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

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