When I started my pet portrait business in 2011, I received one of my first pet portrait commissions of a dog named, Jessie. The client ordered the painting as a surprise gift for her partner, and a back and forth gifting of my custom artwork between the couple ensued (adorable, right?). Not to mention, many, many, referrals.... I am so lucky to have such supportive patrons! Below are the paintings I completed for this particular couple at the beginning of my pet portrait career: 

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Flash forward to 2015!! Lots has happened since I first received these early commissions (biggest understatement of the year). I received an email from the client who commissioned the portrait of Jessie:

...Sadly, Jessie passed away last week. She was a terrific dog - incredibly well traveled. [Her owner] took her everywhere - beaches, forests, mountains. I was thinking of having another small portrait done in her memory.  I'm thinking the same size as the others for Bo and Jessie. I thought perhaps the attached image would be good - it shows her lovingly looking up at [her owner] while we are on a gondola. Do you think this would make a good portrait?

I literally started to tear up when I read this. Four years really have gone by quickly! The description of Jessie's life was so beautifully written. A whirlwind of emotions hit me when I saw the photo of Jessie she wanted to have me paint. It perfectly illustrates the relationship between Jessie and her human, and the intense emotion between them. There is nothing that compares to that adoring, faithful gaze, and I couldn't imagine a better photograph to work from to commemorate her life. 

Here is my artistic interpretation of the photo:

I adapted the photograph to fit in my style and to match the other paintings, but I hope this photograph is framed and hung in a special place in their home, as the context (the gondola, and the position of Jessie next to her owner) is such an important part of this photograph. Rest in Peace sweet Jessie... I hope there is an infinite number of squirrels to chase, treats, and belly rubs over that rainbow bridge!

 

In 2012, about one year after I started my pet portrait business, I came up with the idea of using my French Easel to do "live-painting" in public places as a way to promote my art. I contacted the owners of Durty Harry's dog boutique/dog-wash in Brookline to see if they would like to host my very first "live-painting" event, and that was the beginning of an incredible business relationship/friendship!  Along with hosting many Pawblo events, they have also commissioned me to do some sign-painting, which was my foray into freelance art. 

If you've been to either Durty Harry's locations, you may recognize some of my art hanging on the walls. Harry, (the business's namesake), being one of my models. 

Michelle and Alley (co-owners) do an incredible job of learning their four-legged clients' names and personalities, and have built a fabulous supportive community around their Brookline and Charlestown locations over the past 6 years. They're very hip to the dog community and definitely have their fingers on the pulse when it comes to addressing a serious need within the industry. 

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I am very excited to share with you all an incredible new app, Slobbr, that is being developed for all of us dog lovers! My good friend from Durty Harry's, Michelle Fournier, has been developing this idea for over 2 years and now it is SO close to fruition!

The app is called, "Slobbr" (LOVE the name), and it will be an iOS app to help you find local places that allow you to "Live Life with Your Dog!" Perhaps you're traveling with your dog and you want to find an awesome dog-park, or a restaurant that has a "Yappy Hour." Similar to Yelp, this app is designed to grow with user interaction, and will only continue getting better with use. Michelle and her team are looking to Kickstarter to put things in motion, and they're offering some pretty awesome incentives for helping out. I would really appreciate if you checked it out and at the very least shared it with your friends.... The clock is ticking!

While planning my West Coast Tour to promote my business two summers ago, I would have LOVED to have this app. I was on the constant lookout for animal friendly businesses, and different dog-parks to check out. I know that when the app is finally released, I'll be contributing to it all the time and adding my own reviews! 

Check out this AMAZING promo video.... I can't watch it enough-- so cute!


Durty Harry's has hosted me innumerable times for events, and I am wholly indebted to their support of my art and business as I have grown from a novice artist into the true professional that I am today. In those years, I have heard Michelle's passion and zeal to create a platform to help you "Live Life With Your Dog." Now that I have started to gain first-hand experience of having a dog around through my dog-sitting ventures with Rover.com, I know how valuable this is! 


Thank you for taking the time to read this... PLEASE SUPPORT THIS CAMPAIGN. SHARING IS JUST AS HELPFUL AS DONATING! 

Thank you xoxoxoxo

<3 Pawblo


Source: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/slobb...

During my Joy Street Open Studios event in April, I met Valerie Eliason, who is a co-host on the television show, "It's All About Arts," which airs on the local station BNN (Boston Neighborhood Network). She really enjoyed my art and asked me if I wanted to be interviewed on her show. Of course I said "yes!" 

This past Monday (12/15/14) I went into the station headquarters in Roxbury and did my first ever LIVE television interview! It was so cool seeing all the different sets and witnessing the behind the scenes in this sort of operation. I was a little nervous at first, but once I started it became a breeze... I think I could get used to doing this sort of thing :) You can't really tell in the video but I'm all decked out in dog clothing, per usual!

My interview starts around 37:10 if you want to skip forward... Enjoy!

Posted
AuthorMelissa King

These past couple of months I have been running nearly every day to train for a 7-mile road race that takes place this weekend in beautiful Cape Cod Massachusetts. This race is called, The Falmouth Road Race, and it is a pretty prestigious race in the running world, attracting over 11,000 participants and elite runners from all over the world!  

