Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Artist Profile: Rebecca Rowsell

The 2014 Paws For Charity Project involves a few "local" participants as well as artists from around the world. Today I'd like to introduce you to Rebecca Rowsell, one of our local photographers, and a big supporter of SHAID, the animal shelter that this project raises money for.
Rebecca Rowsell     rowsellphotography.webs.com
 Where do you live? What made you want to contribute to this project?
I live in Barss Corner, Nova Scotia. The animal shelter, SHAID is very important to me, I know first hand how important the work there is and how many homeless animals they help each year. I started as a volunteer 3 years ago, began working there 2 years ago and continue to donate many hours a week of my time to the shelter. Part of the volunteering I do at SHAID is fundraising, being a part of this great book is an opportunity for me to show my continued support for SHAID. 

What are some things, people, or places that inspire you?
I am always inspired by animals, all sorts of animals. I love to photograph dogs and cats, it is an amazing thing to capture their beauty, personality and expressions. I am fortunate to live on a river and daily photograph the many animals and all the beauty around them. Animals are truly amazing and inspiring. 

Tell us about a current project you are working on?
I am currently working on a very special project, a fundraiser for my sister's Relay For Life team, Tina's Tigers. They are planning a fun/family day to raise money for cancer research and I was asked to do a photo booth. I am honored and excited to contribute by donating my time and all supplies to this in honor of my Sister. I will have lots of props for all ages and it is sure to be a fun and successful fundraiser for another great cause.

You can contact Rebecca through her web page rowsellphotography.webs.com or facebook: Rowsell Photography - Rebecca Rowsell.

Thanks for participating in this project Rebecca!


Click on this link to preview this year's book: http://www.blurb.com/books/5210564-2014-paws-for-charity
For a 25% discount on your purchase, input coupon code P4C2014 (valid until June 30, 2014). All proceeds from the sale of these books are donated to Sheltering Helpless Animals in Distress (SHAID.ca), an animal Shelter in Nova Scotia.
E-books are also available...you can preview e-books here: http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/468601-2014-paws-for-charity

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Artist Profile: Vicki Jackson

Today we hear from Vicki Jackson. You can find out more about her on her website: vickijacksonart.com
Vicki Jackson with Heidi    vickijacksonart.com
Where do you live? What made you want to contribute to help raise funds for an animal shelter in Nova Scotia?
I live in Renwick, a small town in Marlborough, New Zealand. It is part of the country’s foremost wine growing region. I first heard of the Paws for Charity Project this year, just a few days before the deadline for applicants. This is a project with a lot of heart! The concept is brilliant - a fantastic way for animal lovers, artists and photographers to collectively contribute to a worthy cause. Who wouldn’t want to buy such a delightful book that gives 100% of profits directly to the care of animals in need

What are some things, people, or places that inspire you?
Nature is second to none the biggest source of my inspiration. Just the other day I was taking our dog Heidi on her morning walk and came across a dead starling. It blew my mind how incredibly beautiful the plumage was. I took it home in a bag to photograph and sketch.
In New Zealand we are very lucky to have a great diversity of natural & wild environments to visit. Nearby, the Marlborough Sounds, Kaikoura & Nelson Lakes are all areas of high conservation and scenic value. On our doorstep we have a small natural planting styled garden which is an endless source of inspiration with the change of seasons and cycle of life. We have planted quite a variety of trees & shrubs which are typically NZ - to attract the native birds. The plants have now got their roots down and it is gratifying to see an increase in the number of nectar feeders, such as the beloved native Tui, Bellbird & Silvereye. We even had a wild Green Bell Frog take up residence in the summer. This time of year (Autumn) the delightful fantails are very frequent visitors and are also very charming to have around.
There are so many artists that I greatly admire. In the contemporary wildlife art world some of my favorites (for want of a better word) from afar are: Raymond Ching, Robert Bateman, Carl Brenders, William T Cooper & Carel Brest van Kempen.

