So Elvis has finally been completed and his mother is very pleased :) I will be packing him this weekend and shipping him off. I look forward to seeing her shoot some photo's of Elvis with his custom painting. I always LOVE to see when people receive their paintings and their pets with their custom artwork. It makes me feel like I am with them in their home :) I would like to share with you just a little bit about the process of creating Elvis' painting. When I first saw Elvis' photo, I'm not going to lie, I was a little bit overwhelmed. Not because he has spots, but because he has so many spots and so many layers of colors that I really wanted to make Elvis look as much like Elvis as I could. I might not of gotten all his markings perfect, but I think the main areas that distinguish his coat are there and anyone who knows Elvis would be able to look at his portrait and know that was him. I was also overwhelmed because he is so gorgeous and I really wanted to do an outstanding job in portraying him. Whenever I create a custom portrait, even if someone has won the painting, I always like to have their input on their favorite and least favorite colors because they are ones living with the painting and I want them to display it proudly instead of being stuck in some hutch in the far back corner. I asked Barbara (Elvis' mom) what her favorite and least favorite colors were. Originally I had thought either a yellow or blue background would look great with his color, but those were 2 of her not so favorite colors. And red or black , which were her favorites, would just make Elvis look muddy. She never mentioned anything about green, so when I asked, she said yes of course and that her family is big time archery hunters and her house is a rustic lodge theme. So I thought, what might be a great translation would be to take the greens and make a camouflage style background. This isn't my typical approach, but I think it came out very nicely and she was very excited with the outcome. Now that I have completed Elvis' portrait, I have quite a few more that I have to get started on right away. My next couple of pieces are all different sizes from an 8" x 10" to another 18" x 24". I look forward to sharing more work in progress photo's as well as my thought process for the pieces. I hope you have enjoyed watching the journey of Elvis being created on canvas! The top image of Elvis is a split screen of the photo that was submitted by Barbara for me to paint
We are in week 2 of MARCH MADNESS and I have so many adorable contestants and amazing stories! I am going to have a very hard time at the end of the month choosing the 5 'photo of choice' winners for the free pet portrait. I'm seriously considering picking a bunch of photo's and asking some of my close friends to help me do a tie breaker. I wish I could paint them all like I did for the "Amazing Pet Story" contest, but there are just way too many contestants in the contest- which is a good thing :) The first winner for the 75% off gift certificate was Joey, a super cute long haired Chihuahua who won by over 80 "like" votes.
I was thinking today about how last year in May I held my very first contest, the Yay! May! Pet Portrait Give Away! and I had so much fun with my dog Ruccus picking the winner, that I have to do it again! If there is any contest that I would like to keep repeating, it would have to be that one! Plus, Ruccus is my little star and mascot of My Paw Portrait, how could I not? I will have to think of a new clever way for him to pick the winner since last year he did it by choosing a water bottle out of a bunch of bottles. But I know I will think of something really special that my fans can interact with by watching his video. I really wish that one of my videos would just make it to the Ellen DeGeneres show seeing as how I model all my contests around hers. I would love to spread the word about my special fans on her show and how these contests bring so much joy to the winners. It really isn't about money to me, it is about giving back and especially giving to those who are unable to afford. I really try to have a healthy balance of promoting my work and giving it away.
I finally had a chance to start the winner of the Modern Dog's "Cutest Couples" contest portrait. The winner was Elvis, a miniature Dachshund, super cute, he is all spotted and has these piercing light green eyes. On top of hosting and updating the MARCH MADNESS! contest I am currently running, I recently found out that my grandfather passed away. He was the last of my blood related grandparents and he was also a survivor of the Holocaust. He was an outstanding man. I can't say he was easy, but he loved his 2 grand daughters very much and even though sometimes he would say things without thinking about it, we knew that we were surrounded by love and a piece of history. My grandfather always said, "Mamala, all I wish for you is that you are happy, healthy, and that you have money." It brings tears to me whenever I think of that because I can hear him saying it clear as day. This is why it is so important to me to be able to having painting as a tool to release any emotion that I have built up inside. Painting Elvis' portrait couldn't of come at a better time when I needed help directing my focus in a positive way rather than feeling sorrow and isolating myself- although in a way I am currently isolated since I am in my studio alone, but I am not because I have my paintings to help pull me through. I know this piece is going to come out beautiful not only because Elvis is a great study, but all my energy is pouring out onto the canvas and I am so very grateful to be able to share that with someone very deserving. I will keep posting my work in progress as I work on Elvis' portrait and I hope you enjoy watching how I work. Thank you.
Today I started the mega March Madness contest that I am running all month long. I am so excited whenever I run contests because I get to see the most adorable photo's of my fans pets. I also love the stories they write with them. They are usually uplifting and funny, which I think is so important to spread that joy because we can all relate to that persons story somehow even though they might live across the world in Australia. And it is so amazing to me how Facebook has become this tool where we can connect and meet people that we would of never had the opportunity to meet, which is another reason why I love doing these contests! I posted some of the first entries for the March Madness contest, I cannot wait to see more! I'll also be working on the winners portrait from the Modern Dog Magazine's "Cutest Couple" contest. The winner was a super cute Dachshund, so I will post pictures of the progress shortly.
So I have been advertising in Modern Dog magazine now for a little over a year and they just released an article on myself and my pet portrait company. I cannot even explain how this feels. I started painting pet portraits for fun- I painted my dog Ruccus, and then when I saw the reaction from my friends and family on Facebook, I couldn't help but to pass that feeling on to them. So, I did what any Facebook friend stalker would do, lol, I started to steal my friends Facebook photo's of their pets and surprised them online with photo's of their dogs. The reactions were priceless! I just wish I had a video of their reaction when they opened up that email saying "Dyanna Bruno tagged you in a photo"...lol. I knew from that point on that I was going to start this company because I loved the feeling of people loving my artwork and being emotionally attached with me through my pieces. That I was able to give them something that I knew would last a lifetime and would mean everything to them because it was their babies on canvas, and who doesn't want to snap shot that perfect moment with their pets. And even though I haven't met all the animals I've painted, I still become connected to them when I paint them, which makes it that much more special.
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!