When the Animal Rescue League sent out an application to run in their name, I jumped on the opportunity! I ran the 2011 Boston Marathon while raising money for the Ronald McDonald House of Boston and it was overwhelmingly the most positive experience I have ever had. 

If it isn't already obvious, I am a HUGE animal lover! Working as a professional pet portrait artist for the past three and a half years and engaging with other passionate animal lovers has really opened my eyes to the importance of rescuing our pets, and providing resources for injured or endangered wildlife. 

Millions of animals are dropped off at animal shelters each year, and a large percentage of those animals are euthanized due to lack of funding and space. Organizations like ARL are committed to saving as many of these animals as they can by caring for them until they can be placed in loving homes. ARL would not exist if it weren't for their passionate volunteers, and generous donations from people like you!

I set out on this fundraising campaign aiming to raise $1,800. I am SO CLOSE! I have nearly 8,000 followers on Instagram and 2,500 "likes" on Facebook. If everyone donated just one dollar it would amount to a lot of good! Of course, it is unrealistic to expect that many people to help out. I generally don't like soliciting, which is why I waited until the last possible moment to do so. The race is this Sunday, do you think you can help me reach my goal??

Your tax-deductible gift to the Animal Rescue League of Boston will ensure that animals in distress receive the care they need, and a chance to be adopted into a caring home.  

I will send you a 2015 Pawblo Picasso Desk Calendar of your choice (cats or dogs) for any donations over $50

ALSO, consider adopting your next pet from ARL! "Like" them on Facebook and check out their Instagram account to get regular updates on the cuties that are available for adoption. We couldn't do it without all of your support, and on behalf of the ARL team and all of our furry (and scaly and feathery) friends that can't speak.... THANK YOU!

CLICK HERE TO VISIT MY FUNDRAISING PAGE

xoxoxo (huge wet dog kisses and sandpaper kitty licks)

Love, Pawblo Picasso

 

 

 

Looking pretty good at the halfway point... there's a reason I'm not showing you the finish line photos :)

Looking pretty good at the halfway point... there's a reason I'm not showing you the finish line photos :)

photo credit: www.arlboston.org

photo credit: www.arlboston.org

2015 Pawblo Picasso Cat Calendar (FREE with your donation of $50 or more!)

2015 Pawblo Picasso Cat Calendar (FREE with your donation of $50 or more!)

2015 Pawblo Picasso calendars! Choose one with your donation of $50 or more!

2015 Pawblo Picasso calendars! Choose one with your donation of $50 or more!

A couple weeks ago my boyfriend and I embarked on our second "tour." I was invited by the Animal Rescue League of Boston to come join them for their event, "Paws in the Park," in Brewster, MA. I have been told repeatedly to market myself out on the Cape because people love their dogs so much out there that I figured it would be a good opportunity to make the trip to the Cape an extended business/marketing trip!

The flyer I made that I posted on social media and shared in my newsletter! The weather didn't agree with my plans though :)

My boyfriend, who is the owner of Spruce Vintage and is a vintage men's clothing dealer is always down for the count when we travel... there has to be some good left-behind summer clothes in the Cape, right? (Well... not really, but at least we learned!) We booked our camping sites in Provincetown and in Brewster, packed a little too much stuff into my car and headed south (returning home only twice for things we forgot).

The woman who I was in contact with for the Paws in the Park event had introduced me to a couple pet businesses on the Cape, and I made a stop at "Cape Cod Dog" in Eastham along the way to visit the store, leave behind some business cards, and pick up some flyers for the big event on Saturday! The store is super adorable if you haven't been :)

We finally got to our campsite in Provincetown and it was a perfect little place to call home for a few days. I had to finish up the outlines on one of my paintings (Loki) to make it display-ready so I worked on it at the campground.

Ever seen someone working on a german shepherd painting at a campsite? 

The next day I was supposed to be setting up downtown Provincetown on Commercial Street but it was downpouring!! Samir and I kept waiting in the tent for it to let up but it did not cease.... How was I going to get the painting work finished that I needed to do?? It then hit me! The Cape Cod Dog in Eastham would be a perfect place to set up for the day while Samir went off scavenging for treasures! They were happy to have me and it was a wonderfully pleasant place to work for the day. I met many of their customers and their furry children and I got some good work accomplished on my portrait of two cockapoos, Bentley and Heidi!

My easel set up inside "Cape Cod Dog" in Eastham, MA

My easel set up inside "Cape Cod Dog" in Eastham, MA

That night I was awoken at 4am from Samir playing music on his phone. I asked him what he was doing and with a tremble in his voice he whispered, "something's out there!" Sure enough I heard it for myself: the crackling of plastic food containers and the satisfactory grunting of an animal enjoying all of our food! I felt very brave and got out of the tent to inspect the situation. I discovered a little bandit raccoon munching  on food from our cooler. In retrospect this was probably stupid of me, but I jumped around, shone my headlamp in his face, and made some silly noises. He looked at me with amusement, while stealthily reaching into the cooler to grab one last tomato, before running off! He had certainly eaten enough so he didn't really put up a fight. In the morning we inspected the damage. He ate pretty much all of our food, including a ton of leftovers that I was really looking forward to. He got into our frozen berries and left little adorable red footprints all over the place. I guess he was caught red-handed! (sorry, I had to). 

