Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Devon Rex Pet Portrait

© rebecca collins / artpaw.com

From Holly: " I ended up giving the Samarai gift actually on Christmas Day (well, they kept it under the tree to open today). Just got a text from the family saying it is definitely one of the best gifts they've gotten!! Thanks so much!! Feel free to share it. And have a wonderful Christmas."

Thank you again for the beautiful portrait!!"

Monday, December 30, 2013

Praise from Pet Portrait clients!

This has been such a lovely holiday year for me. For some reason I am hearing from twice as many clients this year with praise and so many kind notes after their art was received. I am really lucky to have such supportive fans of my work.

I was not able to share my works before Christmas out of fear that surprises would be spoiled so now it is time for me to start posting the last month. If you want to see your pet on my blog just send me a photo of your Art Paw canvas on your walls at home.

"Hi Rebecca,

I just returned home from being out of town for a week so I just opened the 2 prints. They are absolutely beautiful. I love them! The color should go very well with the other two prints. I will send you a photo once I hang them.

Amy "

© rebecca collins / artpaw.com

Friday, December 27, 2013

My Word for 2014- Choice

This year I am going to pick a word to live into and that word is choice.


noun \ˈchis\
: the act of choosing : the act of picking or deciding between two or more possibilities
: the opportunity or power to choose between two or more possibilities : the opportunity or power to make a decision
: a range of things that can be chosen

 As women when we hear the word choice it is often charged with political overtones, but choice is not just about our bodies, it is about our lives. If I could teach my nieces one thing in life it would be to choose, and know when you are making a choice and when you are just letting life come at you full force like a fire hose. You can not choose anything when you are in a constant state of reaction to the drama of others. Choose your friends, choose your lovers and choose your life. 

Over the years I have struggled to make a living, I have struggled to find love and I have struggled like everyone on else on the planet to be happy.  The times in my life when I was the most unhappy were not due to bad choices, they were due to making no choices at all. 

As an artist in 2014:
I will not be afraid of making bad choices.
I will choose new materials and new techniques for my work.
I will not let the marketplace dictate all of the choices I make concerning my art, maybe some but not all.
I will choose other artists to learn from that inspire me.
I will choose to create art that challenges me.

I  think I have gotten lazy in life and have allowed myself to fall into a bit of a rut. The past few years have been all about finding a balance as I juggle my commercial work with my personal work. I have found my balance really, and I know that at the end of the day the more I do the more I can do. My time here is finite and moving forward I really do need to think about my choices. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Flash Back Friday / Vintage Christmas

My Mom / Sandra Lansdowne 1950's
I wonder if this was the robe from a holiday story told over and over again. One year when my parents were first married my Mom was needling my Dad about what he got her for Christmas. They were driving back home from dinner and she was guessing and finally my Dad snapped at her "quit asking I am not going to tell you that I got you a robe for Christmas!". She got very quiet, and he did not know at first that he had spilled the beans. I love that story. She often got a robe at Christmas when we were kids, probably a repeat gift bought with warm memories of one of their early holidays together.

My Mom / Sandra Lansdowne 1950's
 I love this picture of my Mom, she reminds me so much of my old assistant Lola Cash. Something about the tilt of her head and her smile, and of course her waif like figure.

Mom with packages
Me and my brother Phil
No wonder I like aluminum trees so much, they really were abundant in my childhood. I love how I have so many pretty black and white pics of Mom posing with wrapped presents in the 50's and then boom, the 60's come along, living color,  and it is all bout the kids and posing with unwrapped presents. Yes we were rather spoiled.  I still have the clown doll on that table.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Pet Portrait Gift Certificates

It is not too late to order a pet portrait Gift Certificate for the holidays. Our gift certs are e-mailed to you within 24 hours of order placement. They are colorful and fun and the perfect gift for every pet lover on your list. If you need to order more than 2 gift certs please call us for a discount
( 214-321-1150).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Winding down the Season

My Joy, My Whitman
© artpaw.com
Almost the middle of the month and we are totally on target with our holiday shipping. All orders placed and approved in November have shipped. I have just a few design updates to work on tomorrow and we will also be shipping out our last round of December orders that have been approved. I have 4 cyber Monday non-proofed orders to ship out and they look great, I think my clients will be very happy with their surprise prints.

I have 2 possible local clients that I may work with and deliver on if they can finalize their orders by Friday. Then I will be done, and hopefully I will have most of next week off to do my own holiday shopping and decorating.

