Sunday, May 31, 2009

Profile: Erin Johnson

Erin Johnson
Erin's blog

Erin's photograph "Tabitha" can be found on page 18 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book.

Erin tells us about herself:

I was born in Alabama and have lived here my whole life (so far anyway). I grew up in Auburn, AL (War Eagle!) where I went to school from 3rd grade until my 2nd year of college and eventually would like to move back. Nothing beats being in Auburn during football season on game day. Now, I am a graphic designer at a small newspaper in Andalusia, AL, but I love to take pictures in my spare time, which one day I would like to turn into my full-time job. Photography has always been a big part of my life. My first camera was a hot pink 110 film camera that I got when I was about 9 or 10. I'm pretty sure I still have it too. Eventually I moved up to a 35mm point & shoot that my grandmother bought me for Christmas one year. I bought my first 35mm SLR right after I graduated high school in 2001. Last year, I finally made the leap to a DSLR. My main focus in my photography is landscapes, flowers, & animals, but I am slowly trying out the portrait photography waters. That is hard for a naturally shy person!

My first published photograph was in a local magazine called Wiregrass Living in the Sept/Oct. 2004 issue. I graduated from Troy University in Troy, Alabama in December 2005 with a degree in graphic design and photography and started working for the local newspaper in Troy that same month. I love to travel whenever I get the chance and have a lot of places that are on my must see list. I finally made my first trip out of the country when my husband and I were on our honeymoon.

My husband and I have been married since July 2008 and live in Enterprise, AL. For now, our only child is Tabitha, our 2 year old cat. This picture of Tabitha was really just an accident. I was trying out my new 50mm lens that I had gotten and usually she doesn't like to pose, but eventually she started getting into it. Now she loves the camera. She also loves milk, sleep and begging my husband and I for affection when she is certain she is not getting enough.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Profile: Denise Picanco

Denise Picanco

Denise's photograph "Majestic" can be found on page 25 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book. Denise tells us about herself:

I’ve been around animals all my life, from chickens, cats, dogs, birds, and fish – my goldfish died at the ripe old age of seven (years) – to rats, gerbils and mice. Having worked at a pet store many, many moons ago, the “runts” or “rejects” often found a cozy home at our house. Having the experience of seeing these living beings suffer so much led me to become more proactive. I avoid pet stores altogether and encourage people to adopt a pet from either the local shelter or rescue groups like Aussie Rescue & Placement Helpline (ARPH), Hopeful Hearts Dog Rescue, and the Ferret Rescue Society of Ottawa & Area (FRSOA).

As a volunteer for Responsible Dog Owners of Canada (RDOC) I get to be a part of something that’s very important to me, and that’s education. I’ve seen the result of puppy mills and pet stores first hand, unfortunately, so if I can help educate just one person on the importance of prevention, animal safety and being a responsible pet owner, then I’ve done my job.

By now you’ve probably realized that I am as passionate about animals as I am about photography. Our two Aussies keep us entertained and out of trouble, and they are often my main models. Our majestic boy, Logan, found his way into the Paws for Charity Art Book this year. He’s very proud and excited to be a part of something so important!

The idea of combining the things I’m most passionate about together and bringing them to life is simply incredible to me. To physically see the love in a mother’s eyes when she looks down at her little girl, playing with the polka dots on her dress; the gentle touch of a little boy’s hand petting the spot between his puppy’s eyes while that little puppy sleeps; the tender touch of a grandfather’s embrace as he sings his granddaughter to sleep in his arms; the serenity of a newlywed couple, snuggling in the grass with their arms around their puppy, around each other as they watch the colors on the trees change, it’s those memories, those emotions, those moments that I love to be a small part of. It’s the feeling of catching those memories as if out of thin air and placing them in a bottle for all of time. Sounds cliché I know, but that’s the feeling I get. That’s why I love doing what I do.

My name in itself, “Denise”, means: “Follower of Dionysus, the Greek God of wine, joy, and theatre, and lover of peace.” My parents named me well. I love making fine art & environmental portraits; I am a vegetarian, animal loving, tree-hugging free spirit. This Portuguese-Canadian girl has passion in abundance, and I firmly believe in the saying “Pay it forward”.

I hope that when people open the book and see the beautiful, wondrous creatures that adorn the pages they not only see the story, feel the experience that each artist is portraying in their piece, but they see the animal, that unbeknownst to them, is helping another species in it’s will for survival, the human. Funny how the tables turn.

