Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Art Programs In Dallas

Every time I turn around I am discovering new and fun places for kids and adults to indulge their creativity.  A couple of weekends ago I played over at Pigment School of The Arts one Sunday with a drawing workshop and today I just went over and checked out Studio Arts Dallas.  Both locations are small and interesting and full of creativity. There is also Oil and Cotton over in Oak Cliff. Dallas is also home to The Creative Arts Center and The Craft Guild of Dallas. 

With so many choices how do you choose a summer art program for yourself or for your kiddos? Check out their websites and then visit in person. Then see which classes have openings.

I will go over my general  impressions and knowledge of each below....

The Creative Arts Center Well I have to start with the place I have been taking classes at since 2007 and have recently started teaching at. The CAC has been  cultivating creativity since 1965. It operates in a converted elementary school built by the WPA during the Great Depression.The CAC offers a laid back casual environment where adults can explore a really wide range of courses from Welding to Mosaics and everything in between. There really is something for everyone here.
I highly recommend it.

Craft Guild of Dallas :  I have not taken any classes at this school yet however I have visited and listened to a free lecture there.  The Guild's facilities are really lovely and new. The guild has a long history in Dallas and their new facility is in Addison.  It is a bit of a drive for me but I would love to eventually try out a class there. I believe the Craft Guild's main focus is on adults however I noticed on their site they are registering students right now for their Summer Camp For Young Artists.

Pigment School of The Arts: This charming school is in a sweet old house on West Lovers Lane. Tori Pendergrass is the director. Tori is a very creative artist herself and she exudes such a calm energy. I can imagine that she would be an ideal instructor for young artists. This little arts center has a very magical energy to it. I highly recommend it.

Studio Arts Dallas: This very cool school is in a converted Whataburger restaurant. I discovered today that my next door neighbor is a long time teacher there. I knew he taught art, but had no idea that he was at this fun and funky little school. One offering on their website that I really like is the portfolio class for young students wanting to apply for The Dallas Arts Magnet High school.  I went to the Dallas Arts Magnet when it was brand new and getting in was really a matter of signing up and maybe getting a school counselor to recommend you. Today the process is much tougher and performers audition and visual artists must have a winning portfolio.  This little school looks like a terrific place for young artists to grow into more serious artists.

Oil and Cotton: I have been to a few readings and video events in this fun and hip little location. I have never taken any classes here however if I had kiddos I am sure I would try and get them into a workshop or two, after all it is a great excuse to get over there and soak in the energy of a vibrant urban economy that is booming. Oak Cliff is just a really fun place to be. Check out Oil & Cottons' Calendar on-line.

Go Take a Class! Make some art!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

June Pet Portraits

I have proofed a handful of clients this month, but have not been posting many to the blog. I will start correcting that today. Artists blogs are often nothing more than image posting or promotion. I am always trying to find the right balance between writing about process and inspiration and art image posting. I guess I need to go ahead and just rely on posting art when the writing muse is absent from my life because in reality people really do enjoy seeing pictures more than they enjoy reading.

© rebecca collins /
© rebecca collins /

Friday, June 14, 2013

Learn Digital Pet Portraiture

Well it is official, after 15 years in business at Art Paw I am celebrating by sharing my secret sauce Photoshop recipes. Well, not exactly, but I am teaching Photoshop and digital pet portraiture. I have taken on a Pet Portrait student that I will be meeting with bi-weekly and she is flying through all of my lessons and she is hungry for more. She is doing great work, and she came to me with a little experience and self taught knowledge under her belt. She admitted to me that she will find herself so immersed in Photoshop late at night that the next thing she knows it is 1:00 a.m. and she is the only one in the house still awake. 

So those of you that are interested, I am offering private lessons this summer during the week and you can message me at to learn more.  I will not take on any new students in the fall since that is our busiest time of year.

I also have a group workshop on using the Wacom tablet coming up very soon at the Dallas Creative Arts Center:
Date & Time:     Jun 29 to Jun 30   Register
SATURDAY & SUNDAY 10:00am - 4:00pm ( 2 days)

Cost:     $225.00 ($255.00 Non-Members)

If you are not able to come to Dallas to take a workshop from me or take private lessons then be sure and subscribe to my youtube channel where I do post occasional video tutorials.
 Next year at the latest I will be offering on-line courses that will be video and blog based.  A lot of people have been asking me to get some courses on-line and I will, it just takes time.