The next morning, Samir and I went on a beautiful bike ride to the National Seashore and saw a coyote along the way! He really wanted nothing to do with us and ran across the bike path in front of us, but it was exciting to see him! After the bike ride, we packed up our stuff and headed into Provincetown. I stopped at the Police Department to get a Street Performer Permit. When I told them what I planned on doing they didn't have any qualms with it but wanted to make sure I communicated with the other street performers as to not start any turf wars. 

While driving down Commercial Street I found a perfect little corner to set up my easel. I jumped out of the car and asked the manager of the Mayflower Restaurant if it would be ok to set up and she quickly agreed! I did sense from some of the other store owners that not everyone was happy to have me there. I had to explain that the paintings I am displaying are not actually for sale (they're commissioned artwork!). Also, I am not soliciting as I paint, which is the whole beauty of it. If people are interested in what I am doing they can come up to me and ask for a business card or some more information. As long as I am not doing anything illegal, I will continue to promote my art this way! Our country's first amendment is a wonderful thing :)

My live painting setup on Commercial Street in Provincetown.

Painting in Provincetown was a HUGE success! Even though I painted on a Thursday during the off season, I still had tons of people stop and ask me questions and take my cards. The response was overwhelmingly positive. I had been told for awhile that Provincetown would be a great place for my art because everyone loves their dogs AND art! It was a fabulous place to market myself, and I know I'll be back. I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned from painting in Massachusetts versus painting in California is that people have a genuine love for local art, and while I plan on painting all over the world someday, it is best to focus my efforts in New England while I can. 

The next day we packed up our campsite in Provincetown and drove down to Brewster to set up our next campsite. Along the way we decided to stop at the Animal Rescue League Brewster Shelter to visit my next painting subject, Fern, the Portuguese Podengo. The Animal Rescue League of Boston came up with the wonderful idea to have me work on a portrait of a dog that had been in a shelter for awhile while at the event. The idea being, whoever ends up adopting the dog will get the portrait. This is a wonderful way to raise awareness about the shelter, the dog, and the importance of rescuing animals!

Fern is a beautiful dog with a wonderful heart and I just know she will make a wonderful addition to someone's family! She is a little shy and has a tendency to run, so she will need a home with a large fenced in back yard (she seems to LOVE being outdoors). I would adopt her myself, but I really think she would benefit from being in a home with other dogs that can guide her to living a more relaxed and enjoyable dog life :) To find out more information about Fern, please visit her PetFinder bio and take a trip to Brewster to meet her if you can!

Professional photos of Fern (I used the top right for the painting).

The only good photo I was able to get of Fern while visiting her at the shelter! 

The only good photo I was able to get of Fern while visiting her at the shelter! 

After meeting Fern, we set up our campsite at Nickelson State Park and I worked on a portrait of "Frankie" for a little while! I made friends with all the kids at the campsite that were very interested in what I was doing :)

Painting "Frankie" at Nickelson State Park Campground in Brewster, MA.

Painting "Frankie" at Nickelson State Park Campground in Brewster, MA.

The next morning I headed over to "Paws in the Park" to set up my easel for the event! They gave me a cute little spot next to a tree, which was perfect for hanging my banner and frames for my paintings. They put Fern in her cage right next to me, even though she was walking around for quite a bit of the event with a red "adopt me" bandana. The event was super fun, with so many dogs and their owners and lots of cool activities. There was a place to have your dog make paintings, a caricature artist, a kissing booth, and more! I donated a 6x6 painting for the raffle, and told everyone that came up to watch me paint, that Fern was up for adoption and the painting would go to her lucky owner.

Here I am with Fern at the Animal Rescue League's "Paws in the Park" event in Brewster, MA 

I hope to explore this type of charity work more, and I have been visualizing some sort of organization around this particular idea. I know plenty of pet portrait artists looking for exposure and actual work, and it would be really cool to give people the opportunity to donate money towards having a artist create a piece of art representing a particular animal in a shelter. This would be a fabulous way to promote the arts while raising awareness of rescuing animals!

This painting belongs to the lucky future owners of Fern!!

UPDATE!

Fern (now Bebe) was adopted soon after I made the portrait of her! She was adopted by another artist who apparently loves the portrait. Bebe is loving life these days as she now has a border collie and sheep for siblings in Orleans Massachusetts. Yay for Bebe!!!



Earlier this year I had the pleasure painting "Rocky" using one of the photos taken by Li Ward of Fat Orange Cat Studio. Working with professional photographers makes my life so much easier as a painter! The composition is already there and the quality and resolution of the photos really allows me to get all of the tiny little details. 

For this particular piece I had donated a painting to WBUR for a silent auction and Li had donated a photo shoot. One lucky customer got both the photo shoot and the custom painting! It was a perfect match :) I encourage you to check out her website and consider her for your own pet photography! If you're thinking about getting a portrait done by me, it may be a good option to work with a professional photographer. It will help ensure a beautiful painting and you will also have some wonderful photos to display and use at your will! 

