For quite a while, I have been building a wall of dog and cat art in the dining room/ office in my apartment. It centers around a print from a local Vermont artist, Dug Nap. The text reads, "I love you, but naturally my pets come first."
I found the print at a thrift store for 25 cents and the frame for 50 cents and it was so perfect, I immediately hung it up at home. At the time I hadn't met Andy - but it certainly saved some awkward conversations when we were getting to know each other. I added the sheltie painting, which I have had for many years, so many that it probably qualifies as vintage at this point! It's actually a paint by numbers that my younger sister painted, it represents our childhood dog, Sam, a shetland sheepdog as well as my first dog as an adult, a sheltie named, Daisy.
The painting of the black and white cat at the top was a gift from my good friends, David and Holly. They were visiting David's grandfather and as they were looking through some of his artwork, they came across this painting of a black and white cat that looks exactly like my cat, Lucas, who passed away 18 months ago. It was a really awesome addition to the wall o' pets and a fitting tribute to one of the best cats that ever lived (no joke, he was the BEST). The other pieces have been accumulated over the years, most are gifts from my friend Rachel, who has an amazing eye for vintage finds, and shares my love of the kitty cats.
For awhile I have been thinking that the wall is short on the doggy love. I had some vague idea that I wanted to create silhouette portraits of the dogs, something that could fit with the vintage handmade vibe already up on the wall. Then last week, I saw some posts from a favorite blog, Banjo and Millie, about representing Banjo and Millie in artwork (see those posts, here and here). Since Millie is a shih-tzu (Paws Up for Tzus!) too, I was inspired by the art choices (found on the ever amazing Etsy of course). I trolled around on Etsy for a while trying to pull the trigger on some custom art of Winnie and Sharona, but as it turns out, I am too cheap to buy art (Evidence: up at the top of this post when I admitted the centerpiece of my art "collection" cost just 75 cents!).
So the next step in this journey was a trip to the craft store. I had long ago saved the instructions to a DIY custom silhouette project from another fave blog, Young House Love. If you read the instructions from YHL, you'll see some stuff about photoshop and printing...I decided to forgo all that newfangled technology stuff and buy tracing paper instead. I also purchased two 8' X 8" frames (2 for $10!), black paper and patterned fun paper for the background (all from the extensive scrap-booking section of our local craft store). The total project cost: $13.
I did actually try to snap some photos of the project, with a vague notion of giving you all a step by step on how I did it...but then I remembered I could just provide you with the link to the DIY I used and save us all a lot of embarrassment (i.e. there was dirty laundry in the background of all the photos I took). And this isn't a DIY blog, this is a, "I love my dogs so much I have to tell the world about it on the regular- blog."
Here's the gist: I took a photo of Sharona in profile, then I traced the profile shot onto the tracing paper (old school, straight off my laptop monitor) and used it as a template to create the silhouette on the black paper, then I assembled it all in the frame. It took about 20 minutes.
Here's the photo I used of Sharona:
Here's my finished product: One custom silhouette of Sharona (Winnie's has to wait until after she gets a haircut, but I have all the materials ready to go).
And here it is on the wall:
It definitely felt good to do this art project myself after having it in the back of my mind for the better part of a year. It also feels great to have only invested in $13 for 2 (well eventually it will be 2) pieces of custom art. So, tell me, do you have art representing your love of animals?