MY GREETING CARDS AT REGAL CAT CAFE

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I am sooo excited to share that my Cat Art Cards (shown above) will be available at the much anticipated Regal Cat Cafe when they open on June 24th 2017 here in Calgary (303-10th Street NW)! What is a cat cafe you ask? It’s a combination of a cafe and retail space, with a separate area to meet adoptable kitties – aka – the place I will likely be found every spare moment I have lol! If you don’t know this about me yet, then the “cat’s out of the bag” now… I love cats! (surprise surprise) :D

Making a special appearance on the shelves at the cafe are these mini sketch cards I did up for them (shown below on the right) :

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A cool side note to mention: 10% of all sales from the cafe’s retail area go right to Meow Foundation! Which is the local cat-focused humane society that is connecting the kitties to the adoption area as well. I can’t wait to go check everything out this weekend! For more detailed information on the cafe, please visit www.RegalCatCafe.com.

And for those in the Calgary area this weekend interested in attending the opening, here are the specifics:

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(If you are having trouble viewing it, you can see it directly on Instagram HERE.)

CUSTOM SKETCH CARD

A lovely repeat client from Victoria BC contacted me to create a custom art card for a loved one who had lost their beloved cat Bishop earlier in the year. She thought it’d be a nice surprise to send him one of my custom Pets-A-Sketch pieces in the mail, but in a card format. I was up for the task, and this is the resulting piece:

bishop card 1

bishop card 2

bishop card 3

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It was also requested that I include custom name text detail on the front of the card, and in blue to match the kitty’s eyes.

The card was created using the same materials as my usual sketches, but just cut larger and folded in half to make it into a card format. The finished size remained 5″x7″ like my other pieces, so that it could be still be easily framed like my client intended. Thanks again CB for having me do this special project for you! <3

BEAR & SAM

bear & sam

Last week this fun pair of 8×10 black & white Pets-a-Sketches headed out of my studio. An interior designer contacted me to create them featuring her clients’ two pugs (Bear & Sam), as a thank you gift for their recent reno project. As soon as she sent me the photos to sketch from I couldn’t wait to work on them!! So cute.

Below is a pic of the drawings all framed up and installed in the beautiful new powder room by Sölle Interiors:

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(If you are having trouble viewing the image, it can also be viewed directly on Instagram HERE.)

Before the sketches left my studio I took a quick video of them up close:

A post shared by Robyn Millar (@artbyrobynmillar) on

(If you are having trouble viewing the video, it can also be viewed directly on Instagram HERE.)

After all these years of painting and drawing pets, these are actually my first pugs to date!! I had waited oh so long to do some too lol. I just love all the wrinkles & folds on their little cute faces. Thanks again T for having me sketch these guys! <3

DOGFEST SPRING FLING 2017

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I’m excited to share that I will be a vendor at DogFest‘s 1st annual ‘Spring Fling’! It’s on Saturday May 6th 2017, and is a one-day-only style market & doggie playdate event. If you came to DogFest in December, this one will be similar but even bigger & better!

EVENT INFO
Date: May 6th 2017
Time: 10am to 5pm
Place: Triwood Arena, 2244 Chicoutimi Dr NW (Calgary, AB)*
Tickets: Dogs $10 ea, people FREE! (buy online, or cash at door)
Parking: free

(* Please note DogFest is in the Arena - NOT the community hall. The arena is to the East of the hall.)

WHAT’S NEW:

Did you attend DogFest at Christmas time? If so, here’s what’s new this round:
– Larger space
– More vendors (and all dog related!)
– Longer hours
– THERE WILL BE FOOD TRUCKS!

[click to continue…]

WINSTON

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Earlier this year a client contacted me to paint a special portrait of her beloved Winston. Sadly, he had passed away a few months before :( . Then after seeing a painting I had created for one of her friends at Christmas time, she reached out to me to paint a portrait of her own.