Here’s to: “Making Photographs, Making Art, Making Memories, Making a Difference… One click at a time.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Moose enjoys our book

Here is Moose with the 2009 Paws For Charity Art taken by participant Denise Newberry. The book is opened to feature "Dogg the hungry kitty" by Michelle Campbell-Zurek and Denise's painting called "Companion".

We sold our first book on Etsy on Monday thanks to Kelly Snelling's blog post about our Paws For Charity Etsy store! Thanks Kelly!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Etsy Shop

I've created an Etsy shop for those people who would like one of our 2009 Paws For Charity Art Books, but don't want to purchase through All our participants are included in the description of the book, and of course all proceeds from the sale of the books are donated to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade.

Here are the links to our shop...

Softcover book:

Hardcover book (image wrap):

Button pins: (proceeds to benefit Canadian charity Canines With A Cause)

Please tell your friends!

To all our 2009 participants: if you have an etsy shop, and don't see it listed on the Paws For Charity "Favorites" please let me know.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Profile: Denise Newberry

Denise Newberry

Denise's art piece entitled "Companion" can be found on page 5 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book.

Denise tells us a little bit about herself...

I love to make things! As a proprietor and Creative Director at CabinPress Studio my ideas and creations all begin at 9500', it's where I am truly part of the out-of-doors, and time really does stand still amongst the mountains! Creativity at its finest. I grew up in Oakland, New Jersey and my memories of this classic, suburban neighborhood were that it had lots of kids, big trees, ice cream, roller-skating, riding bikes and the Ramapo River right nearby. Along with my life obsession to make things for people, the trail from New Jersey, via Yellowstone National Park, lead me to Colorado many years ago.

When I'm not creating for CabinPress Studio clients you can find me constantly tossing tennis balls for our special Golden Retriever - Moose, making up stories about our cat, knitting, gardening, hiking, listening to music, making stuff, sewing, writing letters, getting mail, daydreaming of owls, being a vegetarian, bird watching, felting, walking, looking at old photographs and pantone color books, visiting fun art shows, picnicking in the park, thinking of the ocean/the sea, reading really good stories, sitting by campfires, thinking of browns and greens and lots of other colors too, sea kayaking the lakes of Colorado, training for a marathon, biking, avoiding traffic jams and driving my car, reading maps, researching everything, and seeing how many pizzelle cookies I can make!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Profile: Miriam Mas

Miriam Mas

Miriam's painting "Lab Puppy By Master's Shoes" can be found on page 24 of our 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book.

Miriam Mas is an Ottawa artist and also the founder of Canines With a Cause. She became involved in the Paws for Charity art book project when she heard about it as she knows how important it is for the community to be actively involved in supporting one another.

Miriam became inspired by the strength of cancer survivors and the vulnerability of those who must fight it and may feel that 'hope' is sliding away. By participating in this project she hopes that others will also get inspired in making a difference by putting their talents to work for the benefit of those who may need help.

Through Canines With A Cause, Miriam is deeply involved in training assistance dogs for people with disabilities. The painting submitted by Miriam, titled 'Lab Puppy by Master's Shoes' was painted with oil on canvas and the original was donated to another non-profit group for a fundraiser to help adolescents at risk in 1993. She is happy that even now, this little painting continues to help others in some way.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Profile: Natalie Heath

Natalie Heath

Natalie's image "Tuesday" can be found on page 21 of our 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book.

Here are a few words from Natalie about herself and Tuesday's photo session:

Currently residing in Ottawa, Ontario, I am passionate about capturing the personalities of my subjects and am committed to supporting various dog rescue organizations and other charities through my photography. My love of animals shines through in my work and I'm dedicated to helping people create lasting memories of the people and pets that share their lives with one another. I have 3 dogs of my own and participate in dog sports with 2 of them.

Tuesday's photo came out of a photo session booked with a friend of mine who is also on my fly ball team. I had told her to bring some props and along with the pink feather boa she also brought some beads and a party collar. I decided to submit the image of Tuesday wearing the pink feather boa because I felt that it was a fitting choice for a breast cancer fundraiser. I'm just so happy that something that I enjoy and love doing so much is going to help other people. Having had a friend die of the disease last year, this art book project is one that is close to my heart.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Profile: Nicole Derr

Nicole Derr

Nicole's photograph "Woman's Best Friend" can be found on page 27 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book. Here is what Nicole would like to share with all of you...

