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Custom Pet Portraits Preserve Precious Memories

I have been doing pet portraits for about 30 years.  Like most things, it started with my pets.  Then when family members saw what I had done, they wanted portraits of their pets.  My Dad’s cats.  My sister’s dog.  And it spread from there.  I’ve lost count of how many I have done, but I can say they are hanging in homes across the country.  As time went on I expanded the media I employed.  First it was all watercolor.  Here are some the earliest ones:

This was my first one.  My two cats, Jessica (the grey

Jessica and Gizmo stole my chair

one) and Gizmo (the Tabby).  I really loved those two.  Jessica was with me for 24 years.  Two weeks after Jessica crossed the Rainbow Bridge, Gizmo passed.  He died of a broken heart.  I realized just now I did a second painting of them.  It is the second one below.

Playing Hide and Seek

They were always chasing each other around. When they weren’t napping, that is.  When my parents saw these, they wanted one of their cats.  They were the funniest pair I’ve ever encountered and capturing photos became the biggest challenge.  They were litter-mates and always together.  Cutie Pies.  I called this “Better Water Here”.

Better Water Here

 

 

As I mentioned, they it was my sister.  She was crazy about her rottweiler, Rip, and when she lost him, it was time to paint my first dog.  Fortunately she had quite few good photos, and she mailed them to me.  This is the result:

Krissy’s Rip

 

From this one, word spread.  I began to take orders from her friends, and my friends, then friends of our friends!  Since then, I’ve done portraits in Acrylic, Soft pastel and Scratchbord (TM).  Scratchbord portraits are some of my favorites, but are best with the pet is white, or mostly white.  Here are a couple of samples:

Ceasar: Ink and Sratchbord Black Pet Portrait
Little Bear: Ink and Scratcbord Black Pet Portrait

So, what is Scratchbord? It is actually white clay, baked on to Masonite, then coated 32 times with black India Ink. The manufacturer is Ampersand.

So that is how I buy it.  I then use a tiny knife, steel wool and various other specialized tools, to scratch through the ink, down to the white clay, leaving as much ink as is needed to create depth and texture.  Then I use ink to paint in features such as the eyes, and the pinks and blues visible in Ceasar (the cat).  I’ve done hundreds.  I have never had one rejected.  I know the owners love their paintings as much as I love to recall the antics of my cats when I look at those paintings.

Most pet portraits take a few weeks to complete.  Pricing is based primarily on size, but if you want a scratchbord piece remember it is really only good for white or mostly white animals.  I can use paper, canvas, panel/wood for watercolor, oil pastel, soft pastel or acrylic.  You can view how various media look on the pet portraits page here.

I need 5 or 6 photos of the pet.  You can choose to have me paint a particular photo that you love, or ask me to paint a composite with fully realistic impression of the pet.  I require a 50% deposit, with balance due upon final acceptance of the piece.  You can contact me with the form below to get a quote.  Standard sizes are 8 x 8, 8 x 10, 10 x 12, 10 x 10, 12 x 16, 12 x 12, 16 x 16 or 16 x 20.  I can go bigger but it starts getting expensive and takes up alot of wall space.

Save those precious memories!  Order a Pet Portrait!

[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” /][/contact-form]

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Tech Savy and Art: An awkward combination?

So, after a year or so, okay, emphasis on the “so”, I moved my old blogspot blog to this site, en toto.  I did the first steps all by my not so big self, though it did require an hour and some minor cursing from my tech guru husband.  At any rate, it’s done! Wahoos are in order for me, as I left the old blog unattended while I was working on this website. So, for those of you who were following the old blog via RSS, the links in RSS will now bring you right here, and you can even look at the old posts and photos contained in them.

Now, with a few more tweaks, I can return to painting.  Yes, being an artist is hard work. While skill and passion is a known requirement, these days, so is discipline and marketing savy.  Ouch.  It’s a work in process.  Of course.

