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:

boomer

‘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).

dogfest table 2016

(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:

ornaments in trees

(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:

kraft

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!!

SLEEP ROVER MARKET 2016

For the past few years I’ve done one doggie Xmas market per season, but this year I am doing three – Yes, THREE! Am I crazy? Maybe lol, but nonetheless I’m super excited to be invited to so many awesome events this year.

“Sleep Rover’s first Annual ROVER MARKET – showcasing Calgary’s top Pet Related Vendors.”

‘Rover Market’ is being held by Sleep Rover Doggie Hotel & Daycare coming up on Nov 27, and they are only featuring local Calgary vendors which I think is a great twist! They are big advocates for #ShopLocal, and I totally agree that it is important to nurture and encourage the local businesses (whether large or small) around you. So big props to Sleep Rover for being such great role models there :) . Anywho! Here are the details:

EVENT INFO
Date: Sunday, November 27th 2016
Time: 2pm to 5pm
Place: Sleep Rover Doggie Hotel & Daycare (645 37th Ave NE, Calgary)
Cost: FREE! (for dogs & humans)
Parking: free

I will be bringing my Pets-A-Sketch supplies with me to make art on site, as well as painting examples, greeting cards, and gift certificates. There will be a variety of dog-related vendors at the event too, a photo booth for ‘Howliday‘ pix, and an appearance from ‘Santa Paws:D . For further info please check out Sleep Rover’s facebook event page HERE.

I’ve also included their event poster below (resized for the blog, but you can view the full size by clicking on it):

Rover+Market+2016Bring your ‘Rovers’ & come say hello :)

PETS-A-SKETCH OPTIONS 2016

Sketch options 2016

For the 2016 Holiday season, I am offering two styles of Pets-a-Sketch drawings (“Original” or “Splash of Colour”) in two formats (5×7 or Ornament), which means that there are four exciting options! Below are examples & information for each.


“Original” - Black ink on White paper, in 5×7 format:

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(Picture frame not included)


“Original” - Black ink on White paper, in Ornament format:

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(Ornaments come with red ribbon, and a gift box.)


“Splash of Colour” - Black ink on White paper with Watercolour accents, in 5×7 or Ornament formats:

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(Picture frame not included. Ornament shown with Navy ribbon upgrade.)


Ornaments automatically come with red ribbon, however I also have four alternate colours available for those interested. I currently have Olive / Navy / Black / Brown:

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All Pets-A-Sketch drawings are one-of-a-kind and done with archival artist quality, high end inks / papers / paints. Since they are all hand-drawn freehand, each one is totally unique! They are sold individually, and 5×7’s come unframed in a protective clear sleeve, and Ornaments come in a gift box. Each sketch is titled, signed, and dated on the back lightly in pencil.

For pricing, ordering information, and to view further sketch examples, please check out my new Pets-A-Sketch page. Or if you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact me :)

SIT HAPPENS! CANINE CHRISTMAS 2016

“A Christmas Market GONE TO THE DOGS!”

my 2015 booth

I’m excited to share that for the 4th year now I will be a vendor at Sit Happens’ Canine Christmas Market! A fun one-day-only event all about dogs (but there will be vendors for humans too lol). Sit Happens moved to a new location a couple months ago, so the event will be even bigger & better than ever!

EVENT INFO
Date: Sunday, December 4th 2016
Time: 10am to 4pm
Place: Sit Happens! Dog Companion Training (#4, 2180 Pegasus Way NE, Calgary)
Cost: FREE! (for dogs & humans)
Parking: free

New to the event this year: SWAG BAGS! The first 75 attendees get swag bags, which include things such as samples or coupons from a variety of vendors at the market. Also new this year is a children’s activity booth, which will be filled with fun Christmas related activities as well as info on companionship between kids & dogs. For further info about the event & the 20+ participating vendors, please visit Sit Happens’ event page on Facebook. Also, if you would like a printable flyer for the event (or just to view it online etc), please click here: ChristmasMarketRobynmillarflyer

Like previous years at this market, I will be bringing painting samples with me, greeting cards (including 8 new designs!), and sketch samples. I’ll also be doing sketch ornaments & 5×7’s on site! I am accepting pre-orders for those wanting to pick up at the event too.

And for fun, here’s a “doppelganger” pic from last year at the market of one of the pets that was sketched on site, sweet little Ace:

(If you’re having trouble viewing this image, you can see it on my Instagram page HERE.)

Hope to see you there! :)

DOGFEST 2016

DogFest 2016 banner

I’m excited to share that I will have a booth set up at DogFest in Calgary coming up on November 19th 2016! It is a one-day-only Christmas Market event with approximately 20 vendors in attendance, featuring both dog-related items and non. I will be bringing painting and sketch examples with me as well as my Pet Art cards, plus I will be drawing sketch ornaments on site too! I’m also taking pre-orders for those wishing to pick up their orders at the event.

EVENT INFO
Date: November 19th 2016
Time: 11am to 4pm
Place: North Glenmore Park Community Association, 2231 Longridge Dr SW (Calgary, AB)
Tickets: Dogs $10 ea, people FREE! (buy online, or cash at door)
Parking: ample + free

Not only is DogFest a Christmas Market, it is also a doggy meet up event! So there will be an area for people to take their dogs to socialize, so feel free to bring Rover with you. The entry fee for dogs is $10 each, and humans get in free! Tickets can be purchased via DogFest’s website, or directly at this link HERE. If you do plan to bring your dog(s), please read more info on the doggy meet-up HERE. OH! And there will also be two photographers on site doing holiday photo sessions for only $15! More info on that HERE.

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This is a pic of my compact booth set up at an event last year, but my DogFest one will be bigger & better! I hope you’ll come by and say hello :)

If you have questions or would like more info about this event, feel free to get in touch with me or the DogFest folks directly via their website DogFest.ca .

CAHS FUNDRAISER 2016

For year number six now I am donating a Pet Portrait gift certificate to the Cochrane & Area Humane Society’s annual fundraising gala, which is coming up on November 5th 2016. Every year the CAHS raises money through various fundraising efforts to help local animals in need, and their gala event proceeds this year are going directly towards a much needed Rehabilitation & Education Centre:

future centre mock up

Digital rendering of future centre from CAHS’s website.

Not only has the Humane Society grown significantly over the years, but their current location won’t be available to them much longer. They are nearing their fundraising goal to make this new space a reality, and when I heard the news I was more than happy to donate an item to their silent auction fundraiser. I just wanted to pass along the event info here in case it was of interest to others in the Cochrane / Calgary area:

When: Saturday, November 5th 2016, at 6:45pm
Where: Links of GlenEagles, Cochrane, Alberta
Tickets: $100 ea

This year’s gala features unique food and duelling pianos, with a silent and live auction. For more information about CAHS or their upcoming gala, please visit www.cochranehumane.ca .

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