‘Bad Pet Art’ helping to put the fun in fundraiser

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The Maui Humane Society (MHS) will host its second annual ‘Bad Pet Art Fundraiser’ from Thursday, Feb. 25 through Sunday, Feb. 28.

Pet owners can submit photos of their pets. For a $20 donation those photos will be recreated as hand-drawn art — not by artists, but by staff and volunteers at the shelter.

The 2020 Bad Pet Art Fundraiser raised over $2,000 for MHS. All donations received benefit animals at the shelter.

As with the previous fundraiser, anticipating the amateur artist takes of beloved pets should be half the fun and receiving the original artwork, the other half.  According to a quote on the MHS website from the Director of Development and Marketing, Jennifer Miller, “We had so much fun drawing people’s pets and the response from the community was great. We have even framed some of the more outrageous interpretations of pets…that keep us smiling, like the kitty that was drawn like a loaf of bread with a cat face.”

For more information, please visit the Maui Humane Society’s website: https://www.mauihumanesociety.org/khon2-maui-humane-society-to-host-bad-pet-art-fundraiser/

 

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Starry Night and cats

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One of my favorite works of art  has always been Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night (1889).

And I’m not alone. According to Wikipedia, the painting is one of the most recognized Western works of art.

The original is an oil-on-canvas painting, but reproductions of the piece in  all kinds of different forms are “everywhere,” according to https://www.vangoghgallery.com/painting/starry-night.html. This includes coffee mugs, t-shirts, magnets and more.

And people seem to love incorporating their favorite things into the painting. I’ve seen everything from Darth Vader-themed versions of Starry Night to Starry Night cupcakes and cake.

So, has anyone thought of combining the painting with another universal favorite? A.k.a cats? Why, yes. Many, many, many people…

According to https://www.etsy.com/market/cat_starry_night, there are 930 “cat starry night” for sale on Etsy, and they cost $19.08 on average.

And that’s just  on Etsy of interpretations with everything from hyper-realistic cats to kitties who match Van Gogh’s colorful, flowing style.

I decided I wanted  to try my hand at seeing how I would do with my own digital art version, using Adobe Illustrator, which is shown below.

Starry Night with Kitties

Starry Night with two cats

I’m pretty happy with how it came out overall, although I would say it would have been easier if I had started out with a plan and maybe researched some of the brushes I could have used in Illustrator before I dove in and started creating. It was also really time-consuming because there are so many lines and tiny brush strokes in the original and I wanted to get as close as possible. That meant switching from one brush type to another, and from one color to another, etc. But, on a computer, so many different lines and other elements start slowing down everything because it takes a lot of the computer’s memory. Saving the ffile, (which I do repeatedly out of habit because I hate losing work) took a couple of minutes each time.

I then did another version in which I played with the background color and the “swirls in the middle a bit” and made some other changes. I like that this version looks a little closer to the original and also a little cleaner, but I still wish it had  texture throughout, like the original does. I may still play around with it a bit.

Starry Night with cats

Starry Night with Kittties, second version.

I think Van Gogh’s work looks deceptively simple, but, when you break it down, it is actually extremely complex. Van Gogh is one of my favorite painters/artists, but, to say the least, this “tribute” gave me a whole new respect for his incredible talent.

Below is his actual painting:

The Starry Night

The Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

For lots more information about The Starry  Night, visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Starry_Night

Related:

Dogs Playing Poker and Caturday Art

Wow, these pets can paint! A look at pet artists


Door handles available for home decor for the lover of dog and cat art

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As an avid naturalist and dog lover, Martin Pierce is now launching eight dog-themed, bronze door handles in a new collection.

Poodle doorknob

Poodle dog handle part of a new door hardware collection by Martin Pierce that includes 8 dog breeds and is cast in solid bronze, made to order, and geared toward interior designers and dog lovers.

You can view the entire new dog door handle collection here.

 


Artist’s 90th birthday exhibition includes monumentally-scaled detailed paintings of cats’ coats

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Peter Freeman, Inc., is pleased to announce a retrospective of Alex Hay’s work through May 29, 2021.

Originally planned for April 2020, which was the month of the artist’s 90th birthday last year, this exhibition is the sixth for this artist at this gallery.

Hay’s latest paintings, on view for the first time, are monumentally-scaled details of the coats of four of his cats, TitoLilyBella, and Marigold. What distinguishes the new series is their multi-panel format: each cat is represented by two to four canvases that can be mixed and matched, shown in any order or orientation.