There will be some notable changes coming here.  While the emphasis of being a gallery has lingered, it will be changing soon, to my personal work. However, there may be “popUP” times when I’m promoting someone else.  We’ll just have to see how it goes. I get it, you follow me for me. For who I am and what I do, and from here, I’m beginning again, starting anew. I hope you’ll come along.  And let me know what you’d like to see?  I’d love that!  Thank you!

 

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A New Year, A New Start

Wow, so much happened in 2012, and it whizzed by.  Clearly I was so wrapped up in all of it, I stopped posting by the end of January and poured all my energy in trying to preserve the Angel Fire ArtSpace Gallery.  If you follow me otherwise, you already know that by July, the handwriting was clearly on the wall.  Traffic in the gallery dropped by 90%, year over year.  That was a downturn that was flatly unsustainable.

From there, I chose to develop a new business plan, and transition the gallery from a physical store to a functional online store.  I have to.  I’m absolutely passionate about Art.  It’s more than just the creation of it that compels me.  It’s the conviction that I can provide beauty and food for the soul for the Art buyer, compensation for the artist and also for me.  It’s way more that “making a living”.  It is to me, life itself.

So, I closed the physical gallery on September 13, 2012.  Scantly 3 months before my 9th Anniversary in business.  And I celebrated that on December 16th.  9 years under my belt and heading for 10, just differently.

If you haven’t done so yet, check out the new site.  I still represent myself and others, and am adding new work to it all the time.  It’s fully operational with a built in shopping cart, but if you still prefer to call to order, that works too.  I have a blog there too…and I’m laying out a work schedule so I can manage all the hats I continue to wear and all the marketing efforts I continue to employ.  That said, it is definitely my intention to keep up with all of it.  After all, there’s no more rent to worry about.  And that’s no small thing.  All together the savings mount in the $1000s.  It was the right decision.

And so,  now, here we are at the start of another year.  May 2013 bring us all more peace, harmony and abundance.  Namaste.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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A New Year..A new effort to Post!

The New Year crept in and before I blinked here it is the start of the second week!  Wowzers!

Although I hear lots of naysayers regarding the coming of 2012, I find myself focused like a laser beam on growth.  Growth for the Gallery, growth for me on every level: Mind, Body, Spirit, Relationships and Finances.  I’ve been studying regularly, and (delighted to have a Kindle of my own now) and find my optimism growing daily.  I am an Affiliate of the Global Information Network and though I’ve not taken the step to join yet, I’m filled with gratitude for the massive information available to affiliates and members.  To learn more about that, click here. It is very exciting and I’ve met more than a few spectacular people!

While the gallery has short hours in the winter (Open Thursday-Saturday 11-5) that hardly means I’m not working.  In fact, I generally accomplish more when I’m not there than I do when I am!  That said, it has been a blessing to have studio space there now.  I have managed to get some nice paintings done there though I still prefer my home studio for dedicated painting time.  I am, of course, always open by appointment.

Here’s a peek at the new work:

So, here’s to 2012!  May the year bring your dreams into reality.  May you prosper in life, health and financially. I’ll be painting more and smiling ALOT!  Happy New Year!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Settling In and Ready to Roll!

Sorry for the lack of posts sincethe last. It would be fair to say I was working like my life (livelihood) depended on it, and finally got the gallery officially opened with the Grand Opening Reception on July 23rd.

Had a nice turn out for guest artist Sandra Wasko-Flood and she was happy with the chance to explain Labyrinths and her work to the gallery friends that turned out to celebrate with us. I still have some touch up to do here and there, but am finally getting back to a relatively normal routine. Yay!

Time did not wait for me though, and on it marched. Which brings me to the Theatre tonight. The Moreno Valley Arts Council once again has partnered with The Space Theatre of Taos in tonight’s performance of The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard. Curtain is at 8pm at the Frog Jelly Art Studio in the Cove Art Center. It’s kind of funny for me, as that space was the gallery for a couple of years! Anyhoo….tickets are still only $12. Lap sitters free, but seats are limited.

The show runs tonight, tomorrow night (8pm curtain) and a 2pm Matinee on Sunday. Get tickets at the gallery, or at the Visitor Center.