Do you have a certain "style" in mind when you create your images?
My style of art is detailed realism and is typically portraiture. Whenever I paint an animal portrait, domestic or wild - I strive to create a sensitive piece that evokes an emotional response from the viewer and does justice to the animal. When capturing pets I usually like to keep the background very simple and free of distraction from the subject. With wildlife, often I like to include some of its natural habitat in the painting and a sense of where it belongs and its behaviour. Pastel has a lovely soft quality that lends itself well to rendering animals. Acrylic is a medium that I have only just recently begun to explore.

Tell us about a future project you have in mind?
Something that I have dreamed of doing for a while now is visiting the Archipelago’s of Indonesia & Malaysia - for its outstanding biodiversity and unique wildlife. I will of course love to see the endangered Orangutan of Borneo & also the unusual Proboscis Monkey, Sumatra’s endangered Elephant and critically endangered Orangutan, Rhino and Tiger. Other fascinating creatures such as the Komodo Dragon, Papua’s Birds of Paradise, an array of other birds, exotic marsupials & monkeys. Not to mention all the invertebrates. I would love to then put together a dedicated series of artworks from the trip and hopefully raise funds and awareness to benefit the conservation of these species.

Thanks Vicki...I'm so glad you participated in the 2014 Paws For Charity Project!

Click on this link to preview this year's book: http://www.blurb.com/books/5210564-2014-paws-for-charity
For a 25% discount on your purchase, input coupon code P4C2014 (valid until June 30, 2014). All proceeds from the sale of these books are donated to Sheltering Helpless Animals in Distress (SHAID.ca), an animal Shelter in Nova Scotia.
E-books are also available...you can preview e-books here: http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/468601-2014-paws-for-charity

 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Artist Profile: Nicole Begley

Throughout the year, I'll be featuring a "question and answer" post from each of the participants for the 2014 Paws For Charity Project. Today we hear from Nicole Begley  You can find Nicole through her website nicolebegleyphotography.com or on facebook at  www.facebook.com/nicolebegleypets .
Nicole Begley      nicolebegleyphotography.com
Where do you live? What made you want to contribute to help raise funds for an animal shelter in NS?

I live in Pittsburgh and I am always looking for ways to give back with my business with local shelters, so naturally I jumped on board when I saw this opportunity to help raise funds for a great cause.
 
Tell us about one of your favorite photo shoots/painting commissions?
Is it possible to say that every animal photo shoot is my favorite?  Honestly, it seems that my favorite is whichever shoot has been most recent.  I do love when I have the opportunity to head out to a farm to photograph a horse though.  I grew up riding horses and miss being in that setting every day.  


Do you have a certain "style" in mind when you create your images?
My Style is continuing to evolve, and it will most likely always be evolving to a point. I've always been drawn to images that connect with the pet on a level that showcases their personality. One of the biggest compliments that I can get from a client is that I captured so many different expressions from their pet.


Do you ever find yourself in a creative dry spell? What do you do to get yourself inspired?
It's important to continue to pick up the camera and shoot for yourself....especially when you are busy so that you don't get stuck in a rut.  It also helps to go out a learn a new technique.  I've recently been finding inspiration while watching House of Cards.  Not only does the plot and characters of the show keep you on the edge of the seat, but I've had to pause it several times just to take in the lighting....it's scrumptious.

Thanks Nicole...I'm so glad you participated in the 2014 Paws For Charity Project!

