Make Plans for the Dillo!

This will be my third year as a “Dillo” artist at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar in December and I love this show. It’s a long event and takes lots of stamina and inventory but it is the perfect way to wrap up my artful year. It’s a must attend for anyone looking for unique gifts and great music. Come for a day or grab a hotel room and stay for many days! You’ll hear music from a star studded line up (three concerts a day) while browsing creative booths from some of the most talented artists around. I totally enjoy myself and so will you 🙂 

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You Asked for Them…

I don’t do tees but once in a blue moon but this one is special. These are in production and will be ready next week (Sept 14th or so) but you can pre-order them so that you can make sure you get one. The proceeds are going to Barrio Dogs Inc who have been in the trenches doing what is needed here in Houston. So happy to hand over these dollars to them. And very happy to help animals in need. You know me and animals 😉

You can order them here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/542468888/texas-hold-on-to-your-hat

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Every Little Bit Helps…

So I posted this illustration on Facebook which I did out of frustration at this crappy dude #Harvey and people started asking for prints of it. I was really reluctant because I am not about profiting from a disaster like this. But I had also been feeling a bit helpless in my safe and dry house in Houston… I had donated to various charities the first few days following the devastation but was craving a way to help through my art and here it appeared! The proceeds (minus shipping and supplies) from this print go straight to the relief fund (specifically the fund that JJ Watt set up at youcaring.com). The brim of the hat can be personalized with a family name or whatever you like. Give it as a gift of thanks to someone that helped you or buy it for yourself. Know that your dollars are going directly to the charity.  #Houstonproud #texasproud #texantough

Texas, Hold on to Your Hat! https://www.etsy.com/li…/540435256/texas-hold-on-to-your-hat

Update: Your purchases have resulted in $1540 being donated to JJ’s Relief Fund. That is awesome! You get a nice print and all the proceeds (minus shipping) get donated.. win/win!

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Inspiration…

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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

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Radar The Weather Dog

radarweatherdogRadar 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:
http://www.click2houston.com/community/radar-the-dogs-pet-adoption-day-in-houston

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New Fun Holiday Artful Offerings

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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 aprilmurphy@earthlink.net 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):
https://www.etsy.com/listing/492536989/painted-pet-party-travel-kit

Custom Ornaments
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:
https://www.etsy.com/listing/493214113/custom-metal-holiday-ornaments

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My Next Big Give-Back Project…

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”…

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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! 🙂

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Tha’s A Wrap!

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.

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We Have a Winner!

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 🙂
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Big News… Happy Dance!

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.

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