Monday, February 28, 2011

Mosaic Monday/ Sama Recap Part 2

Dog Mosaic by Pamela Irving

I will try to fill you in on the rest of Sama today.  Pamela Irving was the keynote speaker at the conference and she was very inspiring. I really enjoyed the slides she presented from her project for Luna Park.   Miss Irving has a fun sense of humor that comes through in all of her work.

We watched a great movie about African artist  El Anatsui.   Anatsui takes the caps from liquor bottles and weaves the most amazing tapestries that cover entire buildings. It was refreshing to see someone included in the conference that is not working with traditional mosaic techniques and materials.

Karen Ami, gave some great gallery talks, exploring the mosaics in the MAI Exhibition. She encouraged people to talk openly about the works they liked and did not like. I really enjoyed hearing people's views on certain works.

I have found the general mosaic community to be a mixed group of people that includes both part time hobbyists and hard core professionals. People in both camps seem to have very rigid and clear ideas in their heads about what is and isn't "Mosaic".  I have always felt like an outsider in this world, doing my art, using mosaic techniques loosely to serve my needs without getting too bogged down with the rules. I was eager to hear the last panel discussion titled : Defining Mosaic Art- Who Cares, and Why. The speakers were great but the discussion was a little bit of a let down as I was still left wondering just what is Mosaic Art and why should I care. I know I will never be able to embrace some of the narrow views about mosaic that many of my peers hold fast to. I did come away with one bit of advice from Emma Biggs that I believe resonates and that is that we should not let our medium define us.  I heard an eagerness by the people on the panel for mosaic art to be more widely embraced by the broader art world. In my opinion the only way that is going to happen is for the subject to be introduced at the college level.  I think you really need young people experimenting with the medium. You need kids without the budgets for Smalti and $50 geodes picking up all types of readily available materials for mosaic work. The medium needs the head strong attitudes that youth provides. If technique and history is important to your craft then teach it to young artists and then challenge them to take what they learn and then go break some rules as they see fit.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Please light a Candle For Emmitt

Emmitt Langer passed over to the Rainbow bridge today and we light a candle tonight for him as we keep Melissa and Fred in our hearts.  Emmitt was a wise old Puggie that was loved by tons of adoring fans. His Mom runs Pugnotes and is a good cyber pal.  Our hearts are breaking for this special boy's family tonight.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Camo & Hunter

Sometimes clients just have a really tough time taking great pics to send to us. Camo & Hunter are darling King Charles Cavaliers and as you can see the original pics sent in were a bit dark. The good news is that they are local and so their Mom asked us to send a photographer over  to get some really good workable shots.  I called my pal Kris Hundt and for a small fee she was able to spend some quality time with Camo & Hunter to get some terrific well lit shots.

original photos submitted (above)
© Kris Hundt
Bright well lit shots that worked out well
Camo & Hunter ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /
Camo & Hunter ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Month of March/ A Working Vacation

So what do you do when you need to rework your website, order new business cards, order new postcards, do your taxes, redesign your entire business model and clean out your fine art studio? The only possible solution I can come up with is a working vacation. Most of you would laugh and say well, where is the vacation part? The vacation part is in the area of commissions. I will be taking orders in March and placing folks on the calendar for proofing in late April, however I will not be working on commissions in March. I just have to take a break from portraits in order to work on some business stuff.

Here is my small list of goals for March:

Rework the photo help pages on the website.
I am soooo tired of working from low resolution images taken straight off of facebook. I just can not do it any longer. 

Rework prices.
Most of my prices will be going up, however I will offer deep discounts and incentives for folks that can give me high resolution quality images to work from. It has been a few years since my prices have changed and I am not keeping up with material cost increases. I really have to look at this.

Order Print marketing materials.
Need new biz cards, brochures, and more.

Taxes ....arrrg.

Clean out Mosaic studio and start some new personal projects. (yay)

Bento Data base: Will work with Lola to get everyone added to a mailing list

Newsletter: Get back to sending out newsletters, at least quarterly.

• Try out some new printing media.

Large companies have accounting departments, marketing departments and even research and development teams. I have to wear a lot of hats around here and in March I will be sporting my business bonnet, full of lovely flowers and exciting challenges.  I do not hate the business parts of business, I just never have time for it .... going to change that for one month!

Existing clients should know that I will be finalizing all of Feb.'s projects before I take my business break.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nine Kitty

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

I enjoyed working on this pretty kitty. I fluffed out and softened  this sweet boy's fur a bit and cloned out the eye stains. Nine was rescued out of the gutter 4 years ago by his animal loving humans ... he was #9 of nine rescue kitties.  He has gone on to the rainbow bridge, but I have a feeling his last 4 years were probably the best of his entire life.  It was a real pleasure to get to create this important tribute for such a sweet old kitty boy. He had such stunning markings.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sweet Jaxon

"Jaxon ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /
This little guy will be shipping out on Thursday. I am at my desk today trying to get caught up. Wow it was just one week ago that I was pushing hard to get a lot of shipping out so I could leave town. I will spend most of the day weeding through e-mails to see what projects may have slipped through the cracks last week.  I do appreciate everybody's patience. Your portrait projects are very important to me.