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Posted
AuthorMelissa King

After we left Los Angeles, we drove inland to go camp in the Sierra Nevada mountain range (Inyo National Forest and Yosemite National Park). We were a little upset that we didn't get to see the California coast, but we'll just have to come back! I love camping, and the mountains/deserts/lakes were stunning. I couldn't believe the variety in landscape that we saw in such a short amount of time. I was reading some brochures about Yosemite, and was struck by a quote:

"When a visitor asked a Yosemite ranger what he would do if he had only a day to visit the park, the ranger answered, 'I'd weep.'" 

It almost made me weep reading this quote because we did only have one day within the park! We must return one day!

I set up my easel in Yosemite National Park for a very short amount of time. People walking by seemed interested, but their priority was to take in the nature, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as a means of promotion. Someone asked me why I was painting there, and were wondering if the landscape inspired me in any way. I responded by saying that my main purpose was to question the idea of a work space. I have to finish these paintings one way or another, but why do I always have to be cramped up in my studio? It is much more pleasant painting outside in our nation's "playground"! 

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The view from our campsite at Convict Lake in Inyo National Forest (our deer friend!)

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I set up and worked on a painting for a little bit in Yosemite National Park! I venture to say that this is the first house cat painted within the park :)

 OFF TO SAN FRANCISCO!

After we drove through Yosemite, we stayed with my family in San Jose that night and headed into San Francisco the next day. We both LOVED San Francisco. I guess I'm a stereotypical San Francisco tourist because I didn't bring a jacket, and it was cold! One woman described San Francisco as comaprable to being on a boat in the middle of the ocean because it's almost completely surrounded by water. The first day in San Francisco, I set up my easel at Dolores Park. It was suggested to me because there are generally a lot of people hanging out there. It wasn't necessarily my demographic, but we enjoyed the time to relax in the park. I found out later that there's another part of Dolores Park where people bring their dogs (oops!). 

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We stayed with a friend in Oakland, which as we learned is quickly becoming a haven for young people escaping the high rents in downtown San Francisco. Our friend is training to be an herboligist, which I find incredibly interesting! She and her classmates often go on "field trips" into California's national parks to forage for herbs, and there are what seems like hundreds of bottles of tinctures and herbs around her apartment. When she described her classes it reminded me of Harry Potter's potions and herbology classes at Hogwarts. So cool! She also has an adorable pit bull named, Seqouia, who was the biggest sweetheart.

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On my second day in San Francisco, I set up my easel for a few hours in the front window of an awesome pet boutique in Pacific Heights called, "George." This store was incredibly cute! I don't even own a pet but I wanted to buy everything in the store! They also make their own dog beds (check out their website to see). They had a stage in their front window... it was almost as if it was made for me! I handed out a bunch of cards and talked to some very interested potential customers. 

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A passerby's view of me painting in the front window.

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My "stage" within George's storefront

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Part of Geroge's adorable display!

Samir and I both really loved San Francisco and we know we'll be back! 

I really really liked LA. This was my first visit here and I know it won't be my last!

July 17:
After we left La Jolla we started heading up to Los Angeles. We saw hot air balloons on the way. Once again we were stunned by the beauty in this state. We got to my cousin and her boyfriend's house in West Hollywood and soon learned how great her location was (lots of thrift stores that was perfect for Samir). My cousin owns a cat named, "Achilles," who was once the star of "My Cat From Hell." He can be nice... sometimes :) Here is a painting I did of him awhile back that's hanging in her home:

I love the graffitti in LA:

I also love seeing all of the interesting business they have... including this hot dog/lamp shop:

July 18:
In the morning we met up with my old friend from high school who is now a budding filmmaker and her boyfriend who is an actor (check out his super hilarious mini-series, Golden California) for lunch. We left right after lunch to head down to Long Beach to go to an event I set up with Pussy & Pooch at the Long Beach Museum of Art. The museum has a super cool exhibit right now called, "Architecture for Dogs", which is a curated collection of designs created with specific breeds in mind. Pussy & Pooch set up a "pop-up" shop in the museum gift shop to go along with the exhibit and every month Pussy & Pooch hosts a "yappy hour" on the green next to the museum. There are replicas of the exhibit designs for dogs to play with and "hors d'oeuvres" for the dogs. There was another pet business called, "Doggy Luxe," featuring their jewel-studded dog collars, set up alongside me as well. I worked on a painting of Izzy there for a few hours right out on the ocean and mingled with some pets and their owners. It was a lot of and I'm so grateful for the opportunity :)

July 19:
The owner of Pussy & Pooch was nice enough to put me in contact with another great pet shop in LA called, "Three Dog Bakery," in Farmers Market (next to the "Grove"). Farmers Market is a super cool permanent market or outdoor mall with all sorts of goodies (fruit vendors, candy shops, hat makers, etc). Three Dog Bakery is an awesome little store that actually functioned as a bakery for dogs. I set up out front and painted for a little over an hour and then the manager alerted me that the Farmers Market management was not keen on having me paint in the market. It was really disappointing and while we tried to configure my stuff so that my sign wasn't visible and my easel was more inside the store, the definitive answer was, "no." This is the first time I have come across this issue and I have a feeling it won't be the last, but at least I was able to do it for a little bit.Since this event, I've been a little more careful about where I set up. I don't want to anger anyone! Everyone walking by seemed to really enjoy watching me paint and I believe it added something special to the atmosphere. The manager of the store was super apologetic and confused, but it was out of her control. The management said that if other artists saw me painting in the mall they may consider it a free-for-all and set up other easels as well (remind me why this is a bad thing?). Oh well, I guess I understand! This brings me back to my undergraduate law class on first amendment rights... Aren't malls considered a public forum for free speech? I could be totally wrong, but I will look into this further!