She sent me a variety of photos, and we selected the one that was most “him” – with him resting contently on the floor looking up with his beautiful brown eyes. We had initially planned to create the painting on a gallery depth canvas per my usual specs. But very shortly after the order was placed she came across a picture frame that she thought would be perfect for the upcoming painting. She sent me measurements and photos of the frame, and so I was able to confirm that we could fit a standard 11″x14″ canvas board in it. So since I hadn’t started on the original canvas just yet, we were able to easily change gears and proceeded with the thinner canvas format:

canvas board thickness

(Thin canvas board profile.)

Luckily I had some practice with canvas boards and picture frames last year while working on an order for a piece called ‘Odie’, so I knew what I was getting into. And since she sent such detailed measurements, I was able to confirm that the 11×14 canvas board would just pop right into the frame when it was ready, so that was really handy too.

Once the painting was all finished and before packing it up, I took a little video tour of it to try and capture Winston’s fluffy fur detail & brown eyed stare:

(If the video isn’t loading properly, it can also be viewed directly on my YouTube page HERE.)

Oh! And for the signature, I usually sign my paintings on the side of the canvas. But since this one was painted on a thin board the side signature placement wasn’t a possibility. So I offered to put it on the back as not to distract from Winston’s handsome face, but it was requested I put my name right on the front, which I thought was quite sweet :)

The morning after the painting was received safe & sound in Leduc AB, my client sent me this lovely photo of the painting in the frame:

winston in frame

I think this frame is absolutely perfect for Winston’s painting! The colours are so complimentary and warm, and I love the varying textures between the white wood, black velvet, and gold accents. I’m really glad we went with the canvas board format so she could use this particular frame! So neat.

My client also sent me this amazing note when she received the painting:

“I didn’t think the real version could be better then the photo you sent me.  I was completely wrong! It’s as if he is sitting right here!  So incredibly real and life like.   I showed our other golden retriever and he had a real reaction to it.  He went up to it and you could tell he was looking so hard at it.   He started wagging his tail and just stood there looking at the picture.   He knew who this was.   We are all just standing here admiring it and like I expected, I couldn’t stop the tears.  It feels like my sweet boy, has come home!  So incredible, such a gift!”

Couldn’t ask for a better reaction, oh my goodness! So happy that she is so happy :)

For a full image of Winston’s painting, please visit my Pet Portrait Portfolio page.

KING

king details

I was contacted by a client to create a painting of his dog – King – based on a photo taken at a beautiful lake in BC. He reached out to me because he saw a piece that I had painted previously of a dog in a similar setting (pictured towards the bottom of this post).

A couple weeks ago I got to mail King’s portrait to BC, and my client requested to not see progress pictures or a sneak peek before mailing it – he fully trusted me (which is both an honour and nerve-wracking lol). When he received his painting he sent me this lovely note:

“Just wanted to let you know I received the portrait of King. You absolutely nailed it, thank you so much. The attention to detail and the way you were able to capture his soulful eyes is amazing. The background is stunning. You blew my expectations away. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Again, thank you so much for everything in this process. I’m so glad you took on this project. I just knew from seeing your other portraits that you were the one to do King.”

Made my day, for sure! So happy he likes it :)

Water is always a bit of a trip to paint. You have all kinds of patterns and textures and different colours reflecting every which way. It’s always a challenge, but I find it to be a fun challenge. Below is my favourite spot from the lake detail, showing King’s stick at his feet below the water:

water details

As mentioned, here is the painting that my client saw in my portfolio that triggered the order for King’s piece:

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‘Boomer’ | 10″x10″ | acrylic on canvas (c.2015)

Definitely some similarities! It’s been a pleasure to paint both, and they make me want to paint water and landscapes more often. Perhaps a new series to come? I’ll keep you posted :)

A full image of King’s painting can be viewed in my Pet Portrait Portfolio.

FAREWELL SWEET RATTY CAT

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When I was a teenager I got to bring home a black & white kitten with big bright green eyes, named Ratty. She was quite a character from the get go: cuddled on her terms, was a fierce hunter, and yet playful too. She was the fastest cat I’ve ever seen in my life! She caught all kinds of things, with the most random being a bat if I remember right lol. She once even tried to take down a giant crow… she didn’t succeed, but luckily that situation didn’t go sideways either haha.

