Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Odd Crop For Penny

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

When clients order a custom pet portrait with me they usually expect to see their entire pet on the canvas, and so I am always sure to provide a few proofs that show at least full head and shoulders. Every now and then I get a breed in or a specific pet that is begging to have some unusual cropping attempted.  Because Jack Russell's are so high energy, smart and tricky I thought it might be fun to show this girl coming into or maybe about to leave the canvas frame. I recall a Great Pyrenees named Max that I cropped because in my opinion that breed was just too darn large to be contained within the confines of a square canvas.  

Anyway, this pretty girl is Penny and this is a follow up post to Zeb below.  It makes me very sad to think about her dealing with the loss of her pal. Often times when we loose an animal family member  we can get so caught up in dealing with our own grief that we can loose sight of how it can effect the other animals in the house. We ended up adopting Ajax before we were emotionally ready after loosing our Atticus .  With the arrival of Ajax we saw an immediate change in Nessie who had been grieving pretty hard, she needed that puppy so bad and it made her final year with us a joyful one.  Our heart goes out to Penny and her family.  Her Dad tells me she found them when they weren't looking and it is our hope that Zeb or Vanity will send them another great pup when the time is right.

Sweet Zeb

"Zeb ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /

This is Zeb. He is a sweet Shar Pei that recently passed over to the rainbow bridge. This is a project for a client that had us do some artwork of another Shar Pei named Vanity back in 08.  You may recall Vanity from our client gallery where we have a nice home shot of Vanity admiring Vanity.

About this artwork:
The client asked for a green ground that would blend well with Vanity's artwork. I have sampled the client with many shades of olive green and a few surprises as well.  The pattern sample above is brand new and I love that background however I do not like it at all with Zeb, because it is a bit busy and Zeb looks like he is meditating here ... the crazy zig-zag pattern sort of spoils the peaceful mood. I went ahead and kept it in the mix because it may actually be fun for a 2nd project we have going for Zeb's sister Penny ... a high energy Jack Russell.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dogs In Sunglasses

© rebecca collins / ( see all proofs)

Over the years we have created custom pet portraits of many pups in shades. This cute little pup is Negillta. This snapshot and artwork makes me ready for summer!

Busy busy day, busy week ahead. Getting caught up on organizing new commissions that have come in and I am eager to finish out March.  My apologies to Mosaic Monday fans ...  I'll get back to my regular blogging  schedule next week.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mosaic Octopus Wip

Mosaic Octopus Wip
Originally uploaded by artpaw
quick process video I did of an octopus mosaic piece that I get to play with later today.

Friday, March 26, 2010

New Poodle Art

© rebecca collins /

This is Jake, and I just adore this handsome poodle. He is one of several projects I worked on this week. His human was a lot of fun to work with and I can't wait to do her red headed poodle puppy next.

I seem to be pretty busy and it has been a rough week. That is ok though.  The one thing that has remained constant in my 12 years in business is change. When I first started I was doing more Master Paw Prints and Warhols, it took me years to develop my painterly style of working and it is still evolving.  For many years I provided 4 proofs for review, in fact I think it still states that on our faq section. Today clients get a minimum of 10 proofs to choose from and often even more than that. I have had years where I worked totally alone and then years where I had a staff of 4 or 5 part time artists, today I am getting by with one very talented assistant. So yes lots of change. One thing has not changed though, and that is how great my clients are ... yes ... even the fussy ones that run me totally ragged. I am really fortunate to have a terrific group of clients that return year after year for more portraits, and they spread the word about Art Paw. So when I get stressed out or bogged down with half a dozen projects needing revisions, I just have to remind myself that I do have the best job on the planet and the best clients ever. After all, Art Paw is all about celebrating our love for our pets, and what can be better than that?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Totem Pole Face

Totem Pole Face
Originally uploaded by edgeplot
I am over at Flickr this afternoon studying Totem poles. I have a client and friend that has asked me to take 3 cats, a horse & a rooster and create a work of art with them stacked in totem pole fashion. This should be fun and challenging.  I love the colors on the totem face shown here.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Robot Sketches

square head robot
Originally uploaded by artpaw
A late night and I am sketching robots, Cohen playing on Rhapsody player .Tomorrow I will get some art updates done for a few patient clients.