See you at the Theatre!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Finished the Next One

I know it’s not Sunday (my usual day to post) but I told you I’d post a photo of the commission I was working on, when it was done. I just finished it. All that’s left is put a wire on the back for hanging. I also made a video of most of the process, though I ran out of battery at a critical moment, I can recreate that with voice over and a photo. I’ll get to work on that next week.

Anyway, so here it is. 24 x 18 Watercolor on Canvas. The owner loves it. What about you?

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Painting up a storm


It’s been only a week or two, maybe not that long, but once I got back in my studio this past weekend, I painted like whirlwind. One is finished, one is almost finished.

I decided that this year I would paint something for the Music From Angel Fire Benefit Auction. I’ve never done that before, but just donated something from my inventory only to see it go to one of my customers for substantially less than retail. Although, in the past two years or so, my work has regularly sold for retail or higher at the auction. That is what prompted me to paint something specifically for it. Not something that’s been hanging on my wall. So, that’s it there in top left corner. 18 x 24 watercolor on canvas. Gallery wrap, painted edges….no frame required.

Then I got to work on another commissioned piece. It’s not quite done. Just some tweaking here and there. I’ll post it when it’s finished cuz I just realized I haven’t photographed it yet.

I’m at the gallery now, awaiting the first customers. Thought I’d take a minute to post. Oh, and by the way, if you haven’t signed up for Arts About Town yet…get those applications in! We want to cover the town in artists! The Resort has gotten on board too, offering participating artists a $10 discount to attend the Bikes, Blues and Brews concert event that will follow Arts About Town. It’s a win/win!

This year we have indoor spaces, outdoor (protected under a portal) spaces and outdoor tent spaces. Put a note on the application about where you’d like to be:
El Centro Plaza under the Portal
Frontier Square under the Portal
The Cove Art Center under the Portal
The Inn Center: Inside
The Inn Center: Outside with a tent.

We’ll do our best to accomodate you. Sign up NOW!

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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August, must be madness

It’s my birthday. 08-08. I’ve written this post over and over and over. Long gone are the days when birthdays were exciting. Get up, make the coffee , make the breakfast, feed the dog, go to the gallery, water and care for the plants, sweep the floor, mop the floor, open the new space, hang the prints, move out the print bins, open the windows (or I’ll suffocate), dust, vacuum the other rooms..wait it’s almost 9:45, turn on the lights, turn on the music, and, turn on the open signs, it’s 10am.

breathe.

oh, boot the laptop (this takes forever—it’s Vista) download the email (this takes forever, too.) check the website (s).
Check the phone for messages. Figure out what’s left on the desk that needs attention.

breathe.

feel guilty. didn’t get the robie cleaned (the irobot that vacuum’s the house for me). guess that won’t get done today. oh well. I did manage to get a load of laundry in. didn’t walk the dog. didn’t……ad infinitum.

breathe.

I notice that lots of my Facebook friends are leaving birthday greetings on my page. It makes me smile. I write back, still smiling.

Customers come in. We talk. Some buy, some don’t, but they all say “happy birthday”(because, of course, I told them it was my birthday). Some comment that they didn’t know there was a gallery in Angel Fire..(never mind that there are two). They live here.

breathe.

The country is a mess. That’s what I hear.

breathe.

My mom calls. I smile. My mom-in-law calls. I smile.

Then she tells me someone walked into her house and stole her wallet. Yes, she (mom-in-law) opened the door, and welcomed ‘her’ in…mistaking her for someone else. (shame on you, whoever you are. ) I’m shaking my head, feeling the slime. shake it off. or try to. shaking my head. unbelievable…or status quo. refuse to ponder that right now.

Breathe.

Missed by sister’s call. Sad..but we’ll connect later.

