Thursday, April 29, 2010

New Kitty Art

So is it just me or are Persian kitties the Bulldogs of the cat world?  They seem to have so much attitude ... even more than the average kitty. I really enjoyed working on Gizmo. He had a great original photograph. He looks soft and sweet and also rather sassy.

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

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Doxie Art

"Archie & Eddie" ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /

This is Archie & Eddie ... I just adore these two cute Doxies and their mod couch. The original photograph was great so this project went well.  I need to work on their kitty friend soon.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hershey & Snoop /Sneak Preview

"Hershey & Snoop"  (work in progress)
34 x 54
© rebecca collins /

Original photo above

Today I am working on several projects including the two sleep labs above. It is going to be a busy week, I will be posting more projects soon.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mosaic Monday/ Godzilla

Originally uploaded by Velvet Glass
Found this rather wild mosaic over at flickr. Artists Mark Bloom and Maggie Rickard take "camp" to a whole new level with their off-beat subjects. Click on the image to visit them over at Flickr or check out their main domain . I love that studio name ... with "velvet glass" , not only do you get the campy image of black velvet paintings in your mind but there is the playful contrast of soft and hard.... this is one very clever and talented duo.

You really need to click on the image to go see this one larger ... it is something else.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

From The Archives/ Mickey

Originally uploaded by artpaw
This is a project I did way back in 07. You can click the image to find a larger version over on flickr. It is a sunny Sunday and this happy smiling dog sums up my enthusiasm for the day ahead. Hope you all have a good one.

Friday, April 23, 2010


So what's in your backyard?  We have been invaded by super duper large moths around here.  This stunning chartreuse fellow is supposedly a nighttime moth named the "Luna Moth".  His colors could not be more exquisite. He is about as large as my fist.

Next week I will have lots of new projects to post so check back in on the blog.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ears Matter ... in pet portraiture

"Mac" from Australia ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /

A lot of pet portrait artists will tell you that the eyes are all important because they contain the soul of an animal. This is very true and yet it is important to remember that while the eyes may hold the soul ... the ears often contain the joy. The only thing that expresses more about mood and attitude than a wagging tail is the way a pup's ears are showing. I love perky ears and when I do not have them in an original photograph I will try to create them. Scroll down and check out the original image below and you will see that Mac's ear to our right was a little flat. Many digital service providers that offer pet portrait services have a routine of erasing the background and then slamming on the filters, never pausing to really see the image in front of them. Even traditional painters can fall into a trap of interpreting the original photograph way too literally, not pausing to ask themselves what could be better here, what is distracting and what could be better? In Mac's case I found he had too much collar flap and not enough ear. I don't mean to pick on other artists, in fact sometimes I fail to catch these sort of things too, in a pet portrait project I did last week Lady's ear to our right was folded a little strange and I am going to go back in and fix that.  Anyway ... the point of today's post : "Ears Matter,"  and never allow yourself to be limited by the original photograph of your subject.  A landscape artist painting a lovely lake would not hesitate to throw in a sailboat even if he has to create it from scratch based on his own knowledge of what a boat looks like.

© rebecca collins/

How Did I Make  A New Ear?
I borrowed our ear to the left by selecting it and making a duplicate layer with just the ear. I flipped it horizontally so it was facing the right way, cloned over a dark freckle and then used the warp tool to change the shape slightly. That last step of warping the new ear is very important, nobody is perfectly symmetrical and depending on angle and the tilt of the head the ears will be different sizes naturally. Just slapping on an identical ear would not have looked very natural, it had to be reshaped and fine tuned.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Chica, Bailey, Gracie

"Chica" ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins
"Bailey" ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins

 "Gracie" ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins
These three adorable pups are shipping out today. Bailey & Chica both measure 24x24 and the images shown were the selected proofs.  Gracie is a little 11 x 14 and  her selected proof had the same red ground as Bailey. All were created in my painterly style.  Some days we do nothing but big dogs like labs and Weims and then some weeks it is all about the lap dogs.