I am Nicole Derr-- wife, daughter, friend, runner, dog lover, artist. I love people. I'm obsessed with stories. And of course, I love photography. In 2008, I took the leap of faith that I'd been waiting for my whole life, and started my own lifestyle photography business, called NMD Photography, and I haven't looked back since. I have the best job in the world: documenting family life and creating art that documents a family's history. My favorite photos occur when my subjects let go, forget about the camera, and show their true colors. I work on location throughout New England, shooting contemporary portraiture (pets included!) and modern, creative wedding photographs. I shoot in a photojournalistic style, primarily using natural light. Starting this business has been an amazing journey, and I am constantly learning learning learning. I'm loving every minute of it!

I took this photo while hiking in western Massachusetts with my dear friend Angela and her dog Bailey. We were taking a snack break, with me resting in the shade, and Ang taking in the sun. I looked up and there they were: woman and dog, taking in the view. Voila! I'm so excited to be a part of the Paws For Charity project, and am inspired by all of the artists involved.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More Stories!

A couple more articles about our Paws For Charity Art Book to tell you about:From left to right: Mulligan, Sara Harley, Cassie

The Bridgewater Bulletin (a weekly paper based on the South Shore of Nova Scotia) published an article today about yours truly and the Paws For Charity Art Book. A BIG THANK YOU to Lisa Brown for coming out to the boonies and spending time with me and my crew. Click here to read the article. (warning: if you have dial up internet access it will take a while to load)
Nepean This Week (a weekly paper published in Nepean, Ontario...a suburb of Ottawa) has published a story about participant Miriam Mas. Click here to read the full article.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Profile: Allison Featherstone

Allison Featherstone

Allison's photo "Unnamed" can be found on page 8 of the Paws For Charity Art Book.

Here's how Allison describes herself and the photo included in our project:

I'm a portrait photographer residing in Kitchener, ON where I reside with my husband and two children, Faith 3 and Aidan 6. We have a new addition to our family Remy, 3 month old yellow lab pup. We love hiking and the outdoors. We spend a lot of timing travelling to BC to visit our extended family there. I'm also a volunteer photographer with an organization called Littlest Heroes Project.

This particular photo I sent in for the Paws for Charity (2009) is one of my first official sessions after the launch of my new photography business. It was particularly poignant to me as it was a woman who wanted to memorialize her beloved pet Lab. It felt like yesterday I lost my old dog and it was touching to me to share this event with them. Also a fun part of the photoshoot is we recreated a photograph that was in her family of her Grandpa with his beloved dog. It worked out just great, and many photos from this session remain some of my favorites.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Profile: Jackie Morris

Jackie Morris

"Signpost" can be found on page 9 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book. I was intrigued by this photo from the moment I saw it. How in the world did the ginger cat get up that post? You can find the answer by reading this entry on the We Three Cats blog.

For Jackie's bio, I have taken bits and pieces from the biography page of her website. The words are written by Jackie:

...from at least the age of six I wanted to be an artist. I watched my dad drawing a picture of a lapwing, making a bird appear on a piece of paper using only a pencil, and I thought it was some magic that made this happen. So there and then I decided to learn how to conjure birds from paper and colour.

I went to school in Evesham to Prince Henry's High School and I remember walking to school past shop fronts above which elegant buildings grew. I used to get told off at school for drawing and dreaming. Now I get paid to do both.

I remember walking in the park by the river, bank voles and weeping willows and bright flashes of kingfishers. I loved the ferry at Hampton where the ferryman pulled you across the river to a land of fields and blackberries, where my dad would walk with me and show me how to find birds' nests and tales of when he was a boy.

After school I went to college, first in Hereford, then to Exeter where they told me that I would never make it as an illustrator and from there I escaped to Bath Academy, set in a beautiful stately home in Corsham. Here I developed a love for peacocks. These bright birds with their ridiculous tails would fly into our gardens.

After college I moved briefly to London, just off Balham High Road. I thought you had to live in London because that is where most of the publishing houses are. (It didn't take me long to realize that I was not born to live in a city) It was here that my real education began as I took my portfolio around magazine publishers and book publishers. I worked in magazines and books for seven years, for The New Statesman, New Socialist, Independent, Guardian and Radio Times. I designed cards and calendars for Greenpeace and Amnesty International and fell into children's books by accident.

I moved to Wales just before starting my first children's book, Jo's Storm, by Caroline Pitcher and have lived in the same place ever since, a small cottage held together by spider's webs. Cats come and go. At the moment I share the house with Tom and Hannah, my son and daughter, Floss and Bella, two odd dogs, and Maurice, Pixie, Elmo, Martha and Max, cats of various colour but mostly ginger.