Whenever I leave town for business or pleasure, it always puts me behind.  For my first 8 or 9 years in business I never went anywhere, and pretty much worked 6 days a week every single month. I worked like a dog, and it paid off. At some point I decided that I had to start having a life. I still work hard, but I do try to find a balance. If you have ordered in the last week or so, I will be touching base soon with a project update.  If you ordered earlier in the month and are waiting on design changes those will happen this week.  Stay tuned for more dog art posts soon!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mosaic Monday/ Sama Recap

Last week I went to the Society of American Mosaic Artist's Conference in Austin Texas. I am exhausted, and wow...  did I pack a lot in.

My first day to play was Weds. and instead of diving into conference activities I broke away from the regular program guide and went with my pals Dave and Linda to visit an old college pal in Elgin Texas. Barry David Perez creates stunning one of a kind fine art jewelry and in his spare time he owns and runs a high end tile making studio that caters to commercial design studios with large budgets.  He generously showed us around his shop and explained the entire process of making ornate tiles the old fashion way, one at a time.

Barry David sent us home with a lot of scrap tile discards to play with...yay!

Thursday I had a terrific workshop with Carol Shelkin on portraiture.  Carol was down to earth and playful ... she has a great sense of humor and she really knew her stuff.  The class was very large but I thought she did a good job of getting around to everyone.  I knew two mosaic people from Dallas in the class and one person expressed the same opinion that there was plenty of one on one attention while another student I know felt that there was not nearly enough personal attention and that the class was way too large.  I guess everyone has different expectations going into a workshop situation. All I  know is I had a great time and learned a lot. I also got to work across from Christine Brallier.  I was very pleased to get to spend time with Christine, she is my oldest mosaic pal over at Flickr, and one of the first people in that community that I have connected with.

Donna Van Hooser, Christine Brallier, Rebecca Collins
My project above started in workshop

Thursday night was the Salon. I sold a piece at Auction and I bought 2 pieces. I was very excited that my work sold but was even more ecstatic to be going home with 2 amazing works by very talented and respected artists.
"The Power Of Pink" by Kim Wozniak
Earlier this year I decided to embrace the color pink and try to throw out my own personal stereotypes about the color. When I saw this contemporary work by Kim I just fell in love with it because she has certainly put her own spin on the color pink.  This work may be very sexy but I do not think I would call it sweet.

"Blue Fox" by Donna Van Hooser
I have been stalking Donna Van Hooser and her work for over a year now and you guys have seen me blog on her mosaics here several times.  I am more than thrilled to have been the high bidder on her charming Blue Fox. Donna was also in the portrait workshop I took. When I was marveling over her precise way of cutting and how quickly she works she smiled and said it is like a pool game, where you see where your shot is going to go and then you instinctively make the shot ... that is how she cuts.

I have more to share, but will follow up next Monday with another Sama post.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mosaic Monday/ Heart Swap!

"Unzip My File"
Robot with heart 2.5x3.5
© rebecca collins

"Winged Heart"
© rebecca collins

"Sad Robot"
Robot with heart 2.5x3.5
© rebecca collins

Heart By Dan Collins
( My Hubby's 1st mosaic!)

We finally had our Feb. Heart Atc Trading card swap this last Sat. and it was a blast. I have more pics to post soon.  The top 3 are some that I made for the swap and the bottom one was created by my Husband Dan. I will post pics soon of the ones we got in trade, they are so very cool.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Many New Pet Portraits

I have been away from the blog this week, but if you see the artwork below I think you will see that I have been very very swamped all month long with custom dog portraits. Today is the 11th and I have created 14 proofs so far this month. Thanks to all of my clients that have been so patient as I work, rework, proof and then reproof clients. Each and every single project is very important to me. 
"Bear" (see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I still have a couple more projects to finalize this month. If you are waiting on a proof please hang tight. If you are a pending client that has e-mailed pics and not yet made payment you do need to finalize your order with payment so I can place you on the project board.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Cold & Icy

First Camellia Bloom
Out My Front Door

Working at my desk today. It is really cold and icy here in Dallas ... 19 degrees, is rather chilly.  We have been having rolling blackouts and you never know when they will hit so I am making sure to save my computer work as I go. Today I am working on several pups including a 6 piece project for a Restaurant chain in California. Tessa below is part of that group. Each piece will be 34 x34.

Tessa With Ball ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /
I gave Lola a snow day yesterday because she did not need to be driving on these streets. I am hoping she will be able to come in tomorrow and do some stretching for me.