feeling like I was holding on to, my own artistic voice apart from the "custom" part of the "custom pet portraits" style I'd so carefully crafted. It seemed that I could not see the forest from the trees any more. This was something I did not plan for.
© Kathy Weller

I started to mix it up with some other creative work, in addition to my portraits. This helped my perspective a great deal. It also took some of my time away from doing portraits. I did not mind; the change felt good and I was so proud of the new roads I was traveling. As my confidence grew, so did my goals. I finally felt like I had a real compass for my creative career, plus the business skills to back it up. After all, the 'business' part was already set up.
© Kathy Weller

My compass grew ever larger: I got a job to illustrate a children's picture book, which led to a partnership with an agent, which led to more children's work and a new career in children's. Now a career in children's was something I'd always wanted, pined for, even- for years and years. But I never knew if I could, or would, accomplish it. Now that this myth had been effectively - and thrillingly - shattered to pieces, my goals grew bigger and I grew more confident in my ability to accomplish them. At this point, it was clear to me that my pet portrait business was just not built to contain this tornado I'd started.

© Kathy Weller

After much thought, I'd established a truth with myself: if I was going to continue with pet portraits, there were some fundamental things that needed fixing. One of those things was that it would have to be a completely new and more flexible model, because my current one was just as tightly rendered as my portraits were. After much deliberation, "what if" scenarios and various theories outlined and discussed at length, the only real, viable answer to the problem was that I needed a clean break. There was no way around it.

I knew this for some time before I actually acted on it. It took me time to accept this and to move forward. In fact, I didn't actually move forward until things got to the point where continuing on with pet portraits was actually hindering my time and energy I wanted to spend on other goals I so desperately wanted to pursue. It was hard to let go, and scary, too. Pet portraiture was so much more to me than the catalyst for 'Business 101'. Obviously I am a huge pet lover and parent, and having something of value to help out animal advocate organizations was an important and positive element in choosing the business to begin with. Portraiture also opened me up to a warm, generous community of other pet artists, pet lovers and pet parents. (Hey, these were 'my people'!) Not only that, but after awhile, my pet work informed my artistic identity - especially externally. I became known for my pet portraits and during my tenure, I got a good amount of press featuring my work. All told, closing up shop was not at all an easy thing. Saying good-bye to my pet portrait artist identity and all that came with being an active part of the pet portraitist community was just as hard as hanging up the portraits themselves.

I probably waited a little longer than I should have before quitting. But, in the end, it's a good thing that I took the extra time. When I look at the portraits I completed during and after my decision, they take my breath away. I experienced an incredible sense of freedom and ease and, by extension, had more fun working on the last few portraits than I had in a long time. I guess it should not be a surprise that my work on these portraits is among my most technically proficient as well. In hindsight, the worries I had during my pet portrait creative identity crisis were, ultimately, all for naught. I see now that I was just experiencing artistic growing pains, but within a situation and a context that was, at the time, unchartered territory. I wasn't seeing the forest for the trees. I see now that a little distance can do wonders. In the end, I am proud to have ended my portrait work on a high note in every way.

For more of my pet portrait writings, please see the following links.

Why I Chose Pet Portraiture Part 1

Why I Chose Pet Portraiture Part 2

Posts all about my last custom portrait (several with musings on leaving pet portraiture)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Passion for Business and Art

Ok, so this is the month I am supposed to be writing, and writing about passion. I did a softball toss earlier this month about a passion for Scotties ... but you guys all know I am nuts about my pups.  Today I want to talk about my own personal passion for business. I know ... I can hear some of you yawning already. If you are an artist reading this please stay with me on this.  If you want to make a living at art you have to develop a true passion for business and see the unlimited possibility in that arena for creative expression.

I will admit that I am very lucky because selling comes easy for me. When I was a little girl we played games that we created ( no video games back then ). Anyone over 30 will remember the adult world games we would play out as kids ... for boys it was war and Cowboys & Indians ...  for little girls it was house, ballerina, school teacher, and my favorite "store".  Yep, I loved pretending to run a store and sell things. I think I even had a toy cash register.  So I think selling is in my genes, playing house ... not so much so.
Yep ... that is me in the center ...  right behind the "toll sign" 
We were charging 50 cents to enter the drive way.