Click on this link to preview this year's book: http://www.blurb.com/books/5210564-2014-paws-for-charity
For a 25% discount on your purchase, input coupon code P4C2014 (valid until June 30, 2014). All proceeds from the sale of these boks are donated to Sheltering Helpless Animals in Distress (SHAID.ca), an animal Shelter in Nova Scotia.
E-books are also available...you can preview e-books here: http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/468601-2014-paws-for-charity

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Artist Profile: Nan Johnson

Throughout the year, I'll be featuring a "question and answer" post from each of the participants for the 2014 Paws For Charity Project. Today we hear from Nan Johnson.
Visit Nan at her website: www.nanjohnsonfineart.com  or her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/NanJohnsonFineArt
Nan Johnson      nanjohnsonfineart.com
Where do you live? What made you want to contribute to help raise funds for an animal shelter in NS?
I live in New Jersey, US. There are 2 things I love - art & animals. When given the chance to combine them AND to help the shelter & their animals, I jump at the chance! I had participated in the Love From Me project book a few years ago. When the Paws book was mentioned, I immediately sent in photos to be involved. So glad that SHAID benefits from this!

Do you have a certain "style" in mind when you create your images?
The "style" for a painting definitely hinges on the subject, and if doing an animal, their personality. Dogs always seem more gregarious, and so I paint them with bolder strokes. Their eyes are soulful and I try to add that life to them. Cats are always more aloof, and so their images are done with that atmosphere -- except for their eyes! Their eyes are often so intense.

Tell us about a future project you have in mind?
I have previously done a Pet Portrait giveaway on my Facebook page & blog - and have decided to do it again this year. Probably during the month of May, with the winner picked by random drawing. Last years winner was so excited - and "Brady" on my Paws page is her pet!

What is your favorite photo/art piece and why?
I don't have a favorite specific piece, but I do have a favorite "moment" whenever I am doing a Pet Portrait. It's when I complete the face - the nose, mouth & eyes. It brings the dog to life suddenly. I recently did a portrait for a friend of her family dog from long ago. I knew this dog back then so I was anxious to do his portrait - and I wanted it to come out perfect. When I did the eyes I nearly dropped the brush. It was him! From 35 years ago starring back at me and I suddenly felt like I had brought him back to life! It's both a wonderful, and also a bit freaky, moment when that happens.


Thanks Nan....I'm so glad you participated in the 2014 Paws For Charity Project!

Click on this link to preview this year's book: http://www.blurb.com/books/5210564-2014-paws-for-charity
For a 25% discount on your purchase, input coupon code P4C2014 (valid until June 30, 2014) All proceeds from the sale of these books are donated to Sheltering Helpless Animals in Distress (SHAID.ca), an animal shelter in Nova Scotia.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

we hit the best seller list!


The 2014 Paws For Charity book has hit the best seller list at Blurb Books! Hopefully we'll reach the number 1 spot again this year.

You can help us reach number 1 and save 25% off your order by using coupon code P4C2014 when you check out. Here is the link to view and/or order the book: http://www.blurb.com/books/5210564-2014-paws-for-charity

Ebooks are also available, but the coupon code can't be used for ebooks: 
http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/468601-2014-paws-for-charity


All proceeds from book sales are donated to Sheltering Helpless Animals in Distress (SHAID.ca).

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Artist Profile: Tom Myers

Throughout the year, I'll be featuring a "question and answer" post from each of the participants for the 2014 Paws For Charity Project. Today we hear from Tom Myers - Bundle of Paws Photography.
Tom Myers - Bundle Of Paws Photography
Where do you live? What made you want to contribute to help raise funds for an animal shelter in NS?
I live in Robbinsville, NJ.  I had heard of the Paws for Charity Project through other members of HeARTs Speak, and thought it a unique way that I could help animals who would otherwise be out of my reach.  I have found volunteering for my local rescue so rewarding and felt that if I could help other animals in need, even who I’d not personally met, why not?   Plus it is a great opportunity to participate with other like minded artists who spend their time ‘on the ground’ to help where they can.