According to a press release, circumstance has always been an impetus for Hay’s work, is at their core. By responding to and recording his whereabouts or activities, making use of a tool or material at hand, Hay’s work reflects his state of perpetual observation.

The exhibition includes paintings, sculpture, and drawings from 1963 to 2020, with loans from the Archives of American Art, The Lowe Art Museum, Weatherspoon Art Museum, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Alex Hay moved to New York from Florida in 1959, and by 1962 was a part of the nascent Judson Dance Theatre, gaining early recognition for his performances, while simultaneously working as a visual artist. Following his first group exhibition in 1964, he had solo exhibitions at Kornblee Gallery in 1967, 1968 and 1969—all of which were met with critical attention, and from which the Whitney Museum of American Art as well as influential collectors acquired works.

Hay showed two- and three-dimensional, larger-than-life painted representations of everyday objects and things he liked, including breakfast, a light bulb, paper bags, a cash register receipt, notebook pages, and restaurant guest checks.

By the early seventies he began making annual drives cross country, spending increasingly more time outside of New York, and often hosted on the West Coast by Stanley and Elyse Grinstein, important figures on the Los Angeles art scene. Finally Hay settled in Bisbee, Arizona, pulling away from the gallery system, as his interest in esoteric subjects developed along with his desire to limit distractions and outside influences on his work which always continued.

For more information, visit: https://www.peterfreemaninc.com/exhibitions

Related:

Looking for a gift for cat lover who also loves art? Check out Still Life with Cat

‘Balloon Dog’ and ‘Puppy’ artist teaching art and creativity on MasterClass

Professional artists loves to draw cats and share their special stories


Looking for a gift for cat lover who also loves art? Check out Still Life with Cat

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I recently created this orange guy after I had a vision of him in my head. He reminds me of all wonderful orange cats, including Jingles, a cat I adopted a few years ago who lives with my son now.

Jingles, pretending he is a pitball dispenser.

In my mind’s eye, for no particular reason, I envisioned a pleasantly plump orange cat lounging in a window and I decided to see if I could draw him digitally. He came out pretty good, so I first put him in front of a beach background. I liked that and then I decided to create a Matisse-like background for him.

Orange cat digital art

He’s available on fineartamerica.com as an art print, poster, pillow, mug, t-shirt and more, but I think he looks the coolest as a duvet cover.

https://fineartamerica.com/featured/still-life-with-cat-barbara-bullington.html?product=duvet-cover-full

He’s not alone there either. A number of my other digital kitties are on display at the followwing link if you want to check them out: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/barbara-bullington


Related:

Wow my pet did that artwork now available on fineartamerica.com

Cats’ first date artwork

The American Kennel Club Museum is now open in New York City

Fun facts about cat yoga

 


Happy Spring bunny gif

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Believe it or not, spring is only 22 days away! As we anxiously await warmer weather, we thought we’d share our Happy Spring bunny a little early!

Happy spring bunny gif

Feel free to use this gif on your website! Here’s the embed code:

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Happy Holidays and a free, printable Christmas card from Wow My Pet Did That

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Happy holidays from Wow My Pet Did That!

We hope you enjoy this Christmas art and free, printable card.

Christmas card2

 


A look at how to make a Photoshop cat flower bouquet

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Here are three versions of a cat “flower bouquet” created using Photoshop and also with the help of Lunapic.com.

cat photoshopped into flower vase"sketch" version of Motor the cat in flowers

cat in flower vase photo with Picasso effectThe first one was made entirely in Photoshop. The second and third were brought into Lunapic.com and the Sketch2 and Picasso effects were added, respectively.

 

If you’re interested in making your own, you can use the tutorial video below.

 

Professional artists loves to draw cats and share their special stories

Reading Time: 8 minutes

“I’m doing this because I love cats,” Garland relates. “And to me they’re all very unique and special, so I want to celebrate the cat that each person loves so much.”


Ann Garland has drawn cats from all over the world,

capturing their unique personalities

and commemorating their special lives.


It has been said many times that cats helped build the internet. And no wonder. The World Wide Web is a seemingly endless resource for those who need a funny cat video fix, a tutorial on how to draw a cat, or who want to learn more about caring for their feline companions.

But, with so much cat-related content, it might seem as if it has all been done before. How can anyone possibly add anything new to the mix?