We have had a fantastic season and I am ready for 2014 now.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Dallas is Thawing Out

Japanese Maple In the Ice
© rebecca collins
Well we have had a couple of very cold and icy days.  It is not over yet, but we did get above freezing today. I have been working while the rest of Dallas has been enjoying some time away from work. My husband is in printing and so of course he braved the ice, because nothing stops the presses from running. There was no ice in the hallway between my bedroom and my office so I had no excuse not to go to work this weekend. Even though I work from home and rarely go anywhere besides the post office, I am starting to feel a little cabin fever.

The dogs are restless and totally over the novelty of the hard white ground.  We are very fortunate that we did not loose our power. Many people in Dallas are without power and will be until Oncor gets caught up.

Next week I will be shipping out the last of November's approved projects. I have started on December orders and I feel totally on top of the season. It is an odd feeling. We are a little slower here at Art Paw this year, and I am ok with that. At first when I compared my numbers to last year's I was a bit worried, and now I have decided that busy and steady is a much better way to live than crazed and overwhelmed. 

Thanks to all of my terrific Holiday clients that Have supported the Arts this year!

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Doggy Spas

Around here we have 3 main priorities and they are dogs, books and art. Art is our strongest passion and as much a way of life as an object or activity. Books are an indulgence, a collection and I think on some archaic mental level our wealth. In college we had stacks of vinyl records and stacks of books, we drug them from place to place and they really were our most valued possessions. We have managed to let go of our records, but we are still very attached to our books.

And yes, dogs ... our dogs are truly family around here, not a passion, a hobby or collection, although we have been collecting many memories and urns over the years. Last week I shared pics of dream art studios that I found on-line. Late last night I was digging around Houzz to get ides on the perfect doggy washing sink to have designed into our new laundry room. We are in the very early stages of planning a home renovation that will happen in 2014.  Today I will share a few of those dream doggy baths with you guys.  My favorite sink is probably way out of our budget, it is a terrazzo mop sink.

Modern Laundry Room

Ok at 350 lbs and $800 this cool terrazzo mop sink is my favorite  ... what a great doggy wash station. I am sure our builder will come up  with a lower cost solution that will not be an engineering feat to install.

Traditional Laundry Room by Norwich Architects & Designers Smith & Vansant Architects PC

I love the tiled bath above ...perfect for medium large dogs. It even has a little ledge you can sit on while you bath your dog.  We like standing at a sink since we have little dogs. I am afraid if we built a bath area like this the universe might throw a Great Dane at us, and we do not need a large dog.

Contemporary Laundry Room by Carmel Design-Build Firms Case Design & Remodeling Indy

This was my 2nd favorite doggy sink and it looks very practical and more affordable than my first choice.  Love the colors in this cute green laundry room.


Another great tiled bath for larger dogs.

I thought this was a cute pic with doggies waiting for their bath. I have no idea who the artist is.

Spaces by La Vista Kitchen & Bath Designers McKean's Floor to Ceiling

Ok this last one just cracked me up .... the gate says ... no escape from the bath!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Christmas Countdown

Yes the holidays are here. I am busy every day staying ahead of the game and proofing folks non stop. I plan to work this weekend so that I can finalize all holiday shipping by the middle of the month. I seem to have work under control and so I have extended my order deadline to this Friday the 6th on all out of state orders. I will allow a few local projects to trickle in all month long. Dallas clients can order late because they have the ability to pick up their portraits in person.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Save 50% on Custom Pet Portraits Cyber Monday!

You can save 50% on either a 12 x 12 custom painterly style portrait or a large 24 x 24 portrait if you take advantage of my non-proofing sale today only.  This is a non-proofing sale and yes I promise that you will have your portrait in time for Christmas.

Click here to order now and save up to $242 on your portrait.

Holding a sale ... is a tough thing for a small business owner at times. It is especially hard for an artist because I hate the thought that I am discounting my services to people when other folks have ever paid full price ... what about all those folks? How can I be fair and hold a sale ... should I refund money on  all projects placed this year, this month, this week? Well that is not a very smart business model, and I would soon starve if I held sales that way ... my choice instead is to offer a very special deal on a service that nobody has purchased this year and that is the non-proofing option, with a requirement of a decent resolution photograph.  So if you are a loyal client and you have shopped with me before, please know that this sale is for you too! As a repeat client you know I do good work, and while regular proofing is tons of fun, you know I will do a good job and you can trust my artistic instincts .... maybe it is time for yet another pet portrait perhaps?  