We have several projects in-house and I am trying hard to keep up. Working on: Doxies, kitties, rooster, horse, Basenjis, Labs, a Schnauzer and an American Bulldog, and some adorable human kiddos.  Be patient guys and I'll get everyone proofed as quickly as possible.  I'll be away from my desk on Friday in order to prepare for a class I am teaching on Sat.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Multiple Pet Project

Lady, Mitzi, Soldier, Lacie ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /

Multiple pet projects can be rather challenging when it comes to composition.  When you have a variety of different types of pups in totally different poses you have to get very creative when it comes time to place them on one canvas. You will notice in the original photos here that we have one pretty girl laying down with her nose cropped off, that is Lady. Mitzi is hiding behind the chair that had to be cloned out. Lacie the white pup had a great photo with no glow eye and yet she was shot from above so when we erased her background we had a pretty image and yet her back-side was growing out of the top of her head so that had to be erased. That little rascal Soldier the yorkie had a great straight on full body shot and he was really the easiest to work with.  You will notice I placed some pillows in the scene...that was a device to try to hide areas where bodies were not filling in the entire space and in the case of Lady, she really needed something to lay on. I was able to take Ladie's top paw and place it under her chin so she looked like she was resting better, that paw would have been a real problem left where it was.  I crab a lot about the how hard multiple pet projects can be but the reality is that I enjoy a challenge, and with pups as cute as these how could I miss?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mosaic Monday: Swarm Robot

Swarm Robot
Originally uploaded by artpaw
Wow, Mosaic Monday so soon. We spent the weekend taking care of a 2 legged senior doggy. It was hard work and I am a bit exhausted, but I did get a good nights rest.

This will be a crazy busy week, and I am totally ready to conquer it. This robot image is one of my recent 6 x 6 little robots.  I am finishing up several mosaic projects this month and hope to post about a large 24 x 18 octopus soon.

I am teaching a workshop this weekend on using the computer as a design tool for mosaics. I have 2 openings left if anyone is in Dallas and wants to sign up. I will also be creating an on-line version of the class for those that can not travel and it will be posted a week or so after the real-world class. Learn more here: do not have to be a digital junkie like myself to take advantage of tools like Photoshop or Photoshop elements when it comes to design work.  The goal is not to replace the old fashion pencil and sketch book, but to add to your creative arsenal with tools that can help you spin your creative ideas around quickly into new possibilities.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Coloring Book Page

I guess Barb's ABC book has inspired me because when I was asked to create a coloring book page I went for an ABC heading on this silly artwork I created with the wacom tablet.
This is for a collaborative coloring book we are doing that will be available for download and purchase at the upcoming Mermaid and Octopus Show here in Dallas. You can read about the upcoming opening at You can also download the coloring page for free by clicking here and scrolling down the page.  All of the artists that are in the show will be invited to submit a coloring book page, a portion of the proceeds from this show will benefit the Emergency Artist's Support League.  The art show is my teacher  Katrina Doran's baby... she is the organizer, curator and overall make it happen person.  I have been helping her with some assorted graphic design duties related to the show. The design work has been fun and made me flex some old muscles that I forgot I even had. I created the info website and just finalized a postcard promo piece.  I am real excited about this show and will post more info as we get closer to the opening in May.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Optimizing tough photos

Working with some challenging pics this week. Lady and Mitzi are no longer here so I am working with the limited pics my client has on hand.  Today I dealt with glow eyes,  missing noses, and chair obstructions. Next week I get to start playing around with color on this multiple pet project ( I have 2 more pets to add to this portrait).

I am also eager to finalize some sweet kitty cat portraits that have been working on  ... lots of projects going on at once.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cooper & Tootie

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

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

Working on taxes today, last day to sort through receipts and find a few more expenses to report. Tomorrow I will be spending the entire day setting up new portraits to be worked on.

Tootie & Cooper are local pups and this client will be picking up in person today. I really enjoyed playing with these two.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mosaic Monday / I have been shopping!

Last week I got a couple of books in the mail that I ordered.  I love to shop for mosaic books! The top book is by Eve Lynch and it is a blurb produced portfolio. You can purchase it over at  It contains stunning photographs of Eve's mosaic work from 08 through February 2010. 

The bottom book is by Barbara Benson Keith and it is a charming ABC book that would make a great gift for the little ones ( just be sure and order 2 ... you won't want to part with your copy).  It has info at the back about each of the critters in the book. The Zoo book and postcards to the bottom right are available at her Etsy Shop.

