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Picking a Pet Portrait Artist
by Connie Bowen


Living in Portland, Oregon in the beautiful Northwest has its advantages. There are many artists of all genres living and working in this inspiring part of the country.

When looking for an artist to render a likeness of your pet, you may want to consider the following tips:

1. Build a rapport with the artist of your choice by meeting them in person or via e-mail. Be sure they have a real love and devotion to animals, as this will come across in their artwork.

2. The artist will most likely ask for a deposit of half the cost of the painting up front, and the remainder due upon completion. Ask that a scan or photo be sent to you for approval and to make any needed changes before the painting is shipped to you, or that you’re able to pick it up at the artist’s home. This will assure you that the painting is to your liking before you receive it. The cost is usually based on the size of the canvas requested and the complexity. Most artists have many sizes and styles to choose from. They may provide a simple background for a painting, a head shot only, or two or more animals in the same painting, and a more complex background.

3. There are many types of media that an artist may use, including acrylic, oils, pastel (both chalk and oil pastel), watercolor and colored pencil. Paintings done with acrylic and oil may not need framing. Artwork done in pastel, watercolor and colored pencil usually do need to be framed under glass, so be sure to consider this additional cost when commissioning a painting. Some artists recommend which frames will look best, while others leave the framing to the client.

4. A photograph will need to be provided for the artist to work from. He or she may request additional photographs to be sure to capture a likeness of your pet. If you live in the same area as the artist, they may offer to photograph the animal for you. Photos can be provided to the artist either by regular U.S. Postal service, or via e-mail. The artist can give you tips on the best way to photograph your animal for his or her painting.

5. Be sure to discuss the time frame involved for your receipt of the painting. Some artists have a backlog. If you have a deadline for your painting because of an anniversary, birthday or holiday, be sure to let the artist know. Sometimes they may be able to accommodate your deadline. Remember that they can always give you a gift certificate if the painting will need to be completed a few days after the time you would like to receive it. Once you have decided on which artist you are going to work with, it’s been my experience that the short wait to complete your portrait is definitely worth it!

6. After your painting is completed, ask if the artist also provides greeting cards of the portrait image, or other services that you may want.

7. The copyright for the finished work belongs to the artist, but you can discuss with them any special needs you may have. You may want to use the painting for your business cards or company logo.

© Connie Bowen

Note: this article may be re-published freely as long as the following resource box is included at the end of the article and as long as you link to the URL mentioned in the resource box:

Pet Portrait Artist, and Professional Illustrator Connie Bowen creates stunning pet portrait paintings on canvas from photos. Specializing in capturing the spiritual nature of dogs, cats, horses and other animals in a realistic fashion with impressionistic backgrounds as seen on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s TV show, Art Beat. Visit http://www.conniebowen.com to view exquisite samples




Articles
Picking a Pet Portrait Artist
Dog Lovers - 7 Ways to Love Your Dog
Dog Breeds - Choosing an Australian Shepherd


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The articles below may be re-published freely as long as the resource box is included at the end of the article and as long as you link to the URL mentioned in the resource box:

Dog Lovers - 7 Ways to Love Your Dog
by Connie Bowen


Our dogs add so much to our lives, giving us unconditional love and affection. Here are some suggestions to help your dog live a comfortable, happy life.

1. Regular exercise and fresh air helps your dog’s immune system function at its peak. The exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous in nature, but a consistent walk or friendly play at a local park can work wonders for a dog’s mental as well as physical health.

2. Regular check-ups with your veterinarian are a must. Ask your doctor about the dangers of over-vaccinating and the possibility of checking your dog’s immune system with a blood titer test. A yearly visit with your doctor will give you a chance to ask any questions you may have, and will give your veterinarian an opportunity to catch any problems before they develop into something serious.

3. Provide a clean, safe environment for your dog free of second-hand smoke. Give him or her a quiet, comfortable place to sleep. Most breeds of dogs prefer to live indoors with their family. Only a few large breeds meant to live outdoors to protect sheep are suited to a life in all kinds of weather away from human contact.

4. Give your canine easy access to a fenced backyard or other suitable place so that they can relieve themselves during the day if you are going to be gone for long stretches at a time. A doggie door is ideal, but if this is impractical for your home, there are professional dog walkers who would love to stop by to give your dog a much needed walk during the day or evening.