Forget about proofing and let me off-leash so I can really play and have fun with your photos!

Friday, November 29, 2013

An Artist Lives Here / A place to create

Dreaming today about my perfect studio space.
A perfect artist studio:

•  has tons of natural lighting
• has a sink
• climate controlled and yet it can open up during the 2 nice bug-free months in Texas
• large open space
• it opens to a balcony
• room for a pull out sofa in case other artists or family wants to crash

Browsing Houzz today for ideas, and I will post a few amazing finds below.

Eclectic Home Office by Winters Photographers Dave Adams Photography

Above: I love the skylights and the large open doors leading to an outdoor balcony
The wooden ceiling is also not too shabby.

Contemporary Exterior by San Francisco Architects & Designers TRG Architects

Above: With an outdoor balcony not only do you have a place to sit and relax, you also have the perfect spot to take something outside to dry, thinking wet clay, thinking recently painted surfaces, thinking anything that needs a little air to cure.

Contemporary Home Office by Westport Architects & Designers Sellars Lathrop Architects, llc

Above: Another lovely skylight. I also like the white walls, I seldom can tolerate a white wall in my home, but I am going to try it in my studio once we build it.  

Modern Home Office by Essex Architects & Designers Joseph Bergin Architect PC

Above: Love the clearstory windows,  the track lighting is not particularly attractive, but it looks very functional.  I like how the room has a huge open feeling and yet there is a little nook on that far wall. Lovely space. I am sure that the white wooden flooring makes it all seem even bigger, and yet I can not imagine a white floor in a studio space.

Industrial Home Office by Everett Windows Quantum Windows & Doors, Inc.

Above: Love the dark blue metal and light maple doors here. Of course the upper windows are just perfect.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Commission A Pet Portrait For the Holidays

I am starting to get crazy busy around here for the holidays so I thought I would post our holiday hours and tips for ordering your pet portrait.

Holiday Work Hours:
I will be answering the phones Mon. - Fri. 10:00 am - 6:00 pm ( you might even catch me on a Sat.)
We will ship Amazon and Etsy Giftshop orders out twice a week on Weds. and Fri.
 Printing and shipping pet portraits every Weds. and Fri.

Tips For Ordering Your Holiday Pet Portrait:
• Order by 11/30 if you want to receive your portrait in time for Christmas
• The fastest way to order is via the shopping cart on-line.
• Send an image that is a minimum of 500K in size ( very important)
If you need help figuring out proper image and resolution follow these links:
• When ordering on-line be sure and give us a shipping address that will work for you. Changing your shipping address later can cause confusion on our end.
 • If you do not want your project on the public blog or calendar just let me know, as I do not want to spoil any surprises.
• I try very hard to proof clients within 7 business days of payment. Please give me that time before sending e-mails asking about your proof.
• Check your spam and bulk folder if you do not see an e-mail from me within about 7 days.
• Do feel free to call me to follow up on your project after 7 days ( 214-321-1150).
• Keep in  mind I work on projects in the order they were received and payment or a deposit is required to get the ball rolling.

Don't forget about our Gift Certificates! Our Pet Portrait E-certs are colorful and immediate.

Monday, November 18, 2013

An Artist Lives Here / Lovely Fall Morning

 "Decorate your home. It gives the illusion that life is more interesting than it really is. "  - Charles M. Schulz

My front Door
Actually an older shot of my door, the mosaic framing was not done when this shot
was taken, and we have added 2 new knockers since then.

Decorate your home. It gives the illusion that your life is more interesting than it really is. Charles M. Schulz
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_home.html#FazImhUiADqKMKy1.99
A few weeks ago one of my out of state Photoshop students dropped by before she had to get on a plane.  Her first words as she walked through my door is "Yes this is an Artist's home".   I have been thinking about home a lot lately and place. Dan and I shopped for a new home for about one year solid and with each wonderful larger house we saw we would come home to our tiny place and as we drove down our tree lined street we would shake our heads and say no, that street can not compare to our street.
A couple of weeks ago one of my out of state Photoshop students dropped by for a visit before she had to get on a plane. The first words out of her mouth as she entered my door were "yes, this is an artist's home".  I have been thinking a lot about home and place recently. For one year solid Dan and I shopped for a new home that would be large enough for all of our creative pursuits. Each time we would go see a larger lovely home we would return to our neighborhood and drive down our tree lined street shaking our heads saying no, that street can not compare to our street.

