Friday, July 29, 2011

Pugs pet portrait by Terry Albert

I've been doing some experimenting with my art. This portrait is 10" x 20" on canvas, painted in acrylics. To add a touch of bling, I added a little bit of glitter to their eyes, and the client loved it. The dogs, Oscar and Cilla, go to work every day with their owner, Lynn, at the Buried Bone here in Poway, California.

The canvas is 1 1/2" deep, so it doesn't need to be framed. Here is the photo I worked from:

As you see, I moved the two dogs closer together to enhance the composition. I usually work on illustration board or watercolor paper, then cut a mat to frame the finished piece, so this is a new way of working for me. I also usually add detail in pencil, and it is a big change for me to do the entire painting in just paint, no mixed media. Also, on canvas, I am stuck with the composition, I can't just cut off an edge if I want to crop the painting differently when it's done! I'm sure I will be switching back and forth between the techniques for awhile until I decide which method to pursue. 

If you are interested in a portrait of your pet, please contact me. Thank you!

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© 2011 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Animal Planet Dogs 101: Labrador Retrievers, by Terry Albert

I am thrilled to announce that my latest book has been released and is now available on Soon, it will also be in Petsmart stores. It is one of a new series of breed books. The first release includes 8 titles, including Chihuahuas, Cavaliers, Yorkies, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Shih Tzus and Beagles. More books in this series will come out at the end of 2011, including another one I wrote, about Boxers.

For those of you who know me, you know writing a book about Labs is my dream come true. I've known hundreds of Labs over the years. I have boarded them in my home, fostered many for rescue both in Seattle and San Diego, and of course owned my own beloved Lab, Tank, for over 13 years.

My initial thought was, oh I could practically write this in my sleep. Hah. Some sections were easier than others, but I still did mountains of research and interviewed many experts. Don Ironside helped me with the nutrition chapter. His many years as a sales rep in the pet food business gave me an insiders' look at ingredients, manufacturing and the differences between brands and formulas. He also taught me how to sort out marketing hype from facts, a sometimes murky subject. Don's wife Barbara and Nina Mann gave me lots of good information on how they help buyers pick a puppy, health issues, activities, and showing. Edith Bryan, my training buddy and rescue partner up in Seattle, has participated in every activity ever invented for dogs and their owners. She talked me through therapy work, search and rescue, agility, tracking and other dog sports.

Edith also has fed her Labs a raw diet for over ten years, so I valued her input on that subject. Down here in San Diego, my friend Angie Meeks feeds her dogs a raw diet and has done extensive research on the subject. My friend of 20 years, Julie Cantrell, has been making home-cooked food for dogs for as long as I've known her, which was years before raw and home-cooked foods became popular. She and I were trainers at the Academy of Canine Behavior where we began our dog careers.

For health issues, my own vet, Sarbit Singh, DVM, patiently walked me through the minutiae of basic health care, from worming routines to vaccine protocol. It may seem pretty straightforward, but I found that when I was assigned to write about a subject, I wanted to understand it thoroughly and be absolutely accurate in my explanations. Once this information is in print, people take your word for it. I wanted to answer important questions correctly.

For inherited health issues in Labradors, Frances Smith, DVM, president of the Orthopedic Foundation For Animals and chair of the Labrador Retriever Club Health Committee, generously shared her time and knowledge with me.

These people all kindly gave me their time and attention, answering even my dumbest questions. I couldn't have done it without their help. Thank you!

Next time, I'll write about some of the dogs whose stories are featured in the book.

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© 2011 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.