Mosaic Monday / Kitty Cats

Check out this fun collection of mosaic felines by Christine Brallier. Christine is a talented artist that creates stunning mosaics that include all sorts of subject matter. I think her cat mosaics are hands down some of her most playful works. She has a terrific ability to create balanced compositions that flow and keep your eye moving.

Christine is a flickr pal and she is very supportive in that on-line community, always eager to help and encourage other people working in mosaics. Click through on the image above and visit her flickr stream to see more of her artwork. Or you can also find her at

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Me & Tommy in 07

Me & Tommy
Originally uploaded by artpaw
It is a cold wet day here in Dallas and I am dreaming of the beach. This was shot back in 07 before hurricane Ike wiped out Galveston Island. I want to go back soon and stay in a newly rebuilt beach house.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Macro for Team Up Thursday

My image is to the left and Kris Hundt's shot is to the right. I enjoyed getting outside with the Macro lens. Boy my eye sight has gone down hill from the last time I shot macros. Manual focus was tough.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Lucia/ New Chihuahua art

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

Today I proofed Lucia. This pretty little Chihuahua was a lot of fun to work on. At 88k the original photo was pretty low in resolution. I did several things to improve upon the original photograph before I even started painting. The first thing I addressed were the shadows and highlights in the photo and the lack of detail in the eye to our left. I brightened the eyes and opened them up just a tad wider.  Then I rotated the head just a little bit to get a fun playful expression.

You can click the image above to see the detail in the changes made. Below you will see a bright bold proofing option and then below that a more tame version with natural coat coloring.

 © rebecca collins/

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Drawing Game

So this weekend we went to see Alice in Wonderland ... yes it was fab, we arrived at the theater a little too early, like 45 minutes too early. We did not have time to really go anywhere and get back in time for the movie so we sat in the car on a sunny spring afternoon. I was with my husband and he is an artist too so I grabbed the sketch book out of the backseat and said lets play a game where we take turns sketching whatever the other person tells us to draw.  Each person had 5 minutes to sketch out whatever they were told to draw. After sketching each other, the cars in the lot and the theater itself we got bored and decided to come up with imaginative fantasy prompts. His first silly prompt for me was a turtle riding on the back of a giraffe. If you look closely you will see I gave him goggles. These are pretty fast sketches and all we had to work with was a dumb mechanical pencil, so please don't judge our drawing abilities too harshly.  This looks a lot like something I would have done when I was 10 years old.

I told him to draw a monkey parachuting from the sky to some target that he chooses... he chose the Chrysler building in New York.

 Then the last sketch I did before we went in to the movie was a drawing of my fantasy church that I want to buy to convert into a gallery and artist studio. If you look to the bottom right you will see a Scottie behind a fence.  I really do have a fantasy about having an old church with tons of space and classrooms that could be converted into art labs, I looked on-line and found some cool places for sale... the best ones were out of our price range.  Neither Dan or I are overly religious, and yet there is something very appealing about the idea of converting a church into an art studio ... either that or an old fire station might be quite nice to live in.

Anyway ... if you ever need to kill an hour while waiting someplace you might try the drawing game ... the prompts are fun to come up with.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Mosaic Monday / White Owl-sold

White Owl-sold
Originally uploaded by Victor Nunnally
I love this charming owl by Victor Nunnally. Click through on the image to see more of Victor's work over at Flickr. You will find large cats, dragon flies and more. This piece is an excellent example of his intricate yet loose style. I love the feathers on this piece, each piece of glass fits together like a perfect puzzle. The color work in the background here is loose and fun. I spoke awhile back about achieving a loose fresh quality in mosaics and how tough that can be. Victor combines a wide variety of shapes in his work and seems to have an intuitive approach to color. I think it is a combination of both the cuts and the color that makes his work seem so fresh.