 Our tiny cottage was built in 1941 and almost all 1,204 square feet of it is covered in art and books.  We have decided to stay where we are and renovate. We have plans to double the size, adding a master suite for comfort and a huge fine art studio for pleasure, work and life.  I am starting a series on this blog called "An Artist Lives Here". I think it will eventually be a weekly Friday post. I want to share not only a glimpse into my world and home but also share with you a peek inside the homes and studios of other artists I know and possibly even a few stunning artist studios that I might stumble across on-line as I study artist homes and really start to think about creative space in 2014.

3 terriers cuddle for warmth

Very Short Video I shot early this morning outside my front door.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Custom Pet Portrait Holiday Deadlines

© artpaw.com

Well it is that time of year again where I need to post my holiday deadlines.  Order by 11/30 and get my very best unhurried work with a guaranteed holiday delivery.

This is the cut off date that I have been using year after year and it is a soft deadline which means that if I am caught up the first week of December and feel like I can handle a few more projects I will take in a few in December, however I can not promise that I can deliver on time if you decide to order past my posted deadlines.

Ordering now means that your pet will get the time they deserve and I will even have an extra pad of time so I can make a few color changes if they are needed.


Click here To order your Pet Portrait Today.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mosaic Monday/ Books Books Books!

Yay ... I am so excited I finally purchased my copy of Christine Brallier's book The Night Before Christmas. Christine has worked a long time on this project creating 15 lovely mosaics for the book. Click this link to get your copy!  Or click this link to purchase Christine's book along with Barbara Keith's 2 books for only $29, a very good deal indeed!

Christine Brallier Site

Ok, one more book link for those of you that have little ones to buy for.  A family friend, Steve Jackson, has illustrated a kids book called " If Dogs Had Pockets".  Check it out over on Amazon.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Mosaic Monday/ Carol Shelkin Workshop

WIP My Dan
© rebecca collins

WIP My Dan
© rebecca collins
This last weekend I took part in  a two day workshop on realism in Mosaic. Our instructor was Carol Shelkin.  This is the second time I have taken from her and she is just so much fun.  Carol comes from a fine art background and she paints with glass. She teaches her students to see the different tonal values in colors and teaches from a very basic design principles background.

Mosaic art is very technique intensive and it has such a rich history.  There are tons of wonderful vocabulary words to learn when you start studying mosaic, many with Italian origins. Too often it is easy to get caught up in everything that is unique to the craft as we go about studying and teaching mosaic art. I guess because I too have entered the world of mosaic through the back door so to speak, approaching it as just another art technique to be used and explored, I really can relate to Carols' teaching methods.

On day one we spent the morning listening to Carol talk about color and composition and we watched her slide show presentation. Even though our hands were itching to nip glass we did not even start working until after the lunch break. Much of the design info she presented was stuff I had already been exposed to because of the many years of art education I have had. Was I bored? Was I wishing I had slept in?  No way! I really believe that no matter how many design courses you have had in life or how far along you may think you are as an artist,  the design principles are our bible. Much of how I work is intuitive at this point in my career and that is why when I hear an instructor go over the design basics with enthusiasm and with a unique perspective on it all, well I feel like I am learning it for the very first time. 

Best Shelkin quote from the workshop: "It is not where we are that matters, but where we are going".  

Everyone in the class really liked hearing her say that. It was almost like you could hear the sound of a big weight being lifted off of our shoulders. Every time you want to beat yourself up over your art not turning out how you imagined you really need to say that out loud. I am very kind to myself in general however I see too many artists, many that are very close to me, beat themselves up over and over again. Try not to get too attached to the work in front of you, love it and give it your all, but know that it is not the last or best project you are ever going to do. Be kind to yourself. Each piece of art we create in life is a learning exercise that gets us further down the road to where we are going.

Funniest Shelkin quote ... hmmm, well it had to do with venues and male _ _ ( censored ). I won't go into the details, you will just have to ask her about it when you take a workshop from her in the future. Did I mention she is funny as hell? Well she is.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Save Now on A Holiday Pet Portrait!

You have exactly 3 days to be early in ordering your holiday pet portrait.
• check out with our on-line shopping cart 
• use promo code : trot  
Save $50 on any size pet portrait.