July 20:
Based on some recommendations on places to set up in LA, Samir and I drove over to Santa Monica in the morning. I set up my easel right in the grassy area next to the Santa Monica Pier. It was probably one of my best live painting events I've ever had. So many people walked by and laughed out loud about my business name and asked for cards. After about an hour of painting, a dance troop set up near me and monopolized the attention of the crowd, but I am perfectly happy with the amount of people who saw me painting that day. 

 

After a few hours, I packed up my painting gear and headed over to downtown LA for my final live painting event in LA. I set up my easel and sample paintings outside of Pussy & PoochSarah Donner of "Catster" also happened to be performing her music at the store, and concurrently there was a cat adoption event run by Luxe Paws. It only seemed appropriate to work on a painting of a cat! One of my Instagram followers showed up to the event, which was very exciting :)  It was a super fun event and Sarah and I spoke about maybe doing future events together on the East Coast!

 

 

I really enjoyed my time here in LA and I would love to come back and spend some more time here in the near future!

 

Posted
AuthorMelissa King
CategoriesOn Tour

San Diego was beautiful! I am writing this after I've left San Diego and have spent a few days in Los Angeles, so this is my perspective after seeing both cities. San Diego has a very relaxed vibe, which was a perfect way to really start my tour. We arrived in San Diego on Monday night from Las Vegas, and tried out a really cool website you may or may not have heard of called, Airbnb. Through this website you can find places to stay in people's homes who may have an extra room they're willing to rent.

When we were researching potential homes to stay in, we found an awesome couple, Daria and Alicia, who bragged about their jacuzzi, garden, and pet chickens. As it turns out, Daria is aprofessional pet photographer and groomer, and the both of them are very involved in the art and music scene in San Diego (they put on a on a monthly event called "Elektrofied" at the Ruby Room so if you're local you should check it out!). We decided it was a perfect match! When we got there, the jacuzzi was fired up and our stay in San Diego started right. They had a wonderful menagerie of pets that were super cuddly and adorable (a dog named Oliver, a dog named Petey, a cat named Rex, and a cat named Moxy), and not to forget their two pet chickens and their vegetable garden (maybe I should start doing vegetable garden portraits?). Aside from an awesome place to stay, Alicia and Daria became our fast friends, and gave us wonderful recommendations for things to do within the city.

On Tuesday morning, after running a few little errands, we drove the car over to Coronado. We got a quick glimpse of the hotel and the beach, and headed down for lunch on Orange Ave. I stumbled upon a cool pet boutique/dog wash called, "Wag n' Tails." I feel optimistic that this store may hold some Pawblo merchandise in the near future so if you're local stay tuned! The owner, Melanie, gave me some wonderful tips for places around San Diego to set up and paint. She also told me she'd be on the lookout for other places to carry my merchandise on her upcoming trip to Sedona, Arizona. It's always great making new connections with people along the way. I found out too late that there is a wondeful dog beach on Coronado, so I will have to come back I suppose!

After Coronado, we thought we would drive over to Balboa Park. We heard some awesome things about it so we figure we'd scope it out! Once we found a parking spot we noticed a cool little are filled with artisans, so of course we had to check it out. It was a little community of artists who pay rent to the city to have a gallery space/studio space, and from what we heard from one artist, it is quite inexpensive. How cool of San Diego to provide a space for artists to share their work in such a huge public forum for hardly any cost. As an artist I can definitely appreciate a discount!

We continued to walk around Balboa Park. There are lots of museums there, and on Tuesdays, I guess they are free! We visted a conservatory, and there were outdoor koi fish ponds that were really beautiful. I also noticed a sign for the Balboa Art Conservation Center, so of course I had to check it out. After walking around for a bit, we decided we should probably head back to the house to prepare for a live painting event I had advertised on Ocean Beach Dog Beach.

The beach was awesome. You could tell all of the dogs were so excited to be there. Many of them had the biggest grins on their faces and sprinting as fast as they could. I wish there were more places like this in Boston. I set up my easel in front of the beach and spoke to many people. Daria and Alicia came and brought their dogs. Daria brought her camera and took some pictures of me painting and some of the dogs on the beach. Once she sends them to me I will post them on here so you can check out her photography skills.

We ate dinner on Ocean Beach and visited some friends that night. We packed up our stuff the next morning because we were leaving for LA after my event in La Jolla. Before we went to La Jolla, we posted up at a little restaurant in Pacific Beach to get some brunch, people watch, and go through our emails and such. It's much harder than I thought to find the time to blog! Hopefully I will get better at this as the trip progresses.