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Doberman Pinscher Art

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

I love this handsome pup. Theo is an important memorial project. I fell in love with this sweet Doberman's original photos. The white on the face is so pretty and so unique.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Winston the Traveling Lab

© rebecca collins /

Working hard today to get caught up on pet portraits. If you are waiting on a proofing set please hang tight for just a couple more days. We have a lot of new projects in-house and I don't want to hurry through anybody's artwork.   I am really liking this traveling black lab.  I rotated his head slightly and now I am playing around with color and layout.

Team Up Thursday/ Relax

The theme for today was relax. I love Kris Hundt's image to the right.  I tried to capture Ajax relaxing in the sun.  I like how the shadows from the shade are echoed in the pattern on the yoga top to the right. Both images have a living subject, but neither show us eyes. Both images have ample space above the figure. Kris's image is so stunning though it makes me want to reshoot in black and white.  Oh well, she is a pro after all.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why I don't do Logos

I don't do logo design work because ... well because it is just too darn hard.

Every year I get a handful of requests from pet oriented business owners and small rescue groups wanting me to create a custom logo using my painting style on their pooch or other animal. I am always very flattered and yet I always decline because logos are such an important part of a company's identity and it is so hard to get it just right. I also tend to discourage detailed painterly or photographic images as logo subjects because they do not translate well on every item that a logo has to go on ....  business card, web banner, letterhead, signage and so on.  Take a moment and  imagine a stunning colorful painting of a sneaker, now imagine that on a business card, and now think about the "Nike Swoosh logo" ... which image is going to be more easily remembered?  Most designers will agree that a bold graphic iconic image like the Nike swoosh will be much more effective than a very pretty painting of a shoe.

I have designed and redesigned my own logo a few times in the last 11 years. I have finally created a design I am very happy with, but it took several tries.  My own logo is a combination of text and a graphic stylized paw.  I like it so much I went ahead and paid the money to register it.  I could have tried to create a logo that incorporated our company mascot Atticus, but it would have been a bit busy and it also would have been dog specific, which would distance our cat lovers and it would have been breed specific as well, not appealing to dog lovers with other types of canines.

Here is a quick list of tips when considering a new logo design:

#1 Try to find someone that has a few years under their belt as a professional graphic designer. A professional designer will know how to create a logo that will work well for your personal brand and identity. 
#2 If you are a small business owner and on a budget it is ok to work with young designers trying to build up a portfolio but do try to stick with individuals that have an education in graphic design.
#3 Figure out a budget for your project and try not to be too tight with the purse strings because this single element of your brand is going to be with you for a long time if it is done correctly.  A good logo is worth every penny you pay for it.
#4 If you want to incorporate your pet into your business branding consider using them as a mascot but keep that separate from your actual text logo. A good example of that is Cesar brand pet food. They use a Westie in all their advertising and packaging however  their actual "logo" is simply text.

In closing I offer a link to a terrific little design studio that caters to the pet industry ... check out Sniff Design, and tell them Art Paw sent you.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

More New Pet Portraits

© rebecca collins /

I liked the pink and red so much in yesterday's artwork of Paisley I decided to try it on this handsome guy named Max.  The client chose an orange ground and we will be sending this one as their complimentary mini-print.  Max is getting stretched today and will ship on Weds.

"Tanuki: ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /

This stunning blue eyed ragdoll cat was proofed today and her brother, an adorable little Frenchie named Gizmo will be proofed tomorrow.  I also have some lovely greyhounds that I need to finish up.  We are suddenly very busy here at Art Paw ... that is good.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Paisley The Doxie

© rebecca collins /

This afternoon I am working on a few project updates. This is Paisley the Dachshund. The original proofing options had a pretty ordinary blanket thing happening for a ground and the client asked me to jazz it up some how. I really love this option and feel it is quite different from anything I have done before. The  red & pink combo is a bit out of character for me, but I am loving it.