When I moved off to college, it was a no-brainer to leave her and my other childhood cat (KC) there at home. They’d lived there their whole lives as outdoor cats with free-reign over a spacious yard, and I thought it wouldn’t be right to uproot either of them to selfishly take them with me to a Calgary apartment.

Yesterday, I got the news that Ratty girl passed away at 17 :(

I loved spoiling her and cuddling her as much as possible every time I visited home. I loved making her into a purrito (wrapping her in a towel, she absolutely loved it!!). I loved when me and my dad would be on the phone and he’d put her on so I could hear her purr (she had a very loud motor lol). I miss all these things already.

Back in 2013 I painted a portrait of her, so I opted to take some pictures of her with it:

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I actually took a video of her with her painting as well, and it can be seen in this blog post HERE. Oh! And an explanation of her name is in that post too if you are curious lol.

Then when I made her painting into a Pet Art Card, I took a pic of her with that as well. It just cracked me up so much that it looked like she was legit reading what was inside:

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I’m going to miss smothering her with cuddles when I come home. I’ll miss her cute little nose profile. I’ll miss her twitchy tail game she liked to play with us. I’ll miss her snooping in my bags (or helping me unpack, depending on how you look at it lol) :

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My dad gave her a very good life for all of her remaining days, and I’m so grateful that she was a happy and healthy kitty in our lives for 17 years.

Farewell my little orca whale <3

T&K: My largest painting to date

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From a 4″x6″ photograph, to a 4.17’x6′ painting of T&K!

In the spring of 2016, I was contacted by a client who wanted me to create a larger than life portrait of her and her dog together. Her dog had recently passed away, and she wanted to have a special memento of her time with her beloved companion of many years. She sent me a variety of photos and an approximate scale she wanted for the artwork, and after chatting about which photo and size would work best we decided on a 50″x72″ canvas!! This is the largest canvas I’ve ever worked on, as the majority of my Pet Portrait orders are under 12″x12″. Before this the largest painting of a person I’d done was for Xmas 2015 of a girl with her dog on a 18″x18″ canvas (that piece can be viewed HERE). Also, this piece is only my 6th ever painting of a person too! But my client trusted in me, and I believed I could create the piece she was after, so we confirmed all the details & went forward.

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I knew going in that this would be a challenging project, but I was ready to take it on. Since the 50″x72″ canvas was far larger than anything I’d undertaken to date, the timeline was a bit of a guessing game. My initial estimation was to have it completed by the end of summer, but it became apparent very quickly that the closer to the end it came, the more time it took because of the level of detail and surface area involved. And instead of rushing it to meet an estimated timeline, my client and I both agreed that taking the proper time needed was the way to go. The painting was completed at the end of Fall, and was delivered home to Vancouver in early December, which was super a exciting day of course!

(Above is a photo of the delivery man whisking the painting away. If you are having trouble viewing it you can see it on Instagram HERE.)

I worked on this painting for approximately 6 months, and once it was picked up and I went back in my studio it definitely felt strange to not have it in there any more lol! It’s always weird how that works. My client had asked that I not share progress pictures while I worked the piece, which is why it was so hush hush on my social media. But I’m super excited to share now what I was working on for half of the year!

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This piece did challenge me, and the sheer size of it and time involved seemed intense at times. I definitely did learn a lot with it, but the main goal of course was to create the painting that my customer had wanted. And in the end she is happy with it, and that’s what it’s really all about! This is the note she sent me when she received her painting:

“It is full of warmth and happiness… Thank you for creating something that I will treasure all my life.” – K

That right there is the cherry on top for me :)

I’ve been painting custom artwork for about 10 years now, and I never would have predicted that I would get to paint a piece like this! This one definitely feels like a once in a lifetime project. But I guess only time can tell on that one, because you just never know :D .

And for fun, here are a couple detail shots from the painting:

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And one more, with me in it for scale purposes:

me with T&K

To view a full image of this painting, please visit my People Portraits portfolio page.