Tell us about one of your favorite photo shoots.
I think my favorite session occurred in the middle of this past winter when I was commissioned to shoot a senior West Highland White Terrier named Chibi.  Chibi, which means “Little One” in Japanese, had been surrendered at a shelter, had cataracts and was blind and his future looked grim.  Miraculously he was adopted by a wonderful man who was also very social media savvy who used a crowd source funding site to raise money to pay for Chibi’s double cataract surgery.  We did our shoot right after a heavy snowfall, with pristine snowpack and a real wooden sled and a true winter theme and Chibi was a trooper.   Those images were used on his website to stimulate interest for people to participate and donate to the surgery.  This was special to me not only to have the opportunity to improve the life of a great dog with his new family, but also because my wife’s child-hood dog who really instilled in her the love of animals was also a Westie…..named Chibi, so I thought this was really one of those ‘meant to be’ interactions in life.

Do you have a certain "style" in mind when you create your images?
I try very hard to show the emotion in the pet so the viewer can almost feel what the pet was feeling when the image was made.  Sometimes I will do this with an environmental shot, where you see the pet running, with the family, and can appreciate them in full in their environment.  But my favorite shots are the close up, literally in your face shots giving a look right into the soul of the animal through their eyes.  I love that tight work, often which I make with a simple 50mm 1.4 lens, so I am right in there.  I try and convey the beauty of the eyes vibrantly and clearly, and just love that look and seeing literally every strand of fur around the face and eyes.  It’s important to develop trust with the pet, and for them to know they are safe and that neither I, nor the camera pose any threat to them.   Sometimes on my business facebook page I’ll go even more macro and use that aspect ratio for the cover photo to put up images of just the eyes.  I think that format actually works well to convey the emotion that was occurring, even though you can’t see the rest of the animal in that type shot. 

Would you tell us about a future project you have in mind?
I’ve been thinking for a future project to create a book featuring urban area wildlife.   I don’t often think folks who live in and around cities grinding through the daily hustle and bustle have the opportunity to observe the wildlife around them.  I love animals – domesticated and wild, and have been compiling shots of animals in the wild as I have had the opportunity to travel around the US.  I am struck by how animals adapt to human encroachment, and what impact we are having on their lives.  Last year I was on an airboat in a swamp in Florida shooting wild gators, and we’d let the boat drift up to shore as I lied on the deck of the boat working for that eye to eye image of a gator – and in the background I could see power lines running through the swamp running to Cape Canaveral where they launch the shuttles.  Just reminded me, sometimes no matter how remote you feel, the our reach really does extend nearly everywhere in the world.  Similarly at home in NJ, I am fortunate to have several pairs of breeding bald eagles who make their nests in and around my area, and am amazed how they thrive in an area so densely populated by humans. 

Do you have a "life's embarrassing moment" you can tell us about one of your assignments?
I will admit – as a life’s embarrassing moment, on two occasions, when working with a shelter dog and we’re struggling to make good images together, be it she’s stressed , anxious, or all of the above, and even my best attempts to connect and relax haven’t given us the images I think we can get.  I have waited until ‘nature calls’ and made some tightly cropped headshots while they’re doing their business, so to speak.  Pretty sad I know.  But, I’ve gotten great eye contact and with the right cropping and work in post – it’s always been a little secret between the dog and I….until now. 

Thanks Tom....I'm so glad you participated in the 2014 Paws For Charity Project!

Click on this link to preview this year's book: http://www.blurb.com/books/5210564-2014-paws-for-charity
For a 25% discount on your purchase, input coupon code P4C2014 (valid until June 30, 2014) All proceeds from the sale of these books are donated to Sheltering Helpless Animals in Distress (SHAID.ca), an animal shelter in Nova Scotia.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book is ready to order!

The 2014 Paws For Charity Art Book is ready to order! All funds raised through the sale of these books are donated to Sheltering Helpless Animals In Distress (SHAID.ca), an animal shelter just outside of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.


Here is a special coupon code for a 25% discount:
P4C2014  (there is a space to input coupon code during the order check out)
Fine Print:

* Offer valid through June 30, 2014 (11:59 p.m. local time). A 25% discount is applied toward your product total. Maximum discount is USD $150, GBP £75, EUR €100, CAD $150, or AUD $150 off product total. Valid for printed books only. This offer is good for one-time use, and cannot be combined with volume discounts, other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders.





