Inspiration is a crazy thing… people ask me all the time “What inspires you?” …truth is it’s anything and everything. And most of the time an image just pops into my head fully formed (but loose). Here’s an example… I was sitting in my booth space at Armadillo Christmas Bazaar listening to the stellar live music and this image popped in my head. I quickly scribbled it down on the back of one of their announcement sheets that they leave at our booths every morning. Then finally about 4 months later, I got around to pulling it out again from my “paint soon” folder. I tightened up the puppy and then got after it. Super fun, this was… and I’m just getting started with this instrument tree theme! Thank you ACB for leading me here
You can zoom in and see a larger view of the finished piece here (Original is 36 x 36 inches. Sold it at Bayou City Art Festival in March 2017): https://www.etsy.com/li…/519049953/puppy-pluckin-cross-texas
Radar the Weather Dog was a wonderful addition to the KPRC TV Houston Weather team. After his passing in September of 2016, the station commissioned me to paint his likeness for their studio. It was an honor to do it!
Radar came from the Houston Humane Society. Adopting Radar started out as a way to promote pet adoptions on KPRC but he quickly became the star of the show. Everyone loved that fluff-ball. As a thank you to the Houston Humane society for all they do for homeless animals, I will donate 25% from the purchase of this print to HHS for the rest of 2016. Link to purchase: https://www.etsy.com/listing/482173340/radar-the-weather-dog
You can read more about Radar here:
New this season are two items that are sure to bring a smile for anyone on your list that is a pet lover.
Painted Pet Party Travel Kit
If you follow me, you are aware of my painted pet parties in my studio. I have now created a travel kit for anyone that has been wanting the experience of painting their own pet in my bold style but does not live close enough to come to the studio.
How does this work? You send a few pics of your pet to me at email@example.com and then pick your background (shown at www.aprilmurphy.com/painted-pet-parties). I will create the linework on your canvas and color code it. Think of it as a custom paint by number kit. When you are finished, you will pop it back in the mail to me (there is a return label in the kit) and I will do the final “magic pixie dust” touches and then send it back to you. And Voila! You will have a painting of your love that you will be proud to hang on your wall. This new kit also makes for a great gift idea. Imagine the look on your recipient’s face when they open it up and see their 4-legged on a canvas ready for painting.
Get them here (Gift Certificates also available):
Also new this year are custom metal ornaments. You can choose between five images for your front side and then on the back side, I will personalize it with a pet’s name inside the hand painted paw. You can order these in my ETSY store and also see the ornaments close up. They measure 4″ x 4″ and will add whimsy and color to any tree.
Get them here:
I am excited to reveal a big “Give Back” project. Bayou City Art Festival showed me what an amazing community there is that surrounds me in Houston, TX. The support from everyone that came out and genuinely wished me well and bought art was incredible that weekend. Still beaming from all it! So in return, I have chosen Keep Houston Beautiful for a year-long fundraising project. One of the many things that they do is teach children and adults about the necessity to keep our city clean. Everything that gets thrown on the ground has potential to harm for our wildlife as it reaches the water tables. I will choose a species each month and tell a story in a whimsical way with a painting… teach about all their facts within the piece and hopefully bond kids with these creatures… instilling in them a desire to keep our city clean by getting to know these animals personally in their “homes”…
So Mr. Armadillo here (our Texas mammal) cannot see very well, hence, his glasses. There is the obligatory road that often leads to his demise. There is the habitat he craves.. a warm climate. A hot drink sits on the table because he needs to stay toasty for survival. The books on the table are “Twelfth Knight” (his armor) “The Road Less Traveled” (again the road thing) and “The Big Book of Bugs” (what he eats). The balls on his chair represent how he rolls up. And there is his paw print on his cowboy hat. The little Knight book end represents his protective armor.
This project officially begins in late September. One nice size painting a month… ending with an auction event in October of 2017 at Winter Street Studios. 100% of the proceeds will go to the city of Houston and more specifically Keep Houston Beautiful. So happy to do this for a hometown that has done so much for me and my dream job… love this art-filled life. Giving back is where it’s at!