Anyone asking that question will likely be both pleasantly surprised and impressed should they come across the youtube channel, “I love to draw cats,” and the videos of professional artist Beverly Garland, each of which shows the process of creating a cat portrait and the special story of the feline being drawn.

Clicking on one of these videos for the first time, a viewer might instantly be captivated by the look behind the scenes into the life of a cat and artwork being created. In the 6-minute video of “Archie of NZ: Cat Portrait in Colored Pencil,” for example, the warm, lighthearted narration by Garland relates the story of Archie, an orange tabby from New Zealand. The time-elapsed process of transforming a photo of Archie into a charcoal pencil drawing is interlaced with additional photos as well as video of the kitty. Viewers learn about Archie, including the anecdote of his mysteriously expanding girth and his concerned owners’ attempts to find out the cause. Without giving away too much of the plot, it’s safe to say that Archie was an astoundingly clever, little fellow, not to mention a bit of a cat burglar who never met a meal he didn’t like.

Each of the videos by Garland, who has drawn cats from all over the world, similarly highlights a feline’s back story and personality.

“I’m doing this because I love cats,” Garland relates. “And to me they’re all very unique and special so I want to celebrate the cat that each person loves so much.”

Garland adds that she feels a connection with each cat she draws.

“I kind of fall in love with the cats in the process too because I know their stories,” she says.

Besides highlighting the cats, Garland is also very cognizant of the impact each animal has had on the lives of the person or people who have adopted it, noting that a big part of her work involves honoring people’s love for their animals.

“I feel like I’m privy to this wonderful little private piece of people’s lives,” she states. “I feel very honored to be allowed in to see what’s important to them and listen to their stories. It’s a very fun and rewarding part of the work that I do.”


A bevy of awards:

It’s likely this combination of creativity and passion for what she does that landed Garland a number of awards from the Cat Writer’s Association this past August.

During the CWA annual awards banquet for the yearly Communications Contest, which was held virtually this year, Garland was presented with the MUSE Medallion for the “Social Media Excellence: Humor and Entertainment” category.

In addition, her video drawing, “Jugg, the Tortie Pet Portrait” won the Kari Winters’ Rescue and Rehabilitation Award.

And, perhaps, most notably, Garland received the CWA President’s Award.

According to a press release, Deb Barnes, who served as president for the CWA through September 2020, awarded “Jugg” and Garland’s YouTube Channel this “Best of the Best” Award, because, “This entry captured my heart with its compelling use of storytelling, drawing and videography.”

Barnes also lauded Garland’s artistic talents.

“The drawings are exquisite works of art and the use of colored pencils to create the finest of details – from the delicate wisp of a whisker to the beautiful twinkle in the cat’s eye, the window to the soul of a cat – each drawing is beautifully representative of the commissioned cat, becoming a treasured, keepsake work of art,” Barnes related in the press release.


The creative process:

Garland relates that generating such realistic portraits involves a painstaking process and that she sometimes almost feels as if she’s drawing each piece of cat hair individually. Fortunately, she says, the pencil medium she uses lends itself to detail.

screenshot from Archie video

Archie’s eyes being brought to life by Garland can be seen in this screenshot from the youtube video from I Love Cats. (Used with permission of artist.)

“I can get super realistic with things like fur,” she notes.

Once a light outline of a kitty is on the canvas, the eyes are usually the first to be enhanced and filled in. In fact, Garland says she can only recall one instance when she didn’t start with the eyes.

“I like to get the eyes right because I feel like it’s a really special feature to the cat’s humans where their personality can really come through,” she explains.

What’s the most challenging part?

Whiskers, according to Garland.

She says she creates whiskers with a colored pencil powder and paint mix. The whiskers can be kind of tricky because getting the thickness correct is important. Also, since they’re usually the last part of the image to be applied, there’s always the potential for messing up the whole time-consuming piece of work.

“When I’m doing portraits, I just want to get it really right,” Garland states.

But along with the challenges come the rewards.

“I like seeing the cat’s eyes and the face,” she says, adding that she is a cat lover and finds each feline to be unique and special. “I’m not just putting colors down on a piece of paper. I’m drawing a little being.”

Perhaps what might be most surprising to many when viewing her artwork is that Garland, who earned her master’s degree in geography and the environment, is a mostly self-taught artist, who learned about drawing with pencils from various resources, including a book.