We went up to La Jolla and walked along the ocean before the event. I learned what a ground squirrel was and pretended to feed them and they would come right up to me... They would have come into my lap if I let them! We heard about an area on the beach that was originally created as a kiddy pool, but the seals use the area to nest and have completely taken it over. We went over there and saw a few seals...some of them babies! La Jolla has a pretty incredible beach with tons of tide pools and natural rock formations and I'm glad we had some time to walk around there.

I did my first official event at Muttropolis in La Jolla. It was a really nice store and I talked to a decent amount of people. It's been good to make connections with places like this and I'm eager to continue to visit more stores along the way! When we told people we were heading to LA, most people in San Diego didn't have a very high opinion of the city, but I guess it depends on what you want from a city.

Live painting at the Ocean Beach Dog Beach

Sunset in OB 

Daria and her teenage chicken!

People watching in Ocean Beach

The coastline in La Jolla was beautiful! 

Inside of the Muttropolis store in La Jolla! I'm using their cat tower to display my pantings... how perfect!

 Petie inspecting his chicken sisters :)



Posted
AuthorMelissa King

We landed in Las Vegas late Saturday night! We spent a little time on the strip (Samir's never been) and we played one game of black jack and one game of roulette, but being overly cautious helped us to know the right time to walk away and we made a little profit :) I have a lot of family in Vegas and it was great to see them all! My cousin owns a popular restaurant called, "Egg Works," and I arranged a live painting event there for Sunday Breakfast. It was a lot of fun! I talked to a lot of people and I think everyone really enjoyed having me there while they waited for their tables. My cousin expressed interest in maybe having other local artists set up in his restaurants in the future. It's great because it benefits both the artist and the venue... So I hope it catches on! We left Vegas yesterday and drove down to San Diego. It was a beautiful drive going through the desert with tons of Joshua trees and mountain ranges. We stopped in the Mojave desert and it was HOT! San Diego seems super cool so far! We're here for such a short time so we're trying to squeeze in the sights but I'm here primarily to promote my art so I will be setting up my easel tonight on the Ocean Beach Dog beach (from 5-7) and tomorrow in La Jolla at Muttropolis from 2:30-6:30 then we're off to LA! I'll try my best to keep updating this as often as I can!

Live painting at Egg Works

A "pop-up" wedding chapel on the strip that offers pet marriages. 

We stopped into "Peggy's Diner" on the way to San Diego from Las Vegas.

In the Mojave Desert (this is a rest stop reproduction but nonetheless it looks cool!)

Here I am with my beautiful 92-year-old grandma, Winnie! It's always great to see family :)

 

Posted
AuthorMelissa King
CategoriesOn Tour

After over two months of careful planning, my tour to promote Pawblo starts tomorrow! My boyfriend and I are flying into Las Vegas tomorrow night. I have a lot of family in Las Vegas, so I'll spending a couple of days with them. We'll be renting a car so that we can do our big drive up the West Coast! 

I am actively looking for locations to do "live painting" events. Aside from randomly setting up my easel on California's many dog beaches and dog parks, I am hoping to find pet stores/boutiques or other pet related businesses to host me for a 3-4 hours to work on my paintings inside their stores! So far I have set up an event in Las Vegas and in San Diego. I was hoping to have all of my events set up before I left to give you a full list but I should at least alert you all of my itinerary so you have an idea of where I'll be and when. If you have any suggestions on where I should set up live painting events you can leave them on a comment on this post! Also, if you are familiar of the area and have suggestions for cool places to visit (restaurants, stores, museums etc.) I'd love to hear them as well!

 

Here is my itinerary (subject to slightly change):

July 13: Arrive in Las Vegas (close to midnight)

July 14: Las Vegas

LIVE Painting Event (EGG & I Restaurant: 6435 S Rainbow Blvd #100 from 10AM-1PM)

July 15: Drive to San Diego (Drive Time – 4:53hrs)

July 16: San Diego

LIVE Painting Event (Ocean Beach Dog Beach: 5PM-7PM) Weather Dependent

July 17: San Diego (Drive to LA after event)

LIVE Painting Event (Muttropolis-La Jolla from 2:30PM-6:30)

July 18: Los Angeles

July 19: Los Angeles

July 20: Los Angeles

July 21: Yosemite National Park (Convict Lake Campground)

July 22: Yosemite National Park (Convict Lake Campground) 

July 23: Drive to San Francisco (Drive Time – 5:19hrs)

July 24: San Francisco 

July 25: San Francisco

July 26: Drive to Humboldt Redwoods State Park (Drive Time – 4:17hrs)

July 27: Redwood National Forest

July 28: Drive to Sunset Bay State Park, Oregon (Drive Time – 5:17hrs)

July 29: Sunset Bay State Park

July 30: Drive to Portland (Drive Time – 4:13hrs)

July 31: Portland

August 1: Portland 

August 2: Drive to Seattle (Drive Time – 2:46hrs) 

August 3: Fly home to Boston (Arrive to airport at 9:00pm)

 

 

Follow my twitter feed for the most up-to-date info on my events! @pawblopicasso

 

If you've ever read my bio you will know that I am pursuing a career in art conservation. If you don't know what that is, maybe you've heard about art restoration (definitely not the same thing, but slightly similar). Art conservation is a fascinating career that requires an in-depth knowledge about the science of materials and the methodology for preserving cultural heritage. 