I spent a lot of years after college behind a register selling other people's things. I had the typical jobs for a 20 something gal with a fine arts degree ... I sold clothes, fine jewelry and even plants. My favorite jobs were in the area of visual merchandising and I had the pleasure of using my creative skills to sell high end luxury items for Neiman Marcus and plastic containers for the Container store.  Yep for about a decade I sold a lot of "stuff"  that had no real meaning to me. I did learn how to organize stuff at The Container Store though and that is invaluable.  In the early 90's my Mom died at the age of 54, I realized life was short and I started working for myself and I have never looked back.

If you think selling yourself and your artwork is hard try standing at a jewelry counter for 8 hours a day in pantyhose and heels.  That my friends is hard work.  So no more whining about how hard it is to sell yourself people! Get out there and do it, the alternative is just no fun ... I have been there and done that.

If the concept of "selling" is just too crass or intimidating for you then please take a tip from Alyson Stanfield and think of it as "sharing" your art with others. I am going to quote her here because this sentence is just flawless: "Until you are excited about sharing your art, how can you expect us to be overly eager about looking at it or buying it?".  Ms. Stanfield has a  spot on post about "shameless self promotion" this month on her blog, please go check it out.

So there is my deep "shameless" confession for the month ... I am passionate about business! I love art and it feeds my soul. Business, well it feeds my belly.

Yay! We made Moira's Top 10 List

Find the best blogs at

Thanks to Moira over at Dog Art Today for including us in her Top 10 Dog Art Blogs List for We are very very honored to be in such good company.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mosaic Monday / A late post

Ok so it is a little late in the day here. I had to post on the contest this a.m. and now as the evening is closing in around me I realize maybe I can still do a quick Mosaic Monday post. No doggy mosaics today however. I am going to share some of my own work in progress. The husband is at a writing class tonight so I am grouting some mini-mosaics of robots that I finished glassing in this weekend.

Grouting is such a messy process, but I love it. I wear purple gloves and still manage to get my right index finger solid black with grout.  Nasty, nasty, but I love to get dirty with art. 

I'll paint the edges of these 3 bots and then shoot them properly outside tomorrow. Sorry for the ugly flash shots.

 This romantic little fellow is my favorite from this grouping.  There is random text behind the glass and my favorite line is "robots must reproduce".  Yea, good luck with that.

Ok so what's next? Well .... for now more robots of course.

This roundish fellow has been laid out ... no gluing just yet ( the wood still has it's shrink wrap ). I will take his photograph into photoshop and create a digital collage with it and that will be the foundation or background for the piece. Then I will paint on top of that print and glue it to my board ... then comes the glass.  I love using the computer, paint, and traditional mosaic techniques in my work. I feel it sets my art apart from other work that is out there.

I have uploaded one little robot to Etsy this week and he is available for only $65. Click here to see my Tiny Warrior.  Some of my new mini-robots will be priced as low as $45 and some will top out at around $85 I think.  I am still working on pricing with these guys. In reality I think they will vary in price not according to size but according to my personal fondness for each piece. There you have it ... in my spare time I am making robots ... and falling in love with a few of them.  They are "cute" and sometimes cute is an ok word, but I don't have to tell you guys that .... your dog lovers after all.

We Have A Winner!




And the contest winner is ..............  Christine from New England. We have a few Christines entered so just to be clear the name drawn is Sheba,  Suki, and Shorty's Mom.  Thanks to everyone that left me such great comments and tips to stay warm. We have our power back and the sun is even shining today.

Christine from New England can claim her 5x7 or 8x10 print by visiting our Etsy shop ... choose your desired print ( valued at $24.99 or less) and then send me a message through Etsy or e-mail me at I'll need your shipping address.  You have until Friday to respond. If I do not hear from you I will draw another winner on Friday.  Thanks everybody! I enjoyed ready your comments so much ... they warmed my heart and even helped my cold feet.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day Everyone!
The artwork above is of Sabu and I thought it nailed the colors of the day.

Lately I have been trying to share a little more about my life and make this blog more personal. So on that note and in the spirit of Valentines day I will share my love story, as written by my wonderful husband Dan Collins.  You can click on the text below to enlarge.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Melt Down

Well we are starting to thaw out today. All of our record breaking snowfall will be turning to brown slush this afternoon. I finally have my power back on and will probably be working this weekend.  Thanks to everyone that left me a comment yesterday on how to keep warm. The contest is still open for the drawing for an item from my Etsy shop.  Just leave a comment on yesterday's post to enter.