I really did not understand the full impact of being chosen as the “Featured Artist” for Bayou City Art Festival until a few weeks before the event. I am sitting here the morning after BCAF still beaming and feeling emotional and extremely grateful…. what a wonderful opportunity this has been. The exposure, the key people I have met, the TV and radio spots (yeah, I enjoyed that way more than I expected)… all amazing. And those that have followed my journey to this point as an artist have been SO so supportive. It was a weekend full of hugs, making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, and seeing my artwork find so many new homes. Can’t stop smiling And now, it’s time to get back to the studio and make some new art! Feeling very energized and ready for the next phase of this artful life.
So I finished my 500th paintings (I keep a database… very un-artistlike, I know) and thought…hmmm, I ought to somehow punctuate that acheivement. So I decided to give away a free print to some lucky someone… I threw all the names on the floor from the likes, comments and shares from the post with the 500th painting and then let Corky pick the winner…the first name her nose touched since she has no thumbs to hand it to me. 😉 I can always count on Curious Corky to play this game with me. Congratulations Tandy Mellard! You win a free large print of your choice and you can thank my cat’s nose for your win
I applied for and have been juried into the Bayou City Art Festival. That in itself is pretty awesome because it is one of the big art shows in the US. But the BIGGER news… I am over the moon excited to be chosen from the group of 300 talented creatives who will be exhibiting there the last weekend in April… as the FEATURED artist! What an honor…Can’t stop smiling!
They chose this painting of mine to use for all of their promotional materials, “The World Beyond My Ball”… I am still pinching myself that this is real. Anyway, if you are in the Houston area that weekend, please come by. I will have a double size tent in the front (one of the perks of being the featured artist) and I will have LOTS of new work that weekend! And if not… watch my facebook fan page, because I will be posting my new work there in the coming month and beyond.
Are you a follower of my colorful and whimsical art? Would you like to come to the studio and paint your own pet with my guidance? I am excited to announce Painted Pet Parties. Here is how it works. There are two ways to do this…
- Gather up a group of 7 or 8 friends and pick a day on my calendar that is open and sign up for a private party.
- Have a friend or two or you just want to come by yourself? No problem. Sign up to “join a party.” You will meet new fur-lovin’ friends and get your creative on.
Once you have signed up, send me a photo of your 4-legged. I will brush in a whimsical likeness on your canvas. When you arrive at the studio, your piece will be there waiting for you. Together, step by step, we will paint your pet’s portrait. Classes last 3 hours. You can bring whatever you want to drink and munch on. We will have fun! Don’t stress… I will be there to help and make sure you end up with a painting you love.
You can sign up by calling (713-816-2877) or e-mailing me (firstname.lastname@example.org) to book your session. I will get some 2016 “join a party” dates out there after the holidays. If you’d like to book a private party, contact me.
And follow my “Painted Pet Party” Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/paintedpetparties
These are made-to-order cheerful canvas prints memorializing that special life-path companion that is furever in your heart. The base is a canvas print of a scene full of perPETual sunshine. Customization includes a silhouetted representation of your pet along with their name at the bottom. The size is 8 x 8 inches and the sides are 1.5 inches deep. No frame needed… they are ready to pop on the wall. (The tennis ball is in the pic for size reference). I hand paint the silhouette and the ball or mouse, all the bright highlights, glaze them, and paint the sides… so lots of original strokes go into each piece.
Losing a pet is heartbreaking… remembering them does not have to be.
For more info or to order yours today, you’ll find them in my ETSY shop HERE.
I have had a studio at Winter Street Studios in Houston for just over a year and have loved it! It has been very inspiring to be surrounded by other artists and to be a part of that community. I had this cozy little studio with really nice texture (brick on one wall, aluminum on one wall, wood on another and a little bit of sheetrock). It’s a great space… but a few weeks ago a dream came true. The only other space in the building that I love became available and I snapped it up! Twice the square footage and just as charming with lots of natural light. If you are ever in the Houston area, please swing by and see me. The studios are all open every 2nd Saturday of the month from 2 – 5 pm. We serve drinks and lite bites in our creative spaces while you wander through the building and see our processes and look at our art. And now that I have more space, I have lots of ideas for what to do with it… more events, more people, music, painting larger works… stay tuned. Happy 2015!