B ' Twee You & Me - Blog
Susie E Caron
Acrylic Pet Portrait Artist
Twee' Art LLC, Vermont
Susie E Caron
Acrylic Pet Portrait Artist
Twee' Art LLC, Vermont
Exercise and Business Productivity
Susie E Caron © 1/21/2020
My Dad used to say, “You can’t take it with you,” and after a pause, he’d add, “ but it’s nice to have enough to get you there.” He was referring, of course at the time, to money. Today, I equate it with physical exercise and how adding a little affected my business productivity.
Due to my cranky shoulder, and some limiting effects of Rheumatoid Arthritis, I sit for hours painting pet and animal portraits and scenes. Capturing details especially requires hours of stillness and concentration. (Sometimes I even hold my breath.) I know this isn’t healthy. However, exercise isn’t something I enjoy, readily think about or plan for.
Everyone knows exercise is important and statistically equated with longer life and good health. I know I can’t live forever, but I certainly want good enough health to get me there. I realized if I wanted to continue creating quality art for a long time, I needed to make some changes.
After retirement in 2015, I bought an exercise bike and a rowing machine and used them most mornings each week. I added a timer to remind me to get up from my desk once every hour and engage in something that required me to move. These additions were not easily added to my busy days and my exercise progress was very slow. However, even this minimal addition of exercise and movement yielded some improvements.
Over the years my circulation, physical well-being, and ease of movement improved. What surprised me most? The number and quality of my paintings all improved. By adding exercise to my busy schedule for health reasons, also increased my business productivity.
My Dad would be pleased to know I remembered his words. I know I won’t be able to take health or art ‘with me’ but perhaps with attention I will have enough of both to ‘get me there.’
We take lots of photos of our children and our pets from our own eye level. Seated or standing, we take photos from above them. These photos keep our memories safe, but they usually make less than perfect pictures for display or for creating artistic pet portraits.
How to Take Better Pet Photos
For pet photos a few tips can make a difference. Attention to lighting, details, expressions and color, and when and where our photos are taken, all contribute to photo composition and appeal. However, these may be difficult to control. The good news is we can get the better photos by adjusting the perspective from which we take them.
Most pet photographs look best when taken at or near the animal’s eye level and at a ¾ degree angle and with the animal looking slightly up. (Like the photo of Josie above.) This includes pets ranging in size from Great Danes to baby rabbits. (This is not true of cows, horses and other large animals, I’ll talk about that below.)
Here are a few examples.
A single photo may be all you need if the first turns out great. However, if you want to provide reference photos to your pet portrait artist, then adding a few more photos will be appreciated and helpful.
Here are some tips that can help.
1.Take some close up photographs of your pet - near pet's eye level, at a ¾ angel from both sides and try to get your pet looking up slightly. That way you will see one eye clearly and the far eye somewhat.
2. Next take a photo from the front. Here you want to be only at or slightly above eye level with the animal looking up.
3. Finally take full body photos from both sides and front to reveal color, texture and patterns in the coat.
4. Try to take a few indoors in your favorite room and also some outdoors in different conditions – sunlit, overcast, on green grass, in flower beds, or in snow.
Tips to help your pet cooperate.
Before you bring out your camera, play with your pets to get them relaxed and happy. You may need a helper with treats or squeaky toys to get your pup or kitty to pose for you, but you can do it alone with the same enticements. If you are alone, use treats, toys, and decks, porches, stairs, or anything to get your pet up for eye level shots.
Those tips for photographing large animals.
Horses and other large animals look best when you take photos aimed at their shoulder, mid section or hip. In other words, below their eye level and yours. Aim the camera at their largest mass, at ¾ angle to the front shoulder, or midsection, or even from behind. To do this lower the camera so the camera a little so it aims mostly at the horses mass. Take lot of angles to get everything.
With these tips and some agreeable animals, you will get better photos for enlarging to display. You will also be armed and ready to send some to a pet portrait artist (like me) to create a beautiful portrait of your beloved pet to keep forever.
Do these tips help clarify how to take better photos of your pets and larger animals? Do you have more tips for all of us. If so, please share your comments and suggestions below.
Choosing Titles Like Twee'
Susie E Caron (c) 1-7-2020
I like Titles and I generate them for various things: books I want to write, movies I wish I could make, my various business names, web site names and pet names. Perhaps, ‘free associating’ from my psychology graduate school training enhances this ability. I don’t know, but sometimes a title just ‘shows up’ without notice.
In 2010, I struggled to choose from my list of story ideas to write my first of 3 children’s books. I didn’t have a title and couldn’t settle on a character or on a story. After a bit of giving up and prayer, quite unexpectedly the word Twee’ (complete with the apostrophe) came to my mind. It was so uncommon a word that it actually startled me, and I laughed.
The stories flowed from there, so I ‘went with it’ and in a short time I wrote 3 children’s books: Twee’, I Am Twee’ and Twee’ for Two. Allegorical stories, they reveal a little pine tree, from sapling to ‘tree-childhood’, whose emotional/social/relationship awareness develops much like most human children. I wanted to encourage reading by adults to children, so I used “Twee’ Means You and Me” at the end of book one- a play on the word “between.”
