Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lucas & Daisy

Lucas and Daisy
© rebecca collins /

This week I have spent a bit of time on these two adorable Schnauzers in Mona's lap. Most of our Master Paw print projects are pretty straight forward and fast. Lucas and Daisy's Mom is a graphic designer herself and so this project continues to involve a lot of fine tuning and tweaking.  Artists and designers can be tough to work for because they often see so many things that others miss. The good news is that this project just keeps getting better and better. I was delighted to have some terrific original photos to work from. One more round of proofing and we should be ready to get these pups printed up and in the mail.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Pet Portrait Video

Lola helped me knock out another monthly video today that is showcasing last month's commissions. She did 90% of the video editing work, I just found the perky whistling music and helped with questions.

Recently I have been trying hard to focus on celebrating my clients in a variety of ways. I recently ordered printed Thank You cards and I will start sending those out once a month for all recent orders. I should have done this a hundred years ago, better late than never.

We are also updating our Facebook timeline artwork on a regular basis to include our most recent client projects. We have a little over 4000 fans over at Facebook right now. If you are not a fan yet you should sign up because we will be posting a photo contest in September to celebrate Art Paw's 14th birthday.  We also post occasional sales on Facebook that we do not advertise anywhere else. We are trying to have a little fun over there and keep it real. One of my most popular status updates was a shot of me kissing Ajax on the mouth and I asked folks if they kiss their pet on the mouth ... the overwhelming majority of the responders say they do. Thanks to all of you guys that are following us!

Like Us on Facebook!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tibetan Mastiff Art

"Tibetan Mastiff" ( see all proofs)
© rebecca collins /
Today I got to play with a Tibetan Mastiff that lives in China. We are working on a large 34  x 34 project for a local client that is ordering a gift portrait. This has been a fun project because I thought I knew all the breeds there were and in the last 14 years I have been lucky to have created artwork of most of the breeds that are out there. This huge lion threw me for a loop, I have never seen one of these noble beasts before!

So of course I had to do some study, and I learned the following:
• This is an ancient breed.
• In the early 19th century, King George IV owned a pair of Tibetan Mastiffs, and enough of the breed were available in England in 1906 to be shown at the 1906 Crystal Palace show.
• In March 2011, a red Tibetan mastiff was reported to have been sold to a 'coal baron' from northern China for 10 million yuan.

• A Tibetan Mastiff named Max is seen in the 1993 horror film, Man's Best Friend.
• Unlike most large breeds, its life expectancy is long, some 10–14 years - at least in some lines.
• The name Tibetan mastiff is a misnomer; it is not a true mastiff. The term "mastiff" was used primarily because it meant "large dog". Early Western visitors to Tibet misnamed several of its breeds: The "Tibetan Terrier" is not a terrier and the "Tibetan Spaniel" is not a spaniel.

A Tibetan Mastiff is the subject of the 2011 animated film The Tibetan Dog. See trailer below.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Mosaic Monday / Studio Newsletter

I started a Mosaic Newsletter this last month and sent it out to a few of my local mosaic pals. It was mostly just a very brief recap of the last mosaic ATC card trade however I also included some personal news about one of my own projects and an upcoming mosaic class I will be teaching in late August at the Creative Arts Center here in Dallas. I plan to try and write around 4 Mosaic newsletter updates a year and will be including news of local art related events and happenings. You can read this first archived letter on-line.
Feel free to subscribe if you want to stay up to date on my classes, local ATC card trades, and other assorted mosaic related news.

Newsletter writing can be so difficult at times. You don't want to bore people and yet you want to stay connected and offer information that you think  might be of interest. It also seems like you are throwing one more "shout" into an already over connected and over saturated on-line world. This morning I got a very nice e-mail from a friend that said she enjoyed reading the letter and that while her husband stays connected on-line via facebook, she enjoys receiving info by e-mail.  I guess each to their own. I will try the mosaic newsletter writing for a year and may try to get back to it for my doggy and kitty fans as well here at Art Paw.  So maybe 8 letters total to 2 different art worlds ... hmmm, yea I guess I can take that on. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Paint My Dog!

"Digital Painting in Progress"
Killer and Barney

 I am having fun today working on Killer & Barney. The original photo I am painting from had a few scratches that I had to clean up using the clone tool. I think the project is coming along nicely and I am having a lot of fun with it. I should have proofs ready by next week.  We are starting to get moderately busy again. I met with a repeat client this morning that was dropping over some vintage photos for me to scan.  Many clients seem to have limited photographs to choose from these days, except for one lady that is doing a great job of shooting for a Master Paw Print of her Schnauzers.

 "Paint My Dog"

... O.K. yea I know a very weird post title for me. Sounds like the name of an i-Pad Ap or a quickie digital arts company. Art Paw is not either of those. Here is the back story on that phrase:

 Yesterday I spoke with a really nice sales guy from an SEO company that called and wanted me to purchase his services for search engine optimization. I actually have done  a lot of work on my website to have good title tags and I feel like I rank well for a few important search phrases. He pointed out that I am not yet ranking well for the phrase "paint my dog". We talked for a very long time and I really enjoyed learning from him what his company offers.  In speaking with him I realized that it is impossible to know the many different phrases and terms that someone might use to try and find an artist to paint their dog. I learned a lot about how these SEO companies, or rather how his company goes about helping their clients. They go out and try and get back links for you from other websites.  He used a lot of on the spot tools to measure my site and actually said I was doing very well in many areas. I was impressed with his sales skills and yet, I am not ready at this point to hire someone else to do that sort of work for me. It is not that I don't think he would do a great job, I am just not sure that this is where my very limited marketing budget should be spent.