But, the lifelike eyes, uncanny reproduction of fur markings and capture of some intangible element in their posture that makes the cats appear as if they are about to leap off the canvas and meow or beg for a cat treat, all seem to suggest years of rigorous formal artistic training.

portrait of two cats

CaliNBiscuit
All rights reserved.
Used with permission from Beverly Garland.

That’s not to say that every day on the job as a cat artist isn’t rigorous training in and of itself.

She offers her portraits in three different sizes. The small, which is 9 inches by 12 inches, and the medium, which is 12 inches by 16 inches, are the most popular. The larger size, 18 inches by 24 inches, is usually for depicting multiple cats.

While the “I love to draw cats” youtube video lengths range from a little over 2 minutes to the Archie video, which, technically is 6 minutes and 19 seconds, the process of creating the video and portrait is rather time-consuming.

Garland says that it can vary and that some cats just take longer to draw than others. But, she estimates that there’s usually about a day of preparing for the drawing. At this point, she will choose a photo for the cat she is about to draw, open it in Photoshop and examine it carefully to get a sense of all of the colors involved in order to pick out the right color pencils and also determine which pencils may need to be blended for a specific hue.

“Colored pencils are rarely just the right shade you need for something as organic as a cat,” explains Garland.

She’ll next draw a very light grid on the paper and create a grid on the photo so she can ensure features of the cat will be placed correctly as she starts to draw.

It can take a day or two just to do all that.

Once she starts drawing, there’s usually about a day spent on the face and the head…a day for the body. And, then…maybe another day for finishing detail.

That is typically followed by a day of writing and editing the video script. Another 24 hours is reserved for recording the sound.

And, finally, there’s usually a final day spent editing the video portion and peppering in the candid photos.

While time-consuming, Garland’s creative process has recently been enhanced due to the purchase of a new camera and microphone, which she bought with some of the award money received from the CWA.

Garland says she was thrilled and surprised to receive the awards, especially since she was fairly new to the Cat Writer’s Association, which she joined in 2019. Last year also saw the launch of “I love to draw cats” on youtube (in January).


Have cat, will travel:

As a frequent traveler, Garland says that charcoal pencil is perfect to work with because it’s highly portable, easy to fit in a carry-on bag, there’s no cleanup involved, and, unlike with painting, no water is needed.

With roots in Illinois and Texas, she has been living and traveling with her partner, Cobra, and one of her senior cats, in a retired school bus.

“We usually cover 5,000-plus miles each year,” Garland notes. “Creating cat portraits is the perfect business to do on the road in a confined space.”

COVID has slowed down art commissions somewhat because she is currently not able to go to cat shows and PetCon, which she had been doing prior to this March. However, she remains busy with requests for portraits that were already lined up.

Also slowed down for the present time is travel, which Garland says she does largely for fun with her partner, in prior years traveling regularly to Burning Man in Nevada, and then exploring other areas by camping and hiking on the way back.

Garland credits Cobra, whom she describes as very supportive, with coming up with the idea for the cat videos and the name for the business.

“He saw that I was already making videos of my drawings just to kind of record the drawing process,” Garland says, adding that he mentioned it would be a great idea to include the story of a cat in the video of it. “I have to give him a lot of credit for doing that and for sensing how neat that would be for others, and for me too.”

Beverly Garland and Galactica

The duo, and Garland’s cat, Galactica (as in the TV show “Battlestar Galactica”), are currently In Texas, about four or five minutes away from Austin.

Although the cat, named after a series about space travel, wasn’t sure about life on the road at first, Garland says Galactica quickly took to it. While they are currently in Texas, they go out for walks together, keeping the feline safe and accounted for with a radio collar transmitter and a little flashing red light on her collar.


The future and where to find her online

So, with a mastery of creating cat portraits and a growing fan base, does Garland plan to draw other animals?

Well, yes, and, no. Garland says she loves dogs, but that, depending on the dog, they can be outside of her wheelhouse. She has done one dog portrait, for a friend, but jokes that she sometimes reminds people who ask about dogs or other animals at trade shows that her business is named “I love to draw cats.”

That being said, she relates that, if she were to branch out, she would someday like to launch an “I love to draw horses,” website, a possible venture that likely would thrill horse lovers all over the world.

In addition to the “I love to draw cats” youtube channel, Garland can also be found on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/ilovetodrawcats/

and facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ilovetodrawcats