Mosaic Monday

Originally uploaded by artpaw
This is the ground work for a new mosaic I am starting on this week. It is for an upcoming show here in Dallas.

The show is all about Mermaids & Octopus. Anyone in Texas is encouraged to enter by April 15th. 
 You can download a prospectus on-line at:

Friday, March 05, 2010

Pug And Boston Mixed Media

"Pug Stare" 5x7 mixed media collage
© rebecca collins purchase at Etsy

Maybe I have been reading too many Stampington magazines on journaling & mixed media, or maybe it is just spring ... all I know is this month I have been longing to mix things up with a little mixed media collage work. Yesterday Lola and I created these fun 5x7 mixed media collages by combining her sewing skills and my digital collage work. We both played around with painting iridescent ink on top. The top image is printed on canvas and the bottom artwork is on a high quality epson presentation paper. The text at the bottom of each talks about the breed. We are also working on Doxies and bulldogs. Next week we hope to introduce a few more breeds to the shop.

These are being created in small signed editions of 25 so once they are gone they are gone. I have priced them low at $18.99 and as always they ship with some sort of free goody such as a bookmark.

 "Sweet Daisy" 5x7 mixed media
© rebecca collins Purchase at Etsy

"Nikki" 5x7 mixed media
© rebecca collins Purchase at Etsy

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Matisse in a Warhol Style Portrait

This is little Miss Matisse next to her recent custom Warhol styled portrait. She seems rather relaxed about the whole thing. Thanks to Kathy for this 2nd order and for sending us this great in-home shot. 

Walk for Team Up Thursday

Walk for Team Up Thursday
Originally uploaded by artpaw
Discipline... it is that thing we grasp for as artists when we are feeling uninspired. I have been doing a fun creative photography exercise each week with a friend. I was uninspired with this week's theme ( Walk ) and my partner in the group was sick, not getting her image done until this morning. So I think we both could have skipped this week...but we did not... discipline seems easier when we know someone else is counting on us. So if you are an artist reading this ask yourself wich creative areas in your life are needing some discipline ... blogging, painting, sketching? Now ask yourself who besides yourself are you letting down by not following through? You might be surprised if you really think about it how many people count on you for your creativity.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Monkey Finalized

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

Monkey's proofing set has been uploaded. I really love this pup. I like the asymmetrical crop, but I have some other layout options within the proofing set.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Monkey In Progress

This cutie pie is named Monkey. I have started smudging pixels and playing with that crazy fly-away hair on the edges.  He will be finalized tomorrow.

New Dog Art

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

We are printing and shipping today. I am trying to figure out what theme I will focus on for March here at the blog. I am thinking maybe I will talk about color a lot, after all it is spring and the colors should start blooming soon.

We are having a 50% off sale on custom artwork this month ( select styles) and you can get information on that promo code offer by following us on either twitter or facebook. This sale is for folks that can send us high resolution 1MB images. Most of my clients have great shots but never seem to have the time to figure out how to send them at the highest original resolution. Too often people just drag tiny web thumbnails out of their photo web galleries or they are unaware that their e-mail program is crunching all the life and detail out of their photos by reducing their res. for quick sending.

Anyway, Learn about all of our sales and contests:
Become an Art Paw facebook fan today!
Or be our contact over at Twitter!

Monday, March 01, 2010

Mosaic Monday/ Kitty

Self-portrait. :))
Originally uploaded by ya-sama
Found this very charming feline on Flickr today. I know very little about the artist, only that she is  going by the flickr id of Ya Sama. She only has 2 images in her flickr stream, but they are both great mosaics. I do suggest you click the image and check it out at full size over at flickr. This is pure fun, and makes me want to dig through my jewelry box.