Go here to order: http://www.artpaw.com/painterly_order.html

I will not be running a lot of sales in November and December so now is the time to reserve your spot on my commission calendar and save some money.  Order today and send your photo to us when you have time.

* Please note this sale offer is for any "new" pet portrait project. I can not refund sales price for orders placed within the last 30 days or the last 15 years. I run sales to generate new business and to save you money when ordering new portrait projects.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Teaching Photoshop / Robots, Dogs and Lizards, oh my

Two weekends ago I taught a Photoshop workshop at the Creative arts Center in Dallas and each time I teach this class I am reminded of just how hard Phoptoshop really is.  After 15 years of using the program 8 hours a day I have gotten pretty good at it and I often forget how hard things are when it is all brand new to you.

Photoshop is hard.
               And yet .... Photoshop is really really fun!

Today I will post some of my student works.

I started class with a simple no pressure assignment and I had 2 teams of two students creating robots. To do this they used an open document I had created that had lots of photos of mechanical looking parts in it and they drug & dropped the photo pieces on to their page in order to collage together a robot. Then they created a layer that served as a tracing paper sheet filled with white at a 50 % opacity. On top of that was another layer that was their drawing layer.  They took turns driving and they sketched out their robots by tracing on top of the photo collage. This allowed them to get a feel for the wacom tablet in a shared learning environment where nobody felt the pressure to keep up or be the best or any of that nonsense.With this assignment they learned about layers and the paint tool and brushes. Once their sketch was finished they turned off the photo layer and colored in their sketches.

Flag Bot by Kristen & Chris / Maid Robot by Linda & Marianne
After lunch everyone started on their own projects and below are their finished projects.  I am really proud of everyone.

"Rebel" by Kristen Druckenbrodt
Lizard by Chris Hollister
Curtis the Beagle by Marianne Cherry
Pop Art Jack Russell by Linda Clemens

Warhol Lizard by Chris Hollister
My next Pushing Pixels Workshop will be April of 2014. If you want to be added to the list to be sent a reminder just e-mail me:   artpaw.com@gmail.com.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mosaic Monday/ Mosaics, Paper and Steel!

Last weekend was an art filled adventure. On Friday and Saturday I took part in a sale at Pigment School Of The arts and on Sunday I went on the White Rock Lake Studio Tour. Sunday was misty and cloudy and my pal Katrina and I went around to a handful of studios visiting some of our artist friends and checking out their latest art. I have lots to share today!  I indulged my art hoarding habit  a little this weekend and I will start with those pics and then take you to a couple of studios we visited.

Painting by Brad Ford Smith
( recent acquisition)
I really enjoyed visiting the studio of Brad Ford Smith. I had met this talented artist before in passing through friends of friends however I had never seen his work until this weekend. His art is very playful and it seems to have both a graphic design sensibility to me and also a very retro feel. I purchased the painting on paper above and cant wait to get it framed.  You have to visit Brad's  " World of Nomadic Fungi".  He has taken little vintage match box cars and wire & fiber to create the coolest little sculptures on the planet. WorldOfNomadicFungi.com is rich with humorous writing so go check it out.

Quick Sketch by Tori Pendergrass
( recent acquisition)

Tori is the owner of Pigment School of The Arts and a talented artist. I bought the little sketch above at her Fall Arts Fest Sale on Friday night. I  love her work and I am happy to now have a few pieces of hers.

The first stop on our tour was the studio of Mosaic Artist Juli Hulcy. My few pictures here do not do justice to the terrific space she has created. I fell in love with the distressed wooden cabinet shown below that came from her husband's family.

Juli Hulcy's Studio

Wall of Mosaic Art by Juli Hulcy
Work In Progress by Juli Hulcy

Below is a metal sculpture by Cynthia Daniel. Her work is playful and very large. Cynthia's yard and her studio are just amazing. Cynthia uses recycled metal to create her playful garden sculptures. I love women artists that can work large and have their way with a material as tough as steel.

Venus Fly Trap by Cynthia Daniel ( Sold)

Sculpture by Cynthia Daniel
Rusty Metal waiting to be turned into art.
We visited several other studios and yet these are all the pics I took. The tour had over 50 artists this year and so we knew better than to try and do it all. Some day after Dan and I renovate our home and I have a proper mosaic studio I may try and be on the tour. People are always asking me if I am on it, and I have to explain to them that my dining room table is not that exciting to see. Visiting all of these terrific creative spaces was really inspiring.