Thanks to Moira from Dog Art Today for including the Art Dog Blog in her top 10 list of dog art blogs.  YAY! I am very honored. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

Contest/ Win a Free Print From My Etsy Shop

This morning I am sitting in the dark with only 90% power on my laptop then when it plays out I will be really in the dark. We woke at 5:00 a.m. to no power. The snow has damaged some power lines I guess.

I figure what better thing to do than have a contest on my blog.  Leave a comment here ... say hi, tell me what you would do to stay warm and your comment enters you in the drawing for a free print from my Etsy Shop. Choose from reproduction prints of posing pugs, handsome labs, sweet kitties, wylie westies, sweet scotties, beautiful bulldogs and more. We even have octopus prints. This last month we have been working hard to update the shop and we have more than 100 items for sale.

THE DETAILS:  The drawing is for either an 8 x 10 or 5 x 7 print from my Etsy shop. Value of $24.99 or less. This does not include custom work. I will draw on Monday and post the results here. You have to check back on Monday to claim your prize! You can leave a  comment from now until Sunday evening.

Thanks for stopping by! Stay warm everyone and have a great Valentines day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Love / Team Up Thursday

Originally uploaded by KrisHundt
I have joined a group on Flickr called Team up Thursday. You partner with someone and shoot within a theme then create a diptych to post on Thursday. My image is the loved-out dog toy and Kris Hundt's image is the slick heart. I love the contrast of textures. This will be a good group for me. Kris is a professional photographer and I can see now that I am going to be striving to get much better shots knowing that they will be next to hers. You can find her work at

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Passion For Blogging

Today's guest blogger is Manon Doyle. Some of you may remember Manon from an interview I did with her last year. I asked Manon to be my first guest blogger because her blog is a great example of one that exhibits a great deal of passion for both art and life. You can learn more about Manon on her blog or at her main site

© Manon Doyle

When Rebecca asked me to be a guest blogger I was a little hesitant. I'm always worried about what to write about on my own blog so I wondered what the heck I was going to say on hers. She explained that I could talk about passion or whatever I felt like. "Great", I thought. I can do passion.

I've had a lifelong affair with art but I've recently developed a passion for blogging. I can't even remember why I started blogging. It was probably because I felt a little isolated as an artist and thought I could meet with like minded individuals. I had to be honest with myself early on that writing wasn't my strong suit so I decided to write in my own voice. The way I write is the way I speak ... yikes! "Be yourself" was my motto and with that I began to love blogging.

© Manon Doyle

I didn't have many readers for a long time but it really didn't matter because I was entertaining myself and I love to be entertained ... lol ... even if I'm the one making myself laugh.

Most of the posts were initially about art but then my feelings and normal every day things started creeping in. Yup ... you may be a little sick of my feet and those Sun Chips but I have this need to mix things up.

© Manon Doyle

Anyway.... I think for me the biggest thing is laughter. Anyone that visits can laugh with me or at me ... lol... and that's more than ok! A little art, a little laughter and a whole lot of passion for life. That's what I want my blog to be!

Thank you Rebecca, my friend for having me here today! I truly appreciate it!

- Manon Doyle 

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

New Dog Art Work In Progress

"Olivia and Phoebe"
© 2010 Rebecca Collins

Working on new artwork. We are busy busy busy this week. Above we have a Portuguese Water dog named Olivia and a cute little Bichon named Phoebe. I am excited because tomorrow I will have my first guest blogger. I better get back to smushing pixels around.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Mosaic Studio jars of Colour

This is not my studio ... it is a rainy grey day and I am dreaming about designing a lovely space to work on my mosaics and store my materials. I found this great shot of an organized mosaic studio over at flickr. If you do a search over there for artist studio, glass studio, and mosaic studio you will find some very inspiring creative spaces. If you have pics on your blog of your studio please leave me a link so I can can visit your warm studio on this rainy cold day.

The studio above belongs to Looby Ruby, you can click through on the photo to see her flickr stream.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Red Hot Poker

Red Hot Poker #1
Originally uploaded by artpaw
Hmmm, so how is that for a blog title?
I am so ready for spring. This morning I have been revisiting some macro shots I did a couple of years ago when I first got my slr digital camera. I love photography and include it on my list of minor or part time passions. I have not been shooting on a regular basis and I miss it. I find when I am using my camera every day I start seeing the world differently and noticing everything around me. Today I am off to an Art Fair, but I think Sunday I will get the camera out and take some photos.

What about you? What part time passions have you been neglecting?