A Tip For Other Pet Portrait Artists:
If you get a lot of cold-calls from sales people wanting to do Search Engine Optimization for you, be sure and ask them their company name and then, while they are on the phone with you, use google to see how well they do for the phrase "seo services ". If they are not found within the first 2 pages of results politely ask them what phrases they are targeting for their own business, then check and see how well they do for their own domain, and their chosen keywords. I was actually impressed with my sales guy yesterday, while he did not rank for the terms I would use to find him, he did rank for the terms he was going after. He was also not defensive or flustered at all by my question, and I admired that and we had a very nice long talk.  I do not always have a lot of time to spend on the phone with cold-call sales people, but I was focused on marketing yesterday so his call came at a good time and I learned a lot from him.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Scottie Sketches

Sunday I got out my drawing supplies and did a few sketches of the Scotties.
Ajax With Bunny ears
© rebecca collins /

Pickle & Ajax share a stick
© rebecca collins /

Monday, July 09, 2012

Christmas In July Portrait Sale

Click here to save 50%
on your custom pet portrait this month!

I am having a sale this month! It is time for us to start thinking about the holidays, and to start gearing up. We have been ordering extra supplies and I am working behind the scenes on the website to try and offer more tips and help for my clients on how to send images at the proper file size. The hardest part of my job is dealing with low resolution poor quality photographs. Some people have no probelm taking the extra steps to send in quality snapshots at the right file size and yet 90% of my clients have a really hard time understanding the difference between print quality images and web quality images. 

If you can send me a 1MB photo you can save 50% on any size or style portrait that we offer. That means you can get a custom portrait for as little as $67.50 if you order our smallest size on rolled canvas. Prices are outlined here:

I will be posting tips on the blog all month on taking good photos and how to send them in at the proper file size.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Portrait Price Changes This Month

Every year I say I am going to raise my portrait prices and every year I put it off because of the time involved in updating print order forms, and several html web pages. Well today was the day ... I gave myself a raise. More a cost of living increase than anything else. Supply prices keep going up and my prices have not kept pace.  If you want to get in on 2011 prices on Gift Certificates, you have until next Tuesday to order on that page at older posted prices, just place your order then e-mail me a photo when you have time. To order Gift Certs Now and Save Go to this page:

Changes On the Painterly Style:
• I have posted some new size options and raised a few prices.
Some sizes have not changed in price while others have gone up by as much as $40, and as little as $5.
• I have not yet changed the print cost of the Master Paw Prints or the Warhols, because the time on those is so much faster than my unique painterly style. I may at some point revisit those prices, but for now they are staying put.
• The extra pet fee on the painterly style has gone up from $45 to $75. I did this because it is really difficult at times to add in extra subjects with the photos that are sent in. It often more than doubles the time I spend laying out the composition. I enjoy doing multiple pet works, but they are very time consuming, and I feel I should get paid for my time.
• I did raise the extra pet fee on Warhols from $30 to $45 as well.

Click Here to see all the new sizes and prices.

I did a lot of research among my peers before raising prices, and I feel I am still very competitive, and yet I am not the cheapest game in town either. It has never been my goal to be the cheapest player in the arena of pet portraiture, I still strive to be the best and offer the best services.

Repeat clients can still save money by using promo code : "repeat" when ordering on-line.

Oh ... and I will be having some fun sales in July to encourage early ordering for Christmas. The sales will be geared towards discounts for clients that can send in high resolution quality photographs. Quality photographs make my job a lot more fun and I am happy to give discounts to folks with great pics. I will be updating the help pages on the site to make it easier for people to send images at the proper file size.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Pet Portrait Sale Today Only

Big Tommy as Uncle Sam
© rebecca collins /
Save 20% today on any size or style of custom pet portrait. Use promo code : freedom

Order here:

Terms: Order must be placed on-line and you must submit a photograph that is 500KB or larger within 30 days. Photos can be e-mailed to

This is a ONE DAY 4rth of July sale. Unfortunately we can not reimburse the sale price difference to all of our 2012 clients  that have ordered portraits during non sale times. If you have ordered from us before think of this as the perfect time to get a 2nd portrait of another pet. The promo code must be used at check out to qualify for this sale

Monday, July 02, 2012

Mosaic Monday / Chip The Robot

This weekend I got back to work on Chip the 3-d robot after a long absence. I started creating some arms and he is taking shape now. I also created a torso for his little doggy pal " Rover". I am determined to finish him this summer. To the left you will see a pencil that will get more arm add-ons. I had intended to use a wooden dowel, but the one I had was too thick for what I needed. The hollow green area in his tummy will have a vacuum tube.

" Chip" Work in progress

"Rover" ( Robot Dog body)
The robot doggy will get aqua blue glass.
Earlier Sketch ... he is evolving a bit