Tag Archives: art

Pet Portraits

I am hesitant to share this, and also quite excited! I was recently commissioned (I don’t usually take commissions, more on this later) to do a series of paintings depicting dogs! Not just any dogs, but much loved family pets. So here I am, in April, writing a contract to create: Pet Portraits! PS the client approached me for a year before I finally acquiesced! A year, umm maybe longer… anyway…

Painting pet portraits was something I never thought I’d find myself doing, ever.

Then I did. The series of pet portraits is finished and I love how they turned out! I love how the idea of creating “colorful art” (the clients wishes for the work) with black and white dogs as the subject pushed my imagination! Below are two images from this new series of work.

Silly Girl Factory, Suzanne Gibbs, Artist ©2018. Puppy Play, 10 x 10 inches, Flashe, gouache, watercolor, ink, paper, PVA adhesive on wood cradled panel. One in a series of dog portraits in everyday activities.

Silly Girl Factory, Suzanne Gibbs, Artist ©2018. Dog with Ball, 14 x 11 inches, Flashe, gouache, watercolor, ink, paper, PVA adhesive on wood cradled panel. One in a series of dog portraits in everyday activities.

I am happy that I was able to hold onto my more recent style of working in ink and watercolor, see the Reassemble Series for more of this type of work, but that I was also able to move myself into a new-ish direction—using my many years of abstract painting (see my blog from 2012) combined with drawing,  painting, and collage elements to create super fun and expressive pet portraits.

I am hoping you want to see more of this series!

Silly Girl Factory, Suzanne Gibbs, Artist ©2018. Dog on Red Chair, 14 x 11 inches, Flashe, gouache, watercolor, ink, paper, PVA adhesive on wood cradled panel. One in a series of dog portraits in everyday activities.

More Pet Portraits?! Sure, why not? Here you are:

Silly Girl Factory, Suzanne Gibbs, Artist ©2018. Cone of Shame, 10 x 10 inches, Flashe, gouache, watercolor, ink, paper, PVA adhesive on wood cradled panel.One in a series of dog portraits in everyday activities.

He really wants that ball… and the cone of shame prevents access!

Then there is the “playground” or the dog park!

Silly Girl Factory, Suzanne Gibbs, Artist ©2018. Three Dogs One Ball, 16 x 16 inches, Flashe, gouache, watercolor, ink, paper, PVA adhesive on wood cradled panel. One in a series of dog portraits in everyday activities.

You know that feeling when you are the new kid on the playground? Oh, it is so so hard! So much work goes into being accepted into the play!

I often feel like the little dog in the corner.

Sob sob, sniff… Why? Because I make art and write books, but I have yet to figure out my “niche market” or my “one best style.”

Will I be making more pet portraits? I am not sure! The process of working with a client was and is wonderful for me, I love the collaboration that goes into a project such as this one! It reminds me a lot of my days, many moons ago, as a graphic designer. I was good at that work, and I actually loved it… not sure how I veered off path, but I did!

I have since taken many art classes, taught art, made more art than I ever imagined I’d have time or ideas for, and I even finished my MFA! Getting a master of fine art was, at the time, the coup d’état of my career! My final thesis show was 5 years ago last week! Five years and still searching…

Searching for an elusive audience that wishes to purchase my work and live with it in their homes and offices. If you’re reading this, you are already likely one of my “tribe” that has purchased either my art or my books. I hope you know how grateful I am to every customer and client.

Do you have a pet?

I do pet portraits! Ha ha, only kidding! I do work. Work that calls to me, work that others request, and most of all I work on being the best artist that I know how to be. I am not too proud to take on pet portraits or any kind of work that makes my heart sing along with the people I serve.

I continue to search in order to make this life of creating sustainable. Whether my work is self-directed or in collaboration such as these pet portraits, I will continue. I will make work.

Can I interest you in some Art?

My Etsy store is having a Free Shipping promotion that ends on Friday the 13th!

Why? What? The Vision…

Recently, I was with my son in Montana and he and I were talking about our future plans. He has a grand and very well defined vision for himself in the future—when he finishes college. He is currently only 18 and a freshman.

I was astonished and proud to hear his plans! I quickly began to wonder, how can I better define my plans as an artist.

As I was musing, he asked me what my vision is for my art and my art business—I was instantly stuck! I did not know how to answer his question! Embarrassingly, this has been a constant struggle for me!

Dorky Doodle Zen Master. Paper, Ink. 7 x 5 inches.

Here is where I plan to write and chat about this important topic. Why do we do the things we do? More importantly, since I am writing this blog: Why do I do the things that I do? What stimulates action, what creates change and success, what is my vision and motivation for continually being a creator and making art year after year?

To answer the questions I create a container.

First, I needed to give parameters to this dilemma of how to define: vision. Here is an idea that I learned from Alyson Stanfield, according to her, all art is make for four reasons, these are: to document, delight, confound, and question.

For example, Austin Kleon is primarily an artist/writer that documents as a means to communicate through his art and writing. He has a journal for each of 10 years worth of writing down the details of what he did the day before. Ten years! Imagine knowing if you went to the dentist, caught a cold, celebrated a friends birthday, or moved into a new house and you could go back and look at every single day of the past 10 years.

Dominique Kongsli… makes work that delights her viewers. Here is her website. Be sure to check out her Instagram feed as well, she has some very funny moments that include her wearing a wig and talking about art!

Angela, my boss at Washed Ashore makes art that has the viewer questioning human behavior and consumption. She creates art with marine debris. Actually, I make many of the sculptures, she directs the work!

Leslie Love Stone is an artist that makes art that confounds the viewer. Leslie takes three disparate ideas, combines them together, adds color in a geometric container and viola! Beautiful paintings.

Why do I make art? What is my art for? What is my vision?

I have been pondering the subject of defining a VISION for my art and writing nearly non-stop for over week now. You’re lucky enough to read about why I make art and write books…

Silly Girl factory is the real ME. She runs out to play, she is silly and goofy with a childlike sense of curiosity and wonder. Drawing, painting, writing, and having fun, creating joy, and making silly stuff is what Silly Girl is all about.

Dorky Doodle Wind-Me-Up. Paper, Ink. 14 x 11 inches.

Silly Girl Factory does not stop at silly, the second part of the equation is to question on going beliefs and deep rooted behaviors.

Terribly Wrong Thought, paper, pen, watercolor, 4.75” x 4.75”

One of the projects I created is the book Conscious Curiosity. This book has the intention of helping couples to find room in their relationships for being silly and also curious enough to keep getting to know one another on a more serious level. Conscious Curiosity is but one example of the work that Silly Girl Factory has created.

Packaging my VISION in a formula.

The magic formula for Silly Girl Factory is:

silly + curiosity = delight

Simple right? Silly plus curiosity equals creating room for Delight—aka. people being kind and loving and inquisitive—resulting in a more peaceful world full of happy folks! Yea! There you have it! The vision for Silly Girl Factory!

Picture of Conscious Curiosity open on a table.


You know what? Thanks for reading my blog! If you have continued to enjoy the information I present, feel free to forward this post or any of my ideas to a friend! To support the work I do, buy a book or my art! I’d love more followers on Instagram, tee hee… I might start monthly giveaways in January 2018—but you’d only know about it if you follow me on Instagram!