Very few people know about this field, but it is much more diverse than you probably can imagine. It requires in depth knowledge of chemistry, art history, and studio art. In my training so far I have worked on many artifacts. I have treated a great array of archaeological objects (ancient coins, marble sculptures, ancient ceramic pots, Etruscan coffins, and even a child's sandal from ancient Egypt). I have worked on newer objects too, such as a vase that came from John Adam's home, and even contemporary outdoor sculptures. I have worked within historic homes, and cleaned large murals within historic buildings. It is an incredibly fascinating field and I am so grateful to have found my way into it. 

(Here I am working with other conservators from the National Park Service on a sculpture of William Prescott in front of the Bunker Hill Monument)

Pawblo Picasso has been a wonderful venture thus far. In about 2.5 years I have painted over 350 paintings (more than most people can do in a lifetime!). I am so fortunate to have such an amazing career. I love to paint and I especially love to make portraits of your beloved animals.

What you may not realize is how much work it is to actually run a business like this. Although my boyfriend helps me out a lot, this is a one-woman business. I am not sitting in a studio painting all day long every day. I have to commit a lot of my time to answering emails, running my social media marketing campaigns, accounting, filing tax returns, ordering supplies, prepping my canvases, shipping and delivering my paintings, managing my merchandise, running my website, going to art shows, and running my "live painting" events (I hardly have a social life at this point). Sometimes I literally bring my easel and paints with me on vacations and work while I'm there. I plan on continuing with my art, but unfortunately I cannot commit the same amount of time towards this business if I am serious about pursuing art conservation. 

Recently, I have started to work with an art conservator on some very interesting projects. I plan on continuing my work with him through the fall, which means I definitely will not be able to commit as much time to Pawblo Picasso. There are also a lot of other opportunities that I want to explore with this business, such as the possiblity of publishing a book, and working on original art. I currently have a 4-month wait for my paintings, and that wait will continue to grow exponentially because I will be taking less orders per month from here on out, which brings me to my final piece of information....

If you look on my Indiegogo campaign you will see that I have listed 15 deposits for commissions (this will reserve your spot in my queue at 10% off of my current prices). I have also listed 10 6x6 custom paintings at a very low price of $90. I can guarantee these paintings in time for the holidays! If you’ve been thinking about ordering a painting from me, the time is now! You don’t have to know what photograph you’re going to use, what size painting you want (unless you get the 6x6), or even what animal(s) you want painted (you can decide on that later). This is only to reserve your spot! Once these commissions are all claimed, I will be able to give you a better idea of when your painting will be ready. I am in serious need of a break, so after these orders through Indiegogo, I will be taking a hiatus from taking new commissions until further notice.

If you haven't visited my campaign yet, I encourage you to do so (http://igg.me/at/sprucepawblo). There you will find a list of "perks" for your contributions (including the limited remaining commissions I am offering). My boyfriend and I are planning a lengthy road trip across the United States, and we need to raise some money to do so before we leave in the beginning of July. Aside from the commissions there are also some awesome other perks, so be sure to check them out and pass along the page! 


<3 Pawblo

Posted
AuthorMelissa King
CategoriesPAWBLO PICASSO

This is not as easy as you may think! I figured that since I've explained this to so many people it may make sense to just share a list of pointers that I think will help to get a good photo and to explain better what I'm looking for in a photo. Smartphones these days are taking wonderful photos and they work perfectly fine for me. 

1. Lighting 

 Lighting is especially important in your photos. If it's too dark you may be forced to use a flash and then the animal may have "red-eye" or a glare in their eyes. It is VERY hard for me to work from these types of photos. If the light is too bright then some of details may be lost and the shadows may be too extreme. The best solution is to find something in between. I usually recommend people take photos outdoors. The best type of light is when it is "diffused." You do not want direct sunlight so overcast days work the best. If there's an area (say, on a porch, or in a sunny room during the middle of the day) where there is plenty of light but the sun isn't shining directly into the room, this could work. So long as you don't have to use a flash! If you do end up taking the photo indoors, make sure the light is BEHIND YOU when you take the photo. If you try to take a photo of something with the light behind the animal, the animal will end up being very dark in the photo.


2. Metering an iPhone (lighting continued)

You may already know this but you may be about to learn a wonderful trick! This may work for other smartphones too but I'm not sure. When you're about to take a photo and you can see the image  on your screen, you can actually tap anywhere on your screen to "meter" the camera. "Metering" is a term all photographers know, which means that the camera is actually measuring the amount of light that is coming in so it can adjust its shutter speed and aperture to make sure it takes in just the right amount of light for the photograph. When you're taking a picture of your pet, you should "meter" the camera by touching the screen on the middle to darkest color ON your pet. Try playing around with this and metering the camera on different parts of the screen to get an idea of how the camera meters. Any time you're taking a photo on your phone (not necessarily of your pet), tap on the middle to darkest color on the screen. Since you'er taking a photo of your pet in this instance and the lighting is only important on them, tap on them until you find the best amount of light to take the photo.