And, I celebrated the fact that I’m ‘only’ 48. I know, it’s bizarre. I didn’t know how old I was. I got stuck somewhere. husband had to tell me. Made me laugh, really deep, really long, really funny. Nice to be 48.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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To Donate, or Not

I know it’s not Sunday (that’s usually when I post) but it is quiet here at the gallery now, and I had a great conversation with Jennifer Cavan which compells me to write. She wrote a great post on “how long does it take?” (to create a piece). And as she says, there is so much “not art” that goes into the business of being a professional artist that the casual viewer doesn’t see. So, whether you spend an hour, a day, a week or a year, that process is not the whole piece. I’m starting there, because our “great conversation” was about donating work (or not) to the many organizations who ask. She might post about too, but I thought I’d get the conversation going here.

Over the years, I would hazard a guess that I’ve donated, somewhere in the range of $25,000 in my art. So, why do I severely limit what I donate and to what organization now? Let’s see what those donations did for me, for the organization, for the art community, for the galleries.

If I donate a piece with a retail value of $500, what is that for me? lost revenue of $500. It is basically “advertising expense” and based on tracking, very poor at that. Worthwhile advertising nets revenue. Not so a donated piece.

How about the organization that gets it? Once in a while at the Music From Angel Fire Art Auction, a piece will go for at or near it’s value. But way more often, most work gets “sold” for about 20 cents on the dollar. So, they have to sell ALOT of art to generate reasonable revenue…and if you’ve ever been to one, you know that they do.

Now, examine the impact of that. If, at the auction my $500 piece was lucky, and sold for $200, the lucky winner got a “bargain”, and I’ll hear about it for the next few years. Will they come buy a piece from me? Not likely. Will the person that was bidding against them? Not likely. Why? because they’ll go to another auction and try again. I have actually had people tell me that they love my work, but will wait for the MFAF auction. Those same people say, “I love this gallery, I hope you are successful!” and walk out the door without spending a dime. So, I wonder, how does that work?

A few years ago I donated a $300 piece to a local group and they sold it in a “Live” auction, for $35. While one person jumps up and down about how they “stole”it, several hundred others watched it. What is the impact of that?

That said, yes, I will donate to the MFAF auction. Maybe a handful of others. But I sincerely hope those of us who buy at similar auctions will consider supporting the artists, as well as the organizations. And I would encourage the non-profits that auction art, consider more than their own bottom line, look for ways to support the artists that make their fundraisers possible.

I have lots of ideas on that……

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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Grey and Rainy Sunday

Good day for a day off! Dark skies, howling wind and scattered rain, now soft, now hard, now scattered. I hope it doesn’t damage the beautiful peach colored iris that just opened this morning in my front garden! They are lovely.

So it is a good day to stay in. Which is good because we had big day yesterday! My morning was filled with people and painting as I did demo after demo of painting watercolor on yupo paper. In all, I think I did 14 paintings…some as small as 4 x 6 inches, some much larger. By the end I was wiped, but I ran home to shower and rest a bit before the big wedding we had been anticipating for what seemed like months. I’m sure it wasn’t, but we were really looking forward to it. And we were not disappointed! Congrats and all the best, Tom and Bonnie. The setting was beautiful, the ceremony sweet and fun, and the party afterward will likely not be topped! It was way beyond fun!

We actually slept in this morning, sleeping off the exhaustion. This morning we spent mostly brainstorming. We want to start a business incubation center and were tossing around ideas and dreams in advance of a meeting tomorrow to pitch it to some locals who might have guidance and know-how. What kind of thing would you do with a business incubator..or do you need one, and why? I’d value your input.

When we decided to move on with the day, I headed down to what was the hot tub room and did more brick laying. The floor was so badly out of level, that it is tricky to fix it and I’ll have to remove the trim from the doors because it is now too long! To slide a brick underneath it would mean that brick would be a full 1/4 inch below all the others….and I’m barely a third of the way across the room. wow. It’ll be good when it’s done though. At least I know how to do it right now!

So, it’s almost 4pm and the angel food cake John is making has the whole house smelling incredibly yummy. It’s my favorite cake and strawberries were on sale….guess what I’ll be having for desert tonight! oops..the dryer is chiming it’s “I’m done” song. Guess I’d better get to it.

Angel Fire ArtSpace,
3469 Mountain View Blvd, Suites B2-4 Angel Fire NM
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