Friday, February 24, 2012

Making your own book....

So today's Dog Art Today post was about the Morran Book Project. Artist, Camilla Engman, put together a book of illustrations of her dog Morran from artists all over the world. The book was published by Blurb and proceeds go to the WSPA, the Swedish organization designed to protect animals. Camilla started the project by mentioning it on her blog and people liked the idea. She then put a call out to artists to have them do an illustration of her beloved dog.

The cover
Jeanette Bornmarker

Ulrika Kestere

What a wonderful idea! I've spent most of the morning looking at the hundreds of illustrations that she posted on her blog ( not all got in the book ) and the 2 above are certainly favorites of mine. I've never done self publishing of a book, even though it is such a popular thing right now. But this little project has got my mind thinking.... Books of my photos, books of my paintings... themes, ideas .... oh I could go on and on.

Have you ever published your own book? Do you have a preference of self publishers? I'm growing more curious about this by the minute.....

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wonderful, beautiful (waterbased) oil paints

Bongo's Beach Day

16x20 inch

oil on canvas

It's been 20 years since I painted with oils... seriously. I took some classes in school and that's it. I always loved them: the flow, the color, the SMELL! (I'm talking the paint, not the turps)... Oh how I missed them. I don't have a studio, hell, I don't even have a separate room in my condo where I create. I work in a corner in the kitchen. So for the longest time oils were just NOT an option. Then T bought me a "starter set" of waterbased oils for Christmas. And Tina Morgan (from CAG) was getting rid of canvas so I had her ship it to me. And Lo! I am a happy artist again!!! Well, always been happy but now I'm elated!!!

I love them. I've read some mixed reviews on line regarding them. Some say they're not for the serious painter, just the hobbyist... I call BS on that! Maybe it's because it's been so long since I did use oil paints that I don't notice a difference between normal oils and waterbased but....

Some also said that if you do use them, then Windsor Newton is the brand to get. My set is WN (I use their watercolors and watercolor cold press paper too) and maybe that's the difference? But because this is a starter set there was no umber or sienna, so I ended up mixing all my browns and using a lot of paint to get there (Color Theory 101 in the Allston Skybox this Sunday!). So I went to my retailer and he didn't have the WN brand, but a brand called Cobra (?) never heard of them. He gave me a sample to try, but ended up ordering the 2 browns in WN anyway. They should be in next week! I'm almost ready to chuck the watercolors out the window I love these so much!

But I won't :)

So have you used water based oils? What's your take on them? I would love to hear from you!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Here Kitty Kitty

People always ask me, "So are you a cat person or a dog person?" I never really believed I was one or the other. But then when D (my beloved kitty for 16 years) passed over the rainbow bridge I was faced with a decision: dog or cat? And then I realized I am a cat person (who really likes dogs!). But yes, a cat person. I love having them on my chest as I sleep. The consistant purring and their playfulness makes up for all the litter box messes I've ever had to clean up.


watercolor & colored pencil

5x7 inches

So some of you know that I belong to the Canine Art Guild. The purpose of the CAG is to bring dog artists together to share ideas, experiences and view each others art. We have shows open to members that are posted on line about once every three months. We have had a few shows open to other species as well as one that exhibited cats only. But for the most part, it's all about the dogs. Some of the members are also a part of the Equestrian Art Guild, celebrating horses in art. So then I was thinking.... is there a Feline Art Guild? and if so, How do I become a member?

3 Kittens, 4 Bowls

watercolor & colored pencil

5x10 inches

Well, there is and it's the Society of Feline Artists and I'm sure it's a great group of artists. But as I looked further into it I found that it's based out of Great Britain. No big deal! I thought since CAG has members from all over the globe. BUT! then I looked a little more into the site and see that they have very few shows. Nothing on line, but classic brick and mortar galleries. Nothing wrong with that either except you HAVE to drop your work of in person! What? Now, mind you, it would cost a small fortune to ship a painting overseas just to have it hanging in a gallery. And I don't know anyone in GB that I could even ship it to. THEN I find you have to be an "Associate Member" for at least a year. While the cost is less that a regular member, as an Associate Member you can enter the London art show, but no guarentee that it would be hung. hmmmmm. Well, let's say I did do it, and for a year. Now I'm a full member. And now (actual quote from the site) "Full Members are expected to support the Society by taking part of the Annual London Exhibition " ???

Sally's Silly Kitties

(from L to R) Barack O'Kitty, Misty & Popeye

Now, I'm not trying to make this a bashing post about SOFA. I'm sure there a great group of people that make wonderful art and love their cats as much as I love mine. But, Ladies, really? I think your guides are a little strict and if you have a reason to be that way I would like to know why. So I'm thinking, should I start my own Feline Art Guild? Would this bring more exposure to cats? to me? to my art? I don't know.

Orange Kitten III

watercolor & colored pencil

5x7 inches

So then a couple of weeks ago, I was reading one of Elin Pendleton's post on CAG (btw, she is one of the few CAGers that I would love to meet and have critique my work. Check out her site here: ) Anyway, she was saying about how most of her animal art sells because there's a connection between the owner and the dog. "And the dog owner isn't just going to simply buy a painting of a golden retriever because she likes golden's but because what golden's mean to her. Whether it be the duck hunter's helper, the child's keeper or the house guard, it's you as the artist need to find that connection and build the art around that. So paint the golden, but paint him hunting, or laying down by the cradle or on the front stoop." (I am paraphrasing but you get the idea). So that being said.... what about cats?

Below are some famous artist's pieces featuring the beloved kitty...







According to her website, Gig was a big influence on A.V Vibes Kitty in her Kitty & Robot webcomic She used to have this great illustration of a cat's butt with "Kitty doesn't like you" on it, but, alas, she doesn't have it anymore :(

Sleepy Toon

Luna Loves You!


Commissioned piece

Watercolor & Colored Pencil

16 x 20 inches

Bowl of Kittens

So do you appreciate your cat? Would you buy cat art if it WASN'T your cat? What do you think of cats in art anyway?

I would love to hear from you!