 

3. Getting the Pet to look at the Camera

This is definitely one of the trickiest parts of this process and also wholly dependent on your pet. I am still learning more about how to do this (I am most definitely not a professional pet photographer). Things that I have found to work is to maybe hold a treat or a toy near the camera to grab their attention. I have also read the suggestion of putting the animal on top of a table so that they cannot really go anywhere (if you're dealing with a cat this may not work). Try having someone stand behind you to get his or her attention... but this may also just make the animal want to run towards that person. I have also seen photos where an extra person gets on the floor with the animal while you try to take the photo. If you have any suggestions I'd love to hear them! Of course there is always the option of hiring a professional photographer to take your photos. I am more than happy to work from these photos!

 (treats are clearly more important to these dogs than looking into my camera).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. The type of photos I am looking for

This is hard to explain precisely, but I do recommend that you take a look through my galleries so that you get an idea about my style. I usually will only include an animal in a painting (sometimes I will put in a favorite toy). If the animal is leaning on a pillow, I will not include that pillow and it may look weird with their head just floating in the middle of the painting. This being said, really try to get a photo of the animal by themselves-- no props!

Depending on the size of the canvas and the size of your dog I may or may not be including more than his or her heads. 8x10 and smaller are usually just the faces unless it's a really small dog or you have specified that you would like the whole body. 

The eyes are especially important. That's how I capture your pet's spirit and personality! I really like to see both eyes and it is absolutely essential that there is no glare in the eyes from a flash (see above section on lighting). 

This applies to people who are pretty experienced in photography. I really need to see all of the details in the whole body (no blurriness). When you're messing with depth of field please consider this and use a smaller aperture if you can. 

My favorite photos are of dogs sitting and looking directly at you. Any angles work but my favorite photos tend to be the ones where you are looking more directly at the dog as opposed to aiming down on the pet so that I can make the painting look like the animal is standing on the bottom of the canvas.

 

5. Taking photos with multiple animals

If you think taking a photo of one animal is hard try doing it with two or three or four! There isn't too much I can advise you to do that you wouldn't already know. You know your animals better than me! However, if you can't get a good photo of them together, try taking multiple photos of them in the same position and if some of the photos have at least one of them looking at the camera I can usually peice them together. It's just really important to have photos of them together to see their relative size. I may even be able to take the head from another good photo you have and place it onto a body of a photo that you had with the animals together. 

To put animals together that never actually lived at the same time it can get a little tricky. I may have to go off of your advice to get an idea of their relative sizes. The most important thing is that the photos will all have to have been taken at a very similar angle so that it will look like the animals are all sitting on the same surface. 

This was a tricky painting... These dogs were not all alive at the same time, but now they all get to hang out for the first time in this painting! How cool!

Posted
AuthorMelissa King

The October HOWL-o-ween photo competition has come to the conclusion! All of the photos were so awesome :) 

The winner of the first place prize with 319 "likes" is.... Rigoletto! He wins a free 8x10 custom painting. Stay tuned to see how that turns out!

 

 

The second place prize goes to Rex, Cece, and Luke with 284 "likes"! Their owner gets 50% off of any size custom painting! 

 

 

Finally, the third place winner is Vito with 108 "likes"! His owner with get 25% off of any size custom painting!

 

 

Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone who participated! Your efforts help make my business more visible and I sincerely appreciate it :) I look forward to working on these paintings! 

Posted
AuthorMelissa King
CategoriesPromotions

Earlier this Summer, an organization called, "Dogs for Conservation" reached out to me and asked me if I would be willing to donate a painting to them. I was thrilled at this idea because I had actually heard of dogs being used for conservation efforts and I thought it was a really amazing idea. I had heard a story of dogs that were trained to smell and track down whale feces floating in the ocean near Alaska. Conservationists and ecologists were looking for the whale feces in order to get a better understanding of the whale's diet and track their movements to try to pinpoint factors affecting their dwindling population. The dogs involved were psyched! Dogs have an amazing sense of smell and tracking down the whale feces is like a game for them. I love the idea that dogs can be used to help with the populations of endangered species. Check out the website for "Dogs for Conservation," find them on facebook, and support this cause! Here is a link to the blog they wrote about me on their website: Dogs for Conservation

 

This is the painting I did for them of their new dog being trained, "Bea." I'm pretty sure this is my favorite painting so far and now I'm thinking about getting a Springer Spaniel for myself when that day comes :)

Hello all!  I updated my website and facebook with the latest photos of paintings I've been doing.  The photo competition is in full swing and it's going very well-- keep it up! Here is a picture of "Peter."  He is my dog nephew.  I painted him for my sister for her birthday this past weekend. Peter was actually the first dog I ever painted and the reason behind my idea to start this business! The new style is "closeups." What do you think?

 

We have reached the conclusion of our first competition!  It was pretty fun and I've definitely learned some things along the way for future competitions (stay tuned). In the end I decided to award the first, second, and third place winners.  

Coming in first place with 88 votes winning a FREE 8x10 portrait is Max! What a beautiful dog!

 

Coming in second place, with 68 votes, is Shorty! His owner will get 50% off any painting size! Shorty will look GREAT in painted form!

Coming in third place, with 56 votes was Maggie! Her lucky owner will get 20% off any size painting!  Maggie will make a wonderful model!

 

Congratulations to all of the winners and thank you to everyone who participated!  Stay tuned for future competitions!!