During story construction, the source of the name remained a mystery to me. I recognized that Twee’ sounded a lot like when our toddler daughter said the word “tree”. As a preschool child, she seemed to be missing ‘r’s’ in her speech. A few months of speech therapy remedied it, but I have to say I missed her cute way of speaking. As I wrote, I began to wonder, did Twee actually have an established meaning? I decided it prudent to look in the dictionary.
Merriam-Webster defines it thus: “affectedly or excessively dainty, delicate, cute or quaint.” It is further described as originating in early British baby talk as an alteration of ‘’sweet.’ In the early 1900’s it was a term of affection. (In recent years it is more like ‘corny’, but I am old fashioned gal.)
This earlier definition suited me, my character, and titles just fine. I was delighted. Twee’ is cute, dainty, delicate if not also a bit quaint. All the things I’d unconsciously wanted.
Feeling validated by this discovery I began to ponder the apostrophe and the tendril. Early in the process, I’d argued strongly for the necessity of the apostrophe with my editor, without knowing why. I’d also insisted my illustrator put the tendril on top of Twee’s head. What was that all about? What could the tendril, with it’s dangling pine cone, and the apostrophe at the end of a name possibly mean? Maybe it was a promise of things to come? After all, pine cones carry seeds and seeds sprout new “Twee’s”. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
I think it is a question. Maybe it is for each of us to answer. Or, perhaps, as I suspected at the beginning of this journey, it is about growing through relationship with others.
Twee’ Means You And Me.
Thank you. Please comment. I'd love to hear from you.
(New Pet/Animal Art Sizes
Susie E Caron (c) 1/4/2020
Come find out about my new line of pet and animal art sizes on my social sites under #TweeArtFun and especially on my Facebook artist’s page SusieECaron.Twee .
For this year’s theme, #SomethingOld #SomethingNew, (1-1-2020 to 2-14-2020) fans can share photos of their pets and beloved animals of all kinds: furry, finned, scaled, creeping, running, flying, swimming – domestic or wild. Of course besides presenting my new art portrait sizes for sale and custom orders, I am giving out free gifts in random drawings, for those who participate by commenting and sharing photos. In Addition – from those who share their pet and animal photos one person will win the grand prize of a free 8x10 pet portrait. (winner announced Feb 14, 2020.)
For many years now, I’ve had the honor of painting pet portraits 8x10 and larger. Everyone for whom I’ve painted a pet portrait has told me how much the portraits means to them, bringing a smile, recalling happy memories and keeping the pets presence alive in their home.
So, if I am busy painting pet portraits already why would I want to provide smaller, more affordable art sizes?
My heart is moved by pet people who love their pets and I want to make pet art available to more people. That’s the reason that this year I began working on a variety of smaller sizes on canvas.
Currently small paintings on canvas come in these sizes and prices:
4x4 (with a small easel for $25.)
4x6 (with a small easel for $35.) ($45 with frame)
5x7 (with frame $55.)
(NOTE: sizes may or may not continue to be available at later date. Prices may change without notice.)
There may be more sizes, priced under 100 coming and I am working on some beautiful paintings on wood.
What are your thoughts about this? Any suggestions?
I'd love to hear from you in comments or on my Facebook page.
You can contact me on email too: email@example.com
Me and Blacky,
Susie E Caron (c) 1-1-20
My love for animals began very early. This is a photo of me with my first puppy. I named him Blacky. I loved him dearly, as you can see. It was hard for me at 4 years old, when Blacky was hit by a car and killed while I had been away visiting my Grandparents. I learned of his death when I returned home and I never got to say 'Goodbye'. This photo is all I have of him.
While I couldn't replace Blacky, I have enjoyed many pets, horses and farm animals, throughout my life and loved every one deeply. When we retired, we rode our horses for a few more years. However, we realized we needed to find them good homes, before we struggled to care for them. We also realized that we needed to become a one pet family and are blessed by Josie, our now 3 year old bouncing Boxer.
Maybe that's why I love to paint pet and animal portraits and scenes with animals in them.
My love for animals never waned. I wanted to surround myself with them and I discovered more & more people wanted portraits of their beloved pets, horses and other animals.
I feel blessed every day to paint pets and animals for myself & for everyone who loves their pets.
How do you feel about pet and animal art in your home?
I'd love to hear from you.
Comment below or contact me: email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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In This You'll Discover
1. The 'tall' reason pet photos can look a bit 'Off'.
2. Secrets to help your pet cooperate for photos.
3. Five easy illustrated tips to capture the photos you'll love.
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Susie Caron, acrylic artist, creates realistic paintings of pets, animals, and selected scenes. Her love of and experience with many pets and farm animals throughout her life, enables her to capture the unique feeling and expression of each subject. In her commission pet and livestock portraits, Susie also works with each customer to discover and then reveal the personality and special bond between pet and human.