5. Plenty of fresh, wholesome food and fresh water are key to maintaining a dog’s health. Raw food diets are gaining popularity, but if this is not something you or your dog would enjoy, there are other high grade alternatives. Read the labels of any product you purchase for your dog and steer clear of products with artificial colors, sweeteners or preservatives. The Whole Dog Journal is an excellent source of information and suggestions for which foods are the most nutritious and beneficial for dogs.

6. Daily grooming is important for all dogs, especially those with long coats. A quick brushing before bedtime is important for two reasons. It will remove any loose hair and skin and also will give you a chance to check for ticks or other problems your dog may have developed. Brushing your dog’s teeth is also vital to their oral health. There are special canine formulas and toothbrushes made especially for this purpose. (Never use human toothpaste on your dog.)

7. Positive, enjoyable training is available from reputable professionals for you and your dog. Training should be fun for both of you. Steer clear from any dog training classes that use punishment or adverse methods. Clicker training and reward based training can help guide you and your dog to a happy understanding of what you are requesting of your dog.

Many enjoyable dog-loving years await anyone who sincerely desires to create and maintain a positive relationship with their dog.

© Connie Bowen

Note: this article may be re-published freely as long as the following resource box is included at the end of the article and as long as you link to the URL mentioned in the resource box:

Pet Portrait Artist, and Professional Illustrator Connie Bowen creates stunning pet portrait paintings on canvas from photos. Specializing in capturing the spiritual nature of dogs, cats, horses and other animals in a realistic fashion with impressionistic backgrounds as seen on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s TV show, Art Beat.
Visit http://www.conniebowen.com to view exquisite samples



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Dog Breeds - Choosing an Australian Shepherd
by Connie Bowen


When looking for which dog breed to choose for your family, there are always several issues to take into consideration. Jesse and Harley, who are brother and sister, are the first Australian shepherd dogs we’ve had in our family, and I must say, I am very impressed by this breed of dog.

When Harley was a puppy and had chewed her squeaky ball to a frazzle, I put it in the bathroom sink to temporarily get it out of sight before I could throw it away. I didn’t want any of the loosened rubber to get lodged down her throat. I heard a scrambling noise behind me and lo and behold, Harley had managed to scramble up the side of the bathroom cabinets and was joyfully standing in the sink, retrieving her ball!

Right then and there I knew, this is no ordinary breed of dog! We have no herd of sheep for them to corral, and we only have an oversized, fenced backyard for them to play and romp in, but lots of play at dog parks and long walks in the woods have been a necessity to keep these Aussies happy. Australian shepherds are fantastic dogs for agility training also. The fast-paced runs are perfect for their athleticism.

All in all, I’ve found them to be energetic, super smart, playful, good with children and one aspect that I really appreciate is that they are a breed that doesn’t roam. As far as training, they are so smart, that it doesn’t take long for them to catch on to what I am trying to help them understand. The slant I use for training is a gentle, positive approach. With repetition, they are quick to catch on.

For an example, if Jesse rolls in something nasty during our walks, or gets totally muddy playing in the small child’s boat we keep full of water in the summer, all I have to do is ask him to jump in the tub, and show him what I mean, and he knows to go straight into the house and jump into the bathtub for a quick wash. My previous dogs were a yellow lab and a German shepherd, and I’d never experienced a dog who could just jump in the tub so effortlessly as Jesse can.

In closing, what I’d like to stress to anyone considering this breed is that they need lots of exercise (not necessarily strenuous), interesting things to do, and to stay close to their family. They are happiest in continual contact with their “flock” which includes their human family. They want to make sure everyone in the family gets along, too. Harley especially will emit a low growl if she thinks play is too rough (between other dogs or people). She is an expert at breaking up dogs who are too rambunctious with each other if she feels one of them is being bullied or picked on.

All in all, I would highly recommend this breed to the right family. They would not be suitable for a small apartment, but rather need space and an active family to let their personalities and their boundless energy shine through.

© Connie Bowen

Note: this article may be re-published freely as long as the following resource box is included at the end of the article and as long as you link to the URL mentioned in the resource box:

Pet Portrait Artist, and Professional Illustrator Connie Bowen creates stunning pet portrait paintings on canvas from photos. Specializing in capturing the spiritual nature of dogs, cats, horses and other animals in a realistic fashion with impressionistic backgrounds as seen on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s TV show, Art Beat. Visit http://www.conniebowen.com to view exquisite samples