Well, I just knew that I had to not only try to make a living of this because you are suppose to do what you love, and I LOVE this, but I also knew, I had to give back. That's when I started to follow Ellen Degeneres and started planning contests around her game themes. I knew I wanted to start off with a BANG for my first contest. (Which, by the way, the winner of my first contest, The Yay! May! Pet Portrait Give Away! is actually featured in the Modern Dog 'Art Attack' Spring 2011 article, which makes this whole story come full circle). So back to that contest, I knew I had to find a way to connect to my newly added fan base, and what better way than to introduce Ruccus as my My Paw Portrait mascot! From the time I started the contest, I knew how the winner was going to be picked...not by the amount of "likes" on Facebook because that is just so boring and everyone knows, even on Facebook there's a popularity theme among pet profiles. No, I was either going to go big or go home, and go big it was. I had my dog pick the winner by playing with his favorite toy ever- those darn water bottles, lol. I placed a name of each of the contestants in the bottles and he ultimately chose the bottle with the name in it. It was perfect! Not only did he pick an amazing dog- Ducati, a Schnauzer from California- but everyone LOVED it! They immediately feel in love with Ruccus (how could you not?) and they loved the idea that everyone had a fair chance at winning. Well, after Ducati won, I had a stellar Schnauzer fan base, I mean Schnauzer profiles were hitting me left and right for custom portraits. Honestly, I never knew how tight nit the Schnauzer community was until I met Ducati. And I think the reason I have to many fans right now is because of him and his mom- thank you!
After that first contest, I was on fire, hosting more contests and donating free pet portraits for all kinds of pet causes, which really made the idea of 'paying it forward' truly pay it forward to me because shortly after that is when I started to actually bring in commission pieces! I know a lot of people who start businesses and end them after a year because it is too hard. I am so thankful that my husband, who has been so supportive of me and knowing that this is my passion in life to give back, that I can keep exploring these options and passing on the gift of art and love. And I am so thankful that Modern Dog Magazine gave me a chance to briefly say a little bit about myself and my artwork. I thank you all for following me, supporting me, and appreciating the art that I share with you. It is not easy to share something so intimate sometimes for fear of rejection, but everyone has been so amazingly supportive that it has made myself and my art just BLOSSOM! Thank You!