Things I like: Blue, cats, the smell of honeysuckle, rose petals, birds, words, fires, good books, crayons and paint, the smell of a new book, polar bears, moonlight and moonshadows, stars, sunrise, sunset, dew on the grass, poetry, red, random acts of kindness, long gold grass of late summer, the sound of the wind in the trees, the brush of a butterfly's wings, the fragility of bone, wasp's nests, washing on a line blowing in the wind on a sunny winter's day, the patterns the sea draws on a beach each day and night.

Wishes and Desires: I would like a grandfather clock that chimes the hour and has a big key to wind it up. It would sit in my studio and when I have painted for six hours I would get up to make tea and wind back time, because what I need more than anything is more hours in the day. I would like infinite patience and a quiet mind. I would like a tidy house, clean and smelling of roses or frankincense, instead of a house that looks as if it inhabited by trolls and smelling of wet dogs. I would like my garden to be consumed by the hillside, to grow heather and foxgloves and all things wild, where snakes and spiders live with butterflies and birds.

Things I like to do: Walk, fly kites, watch birds fly, lie back on a high rock and watch clouds form and disperse, lie back in a wood and watch leaves fall, read, watch a good film under a blanket of cats, making things appear on paper using only coloured water, walking by shallow rivers where water tumbles over clear stone beds.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Profile: Michelle Ciarlo-Hayes

Michelle Ciarlo-Hayes
Michelle's blog

I'm sure you all recognize "Sandy Paws" by now. Michelle's photo "Sandy Paws" is our cover photo, and can also be found on page 10 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book.

Michelle is a writer and photographer now living in Philadelphia. She spent her youth in Virginia, received her Bachelor’s degree in English Literature at the University of Mary Washington, and completed her Master’s Degree in Women’s Studies at the University of Oxford. She has traveled the world with pen and camera in hand, and her short stories appear in a number of literary anthologies. Last year, Michelle exhibited her photographs in several venues in Philadelphia, including City Hall and the Tiberino Memorial Museum. She is honored to have multiple shows already planned in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey for 2009.

Michelle lives with her husband, two little boys, two dogs, and a vast amount of unsorted laundry, but she believes the chores can wait. She prefers to spend her time laughing, dreaming, playing, writing, and capturing mood and moment with her camera.And here's what our cover model looks like!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Published Articles

An article has been written about Jennie Huettel in Shopper News Now. If the above image is a wee bit too small for you to read, click on this link to download the paper. The article is on page 5.

The article below was published in this month's North Grenville Newsletter. It lists the 4 artists from Ottawa, Canada and features the painting "Lab puppy by master's shoes" by Miriam Mas (page 24 of the Art Book). You can download the full NG Newsletter here. The article is on page 27.

More articles coming soon!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Profile: Hilary Burt

Hilary Burt
Born in Southampton, Hilary has had a life long love of dogs starting with her little white poodle, Chloe, who used to sit with her in her pram. Georgie, a Golden Retriever, and Jessie, a black Labrador-Cross are the current canine companions of Hilary and her husband Mark.
Her website,, started in March 2008 as a celebration of her love for dogs. The site promotes a dog-friendly and active lifestyle and runs a monthly photo contest.

Her interest in photography goes back to her teenage years when she bought her first SLR camera and was runner up in a BBC photography competition. She travelled to Bangladesh in 1988 and on her return was lucky enough to exhibit her photos. However working as a full-time primary school teacher in London by day, and taking part in a variety of musical projects by night, Hilary ended up putting her photographic aspirations on hold.

Since moving to Brighton in 2003, going freelance as a teacher and creating a more balanced life for herself, she has been able to return to her interest in photography albeit with her trusty point and shoot instant camera which was used incidentally for the picture of the three collies. Hilary says: “I never leave home without my little camera. You just never know who or what’s going to be round the corner. My featured photo was taken on a glorious Autumn day in October. I was walking my dogs in Brighton, turned around and over the hill saw the three collies running down towards us. I whipped out my camera and managed to capture the image!"

In March 2009 she bought her very first digital SLR camera and hopes to return to photography in a more serious way. “I want to thank Sara Harley for choosing one of my photos for this amazing book. It has inspired me to buy a ‘posh’ camera and get my lens back out. And all for such a great cause. I hope the book makes a real difference.”
Sussex Dog Walk is featured on page 29 of the 2009 Paws For Charity Art Book.