E-books are also available to order: http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/468601-2014-paws-for-charity

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Front Cover - 2014 Art Book

Here is one final teaser before the release of the 2014 Paws For Charity Art Book. 
"Family Huddle" © Dawn Rotta (pawztography.com)
Our front cover image this year was provided by Dawn Rotta, of Pawztography.com. I just fell in love with the photo of this happy little guy, who is surrounded by his people.

Here are a few words from Dawn:
"When Lenny's mom, Amber, contacted me to set up a photo session to include her four Chihuahuas (all rescue!) pups, I was excited and nervous. One never knows what will happen with even just one pet but with many it can quickly turn into a funny home video starring yours truly…

With all the individual photos done, we were setting up to take some group shots (Willy, Pumpkin and Tanner were being held) when I glanced down to see sweet Lenny looking up at met with a big infectious smile - one of my favorite "feet" shots ever!" - Dawn

Monday, April 7, 2014

Back Cover - 2014 Paws For Charity Art Book

This is the fifth year for the Paws For Charity Art Book Project, and do you know something? I have never featured a piece of art on the covers. I have always chosen photographs. Don't get me wrong, there is always lots of wonderful art to choose from. But somehow....before this year...the photographs seems more appropriate.

Our back cover image was provided by Susan Garriques (susangarriques.com), an artist in North Carolina. I think it's spectacular....it shows such love and devotion, I love it! I hope you agree with me.
Blitz (For The Love Of A Boy) © Susan Garriques - susangarriques.com
Here are a few words about the painting from the artist:

"This painting is one of those that seems to have a life of its own somehow. It was meant to be and determined to be created. To begin with, nearly all my dog paintings are more of a formal portrait style. Straight on head shots. During a photo shoot for one of that style of portraits, a young boy named Isaiah pulled on my sleeve and asked me to come take photos of the “one out back”. I followed him to the back of the house and he introduced me to Blitz.  I took a few photos and didn’t think too much more about it. But… when I downloaded the day’s photo shoot to my computer, the photos I took of Blitz grabbed my attention right away.  Even though it was December, and a crazy busy time for me, I just had to create a painting of Blitz.  The love and affection that Blitz has for Isaiah shines through in this painting.

After the painting was finished, I discovered that Blitz has a “story”. About 6 years ago he was living the life of a dog used in dog fights. He was just 9 months old, skin and bones, and chained to a fence. His ears were shredded from the fighting. Isaiah’s mom rescued Blitz from that situation and he has been a part of their family ever since." - Susan (susangarriques.com)

Friday, April 4, 2014

teaser

Here's a little teaser for you....this is the title page for the 2014 Paws For Charity Art Book.
"Safe Now" © Claire Garrett (petography.com.au)
The image was provided by Claire Garrett (petography.com.au), a photographer in Western Australia.

Here are a few words about the image from Claire:
"Alive was 18 months old when we photographed her at the shelter where she was dumped at just 3 months of age.  She had never had a home, or a family
and when we got her out of her cage to photograph her she snuggled into my
assistant's lap and just lay there - she was a heart breaker.  Just a
short 7 days after we posted her photo, Alice found her forever home 
Soooo fitting that she have a special place in a rescue book xxx" - Claire

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Coming Soon!

The 2014 Paws For Charity Art Book has been completed, and will soon be ready for purchase!

This year, 78 participants (artists & photographers...professional and amateur) were selected for the project:
U.S. - 49 participants from 26 states
Canada - 13 participants from 6 provinces
New Zealand - 6
Australia - 4
U.K. - 4
Brazil - 1
Venezuela - 1

It's always such a difficult job to choose who to feature! Stay tuned to see the final product!

All funds raised from the sale of the books are donated to Sheltering Helpless Animals In Distress (SHAID), an animal shelter in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.