2016 HOLIDAY SEASON RECAP

I hope you had a great Christmas 2016 & New Years 2017 celebration!

2016 studio decorations

(a little decorations in the studio for Xmas 2016, with some orders ready to go)

A few years back I started a little tradition of recapping my art endeavours from the holiday season onto my blog. It began as a result of the lack of blog entries posted during the months of Nov/Dec while I was working on top secret gifts for folks. So every year now I like to put together one larger post after Christmas highlighting the events of the past two months or so. So here we go for 2016’s edition…

November & December have always been my busiest painting months of the whole year. This season started off a little slower than usual, but seemed to explode a bit near the end lol! A typical Christmas painting season for me usually consists of completing a variety of painting orders, some sketch orders, and attending the annual Canine Xmas Market at Sit Happens where I have a display set up as well as doing on site pet sketching (you can check out a video clip of that HERE).

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(table set up at DogFest 2016)

For the 2016 holiday season I was invited to two additional dog related Christmas markets, my sketches seemed to snowball more than any other year, I released 8 new Pet Art Card designs, introduced my brand new Wrapping Paper, and on top of this all my largest painting order to date (non Christmas related, lol… post on that coming soon, but you can see a peek HERE) happened to wrap up all around the same time!! It was a bit intense at times, but overall a great holiday season for sure. Here are some photos of what I got up to:

studio wall xmas 2016

(final 5 pet portrait paintings ready for pick up before Xmas, plus festive lights on studio easel for fun :D )

thor & norman

(set of two cat paintings ready to head under their Christmas tree)

2016 sketch collage

(collage of approx half of the sketch orders completed for Xmas 2016)

jessie james

(there’s just something about this one, my fave – ‘Jessie James’ 5×7 watercolour)

2016 pet art cards

(my 8 new Pet Art Cards released in 2016)

more coming soon

(progress pic for client)

In the end, this year for Christmas I completed 9 acrylic on canvas paintings, 90 pet sketches, and started three ‘belated’ style orders. Sometimes I get painting orders that trickle in after my October cut off, and they’re scheduled to be completed after the holidays. But since they are intended as belated Xmas gifts, a fun option for these is to offer “sneak peek” pictures of the pieces in progress to share with the recipient (the last photo above is an example).

One of my favourite parts of this season is receiving fun notes & photos from clients or gift recipients! I was sent some photos of sketch ornaments on their Christmas trees, and it’s always fun to see them in their different homes:

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(Lola, Aiden, and Leroy ornaments in their trees)

Big thanks to all my clients and supporters for following along with my art happenings during the holidays and throughout the year. Your commissions, shares, and referrals help me to keep doing what I do, and for that I’m always so grateful. Hope your 2016 was great, and that 2017 has wonderful things in store for you too!

NEW WRAPPING PAPER BY ROBYN MILLAR

gift wrap examples

Oooh my goodness you guys, I’m so excited to share that I made some Pets-a-Sketch inspired gift wrap recently!! I got it in 100% recycled kraft coloured paper, or white kraft paper, each with the same black pattern. Jazz it up with bright coloured ribbon, or go monochromatic, with happy dog faces this cute you can’t go wrong!

I try to introduce something new every year, and this is my 2016 reveal! Since I did three dog markets this Xmas season, I opted to do a fully dog themed pattern for my first ever wrapping paper:

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kraft colour

white

white colour

It made it’s debut at DogFest last month, and I brought it with me to two more markets since, where to my excitement it was really well received at all 3 events! I ended up almost selling out of the kraft colour, so I took the remaining kraft stock to Muttley Crue Organics in Calgary (620 46 Ave NE) – so if you’d like to get your hands on some of the brown paper please get in touch with them:

(If you are having trouble viewing this Instagram pic, you can also view it HERE.)

Otherwise I do still have some of the white paper in stock, and if you’d like some please feel free to get in touch :)

Ps – What style of wrapping paper would you like to see me do next? Cats? Various animals? Non-animals? Do tell, I’d love to hear!!

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