These gals are two of my favorite mosaic artists and I am thrilled to have their books on my bookshelf.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Color For Team Up Thursday

Color For Team Up Thursday
Originally uploaded by artpaw
A late post for team up Thursday project. My image to the right and Kris Hundt's to the left. The theme was color.

I'll have a lot of new doggy art to post soon along with a few kitties so stay tuned. Working hard to keep up with a lot of various projects.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

New Golden Retrievers

"Bella & Brody" ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /

These two playful retrievers are Bella & Brody. Today we are shipping out all approved projects and then we get to start on taxes. I hate tax time. Every year I say I will start early and it just never happens.  Oh well.

On the back burner: almost done with my new large octopus mosaic ... will post updates next week.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Beetle Pattern / And Seuss

bug pattern hurting eyes
Originally uploaded by artpaw
"When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles
and the bottle's on a poodle and the poodle's eating noodles...
...they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle
bottle paddle battle."
— Dr. Seuss (Fox in Socks)

Monday, April 05, 2010

Mosaic Monday / Mandy

Originally uploaded by Carol Shelkin Mosaics
Carol Shelkin is probably best known for her amazing mosaic portraits of humans, however she has done several really wonderful animal mosaics, including a few pups. Carol paints with stained glass and is well known in the mosaic world. She is a master of shadow and light. Her subjects have a 3 dimensional quality that is hard to achieve with glass. In this portrait of Mandy I just adore the way she has captured the natural shape of the ears and the variety of her cuts keep your eyes moving.

You can click on Mandy to visit Carol's flickr page or find more of her work at :

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Happy Easter Weekend!

Below is a cute poem my husband wrote for Ajax.  He did this for one of his writing groups over  at the Gather community. He rarely rhymes in his poetry and so this is a lot of fun, and very appropriate somehow for our little time keeper Ajax....  Enjoy and have a great weekend.

Ajax, he’s sure a good boy,
ever in need of a toy.
A dog on the run,
he’ll steal one for fun
and if you can catch him, play coy

That little dog lets me know
whenever its time to go.
For food or a walk
he damn near can talk;
but the damage is to ankle and toe

At night he sleeps on my head
yes, he knows when its time for bed.
If I’m up too long,
he’ll sing me a song
and leave all the pillows in shreds.
- Dan Collins

Friday, April 02, 2010

New French Bulldog Art

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

I love this little Frenchie named Buddy. This is for a teen girl's bedroom and I was sent a link to a peace duvet that the colors should match.  I think they are happy colors and almost have an Easter feel, so I wanted to post this fellow today.  Lola created this fine portrait with just a little direction and help from me, Yay Lola.

As I mentioned yesterday it is poetry month. I have found a lovely poem by Alicia  Ostriker that goes pretty well with today's Frenchie clad in his little life vest.  You can hear an audio reading of this poem at


The Dogs at Live Oak Beach, Santa Cruz

by Alicia Ostriker 

As if there could be a world
Of absolute innocence
In which we forget ourselves

The owners throw sticks
And half-bald tennis balls
Toward the surf
And the happy dogs leap after them
As if catapulted—

Black dogs, tan dogs,
Tubes of glorious muscle—

Pursuing pleasure
More than obedience
They race, skid to a halt in the wet sand,
Sometimes they'll plunge straight into
The foaming breakers

Like diving birds, letting the green turbulence
Toss them, until they snap and sink

Teeth into floating wood
Then bound back to their owners
Shining wet, with passionate speed
For nothing,
For absolutely nothing but joy.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

National Poetry Month

My husband informed me that April is national poetry month. I wish I could write. Dan is going to try to write a poem a day. I am going to try to at least "read" a poem a day. I have fallen off of my thematic blogging that I started earlier this year. Maybe this month I will try to dig up some fun animal poetry to share with you guys.  For today I will share a small portion of a poem from my favorite poet Leonard Cohen.

Confined to sex, we pressed against
The limits of the sea:
I saw there were no oceans left
For scavengers like me.
I made it to the forward deck.
I blessed our remnant fleet –
And then consented to be wrecked,
A Thousand Kisses Deep.
- Leonard Cohen  from A Thousand Kisses Deep