Friday, February 05, 2010

Pixel With Flowers

Originally uploaded by artpaw
This is an old painting I did of my little girl Pixel. She had a rough night last night and had a minor seizure. It is the 2nd we know of. Poor baby. She is doing just fine now. We had hoped that the first one last year would be an isolated incident. I just hope they remain far and few between.

I'm sort of tired today due to last night's 3:00 a.m. drama. Looking forward to turning in early tonight and sleeping in a pile with the dogs. Sleeping in a pile ... that is one of our new favorite phrases from the movie " Where The Wild Things Are" .

Everyone have a great weekend. Next week we will have a guest blogger and I am eager to mix things up on the blog.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Behind the Scenes at Art Paw

Today we packaged and shipped prints. I got my little flip camera out and played around with capturing Lola as she worked. She is usually out in another building to do the shipping, but it only has little space heaters and it was so wet and cold today we both agreed she should hang out in the main house with me today. I am going to start doing more little quick behind the scenes videos this spring and post them on our fan page over at Face Book ... so be sure and become a fan over there.

Be sure and turn your volume up so you can hear the crazy crows squawking at Lola as she loads up the jeep with boxes towards the end.

New Kitty Cat Portrait

"Maya and Sidda" ( see all proofs)  
© 2010 rebecca collins /
In the original photo above you will see that Maya to our left is missing some ear tips. I used both the clone tool and the paint & smudge tool to correct that. These two lounging felines were a lot of fun to play with. I also opened up that eye to our far left. The eyes in this original photograph were actually pretty great. Kitty eyes are so hard to capture because they are so large, flash photography will often leave you with glowing yellow orbs.  I always tell people to try to shoot without flash and just flood the room with natural light.  This original photo had minor challenges and all in all was a very high quality image to work with.  This project is ready to be picked up however it is such a rainy icky day I think I will encourage my client to pick up on Friday.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Stella The Bulldog WIP

Today I am working on Stella the Bulldog and a few other projects that still need proofing. Stella is looking good, but I need to add some more brush strokes and play around with color a bit more.  This pup's photo was high res. and rich in detail.

We are also printing a few approved projects today and later this week I will have some new kitty cat art to share with you guys.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A Passion For Scottish Terriers!

Ok so I guess there is no better place to start writing about passion than with those 4 legged babies that keep me company in the studio. I have 3 Scotties and I adore them. Tommy is our Alpha and the most photogenic so of course you hear about him the most. Ajax is the lover-boy pookie and Pixel, well that Pixel is our stand-offish little female and I love her dearly. I love all pets and all types of dogs and cats, yet I am very lucky to have found a man that has brought the Scottish Terrier into my world. I would never have gone out as a single cat woman and sought out a specific type of dog. If I decided after living with kitties for over 25 years that I needed a "dog" I would have just waited for some sort of pup to find me, and I guess that is exactly what happened. Atticus was my first pup as an adult and the boy that inspired Art Paw. You can read way more than you could ever need to know about the Scotties in our Mascottie section on the website.

My Fashionable Scotts: No simple plaid will do for these pups...

One of the best parts about running a pet portraiture business is all the cool people you meet and all the terrific business and art pals you make. The adorable sweaters below are by Melissa Langer of Pug Notes. They are so thick and rich and soft ... not at all like the off-the-rack stuff you find in stores. Yes, they are spoiled rotten, what can I say.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Mosaic Monday/ Passion

Stained Glass Heart From ArtsyPhartsy over at Etsy
( This heart was purchased today .... by me)

Well here we are at Feb 1. and I decided what better topic for this month than passion. I want to talk about how to stay passionate about your artwork this month and discuss some of my minor passions along with the ones that never leave me. I am going to try and line up a few guest bloggers and mix things up a bit. As most of you know mosaics are one of my major passions. I figured out long ago that I would not be able to create a new mosaic every week since the process is shall we say a little time intensive. So I decided to try and blog every monday about other people's mosaics. I usually try to cover animal mosaics, but today in the spirit of love and passion I will showcase some terrific hearts that I found over at Etsy. I have already purchased mine!  You better hurry and get yours while they last.
Mosaic Heart Mirror Flame  by Raquel Stanek 
$75 at Etsy 
Heart With Love by Gila Mosaics
$24 at Etsy 
Heart Of Stone Mosaic by sooz1 
$12.00 at Etsy 
 Pattern Mosaic Heart Ornament by mjalexander386
$7.50 at Etsy 

Below are some of my favorite things from Etsy
Buy Handmade