A Doggy Memorial Craft

Snow Mountain Painting

Above you see a painting my artist spouse completed after studying the Bob Ross Joy of Painting Series of videos (not to mention hours of his TV shows over the years). It’s a way to start, and my spouse is quite good at landscape art now. If you want to learn to paint landscapes, Bob Ross has a pretty easy to follow technique. By studying it, my spouse has been able to paint some nice mountain, forest, and water scenes just by watching his technique, and of course practice, man, practice.

But as she got more involved into painting, a person we know who liked the paintings wanted her to paint a picture of a recently passed pet Chihuahua. She tried, she really did. But she quickly found out that moving from landscapes to portraits, even a doggy portrait, was not at all easy.

It takes an entirely different kind of skill to draw and/or paint portraits. She was able to make a painting that certainly looked like a dog, such as the Dachshund image below:


This was an attempt at a portrait of our beloved little weenie dog named Vienna. It is clearly a dog, recognizable as a Daschund, and somewhat like our Vienna. But it’s not quite an accurate portrait of Vienna. There’s something about a dog’s face that is difficult to capture to the point that it looks like a particular dog.

So in order to give more of a portrait quality product to the party asking for a picture of their Chihuahua, we decided to switch to an entirely different type of medium. As it happens, I have a Cafepress store, and some experience in making designs for a number of products. Some, like the one below, are more textual and humorous than perhaps artistic.

Others are more artistic. I’m not the one who can paint though, so the art I make is more abstract, like the following:

Still, in making designs for t-shirts, mugs, and other products, I have learned to manipulate images with a paint program. I happen to mostly use Mtpaint as my paint utility. It has the utility I need to make some interesting images.

So we looked through all of the photos we have of the little Chihuahua of interest when she was up and running around. We finally found one that had a good shot of her head and face, though some of her body was obscured by a puppy blanket. With some editing and some touch up, plus some work on a fading background, I was able to make the following image:


Now isn’t that a portrait you could fall in love with? The tools at Cafepress gave me a number of product options for this image. One is a framed tile which would look much like the above image. Posters of various sizes are available, as well as other items, like a music box with the image on the lid. We delivered a couple of products with the above on it to the interested party, and she was thrilled at the result. It provided what she wanted.

So with the different kinds of art created by me and my spouse, I have a couple of craft recommendations for you. If you like to paint, or think you’d like to, I highly recommend the Bob Ross videos as a start. He makes landscape that are striking, and makes it look easy. Hint, it’s not quite that easy, but the techniques are something you can master.

If you’re not so good at that kind of art, as I am distinctly not, and if you happen to like working with computers, which I most distinctly do, consider digital art. You can make abstract art, humorous art, theme art about your favorite subjects, or whatever. It’s a challenge, but an enjoyable one. When  the family artist is in painting another awesome landscape, I’m in cutting, combining, and layering images to create my own creations.

You only need to take your pick. Canvas, brush, and paint — or computer, camera, and mouse. Then — create!

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