Teaching keeps me sharp. I have been so fortunate to run a successful art business for so many years and now it is time that I share and lead a little bit. My pals often ask me, aren't you afraid that your students will end up competing against you? That is a valid concern especially since I have a unique approach and style.  The reality is there is plenty of pet portraiture work to go around. I also believe that there are very few folks that are willing to work 60 hour weeks for 5 straight years (without rest or vacations) in order to get a business off the ground. That is what I did and that is often what it takes to see a return on most start up businesses.  So no, I will not be teaching any sort of "get rich quick with art" ideas in order to get students.  That is not really how it works. My hope is that my students will take the knowledge I share with them and then use it to create original work in their own voice and in their very own style. If I end up creating a small hand full of Art Paw clones then I will just have to reinvent myself and change my style, and I can easily do that.  If I can teach "well" then I will indeed inspire people to find their own approach to digital art, once they have a handle on the tools. Then they will go on to create works that raise the bar for us all. Yes, that is my hope.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Clock Is Ticking / Make Art


The Clock is ticking ....  lately Dan and I keep saying that more and more. The Mosaic community lost an important artist this last week. Earlier in the year my husband lost a friend in his writing community. Both artists were around our age and they were taken suddenly without warning. I am sure the mosaic artist must have had unfinished work on her table and the poet probably had poems left unedited.  We also lost Dan's Father just last year and so yes, we are constantly looking over our shoulder these days at that bitch mortality. We are looking at the mirror and saying it out loud. As we prepare the evening meal after a long day at work we are saying it out loud, the clock is ticking.  Make art, the clock is ticking.

Make art like nobody is watching ... you have all heard the phrase dance like no one is watching, well I challenge you to make your art like nobody is watching. We all know that feeling of singing loudly in the shower or in our cars, or dancing alone late at night in our living rooms. Well, you need to be making art like nobody is watching. And when you are creating and it does not feel that great and uninhibited, well keep working because discipline is important too. Just keep making art.

Create more than you compare...  anybody that says don't compare yourself to others is just not living on this planet. We all compare and it can be healthy. When I compare my work to people that are better than me I am motivated to try harder. When I see people that I "deem to be no better than me" selling more art, getting more shows, awards or recognition I refuse to be a Bitter Betty, instead I am motivated to work harder. I am motivated to learn from them and see what they are doing so very right to earn their success.  Football players spend their lives comparing their performance and when they come up short they do not whine about it ... they get out there and they kick ass. Do not stop comparing, but spend much more energy creating than comparing.

Buy art from other artists ... I can not tell you how much this has made me a better seller of my own art.  When Dan and I got together we were weighed down by credit card debt. We spent around 3 years digging out of that. Once the debt was gone we were able to actually start saving and seeing a little fruit from our labors. We are still frugal people but we do like to indulge in art buying on occasion. I like to buy from my pals and from strangers too. Buying art has made me value and respect my own customers so much more. If you are not occasionally buying original art then you will never fully understand the nuances of selling when it comes to your own work.

Ok so those are my tips today for other artists. I am writing today hoping I may have an audience for these ideas, but mostly I am putting this stuff down to remind myself to take my own advice.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mosaic Monday / The Snobby Robot

Robot drawing
5.5 x 8.5
© rebecca collins
Purchase at Etsy
I just opened up a new Etsy shop. For ages I have been thinking about trying out a robot themed Etsy shop that would be just for my fun and experimental works that I do apart from Art Paw and my day job.  A drawing workshop over the weekend was just the kick in the pants I needed to go ahead and list a few things in my new shop. The new shop is called "The Snobby Robot" and I am planning to have a lot of fun with it. You can find drawings for as little as $15 and mosaics for as much as $333.

2 inch Diameter Clay
© rebecca collins
Purchase at Etsy $22
6x6 Mixed Media Mosaic
© rebecca collins
Purchase at Etsy $333

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Slide Share For Artists

I feel a tad bit late to this game and I am not really sure where I am going with it but I am playing with the on-line site today.  I created a very quick little slideshow that is a simple intro to my business. I can imagine telling more involved and elaborate stories with this tool. It seems sort of flat compared to video however the site does allow for video and sound, so I guess I may get fancier as time goes on. Please check it out and follow me on slideshare if you play in that neighborhood.