Fall Pet Parade!

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Hello everyone! I hope you all had a great summer and are now looking forward to all the fun Fall activities ahead.

Over the summer, I had a chance to “hang out” with some wonderful Pets as I painted their portraits and I can’t wait to share them with you. This month features several different fun breeds of pups, one of which is a special elderly rescue who passed away soon after her portrait was completed. It’s a poingnant reminder that life is so short. Our furbabies are so dear to us! Your original pet portrait, painted with love, is a wonderful keepsake that will bring a smile to your face and a hug to your heart every day.

This month, say hello to George, Coco, Tanner, Caymus and Mikey!

George

 “Portrait of George”, acrylic on canvas, 18” x 24”, 2018

“Portrait of George”, acrylic on canvas, 18” x 24”, 2018

Handsome George is an 11 year old Cockapoo who is super cuddly and sweet! George travels with his family, spending his time in the summers on the Eastend of Long Island and his winters in Jupiter, Florida. His favorite activities are boating and beach walking. When I paint these portraits, I usually I work from photos that the owners send me. With George, I actually got to meet him personally and take some photos during my visit. Working with George’s mom, I created the lovely background color to match her interior decor. I love mixing colors! And doing a painting in a larger size is always fun, too. A big thank-you to his mom who said I did “an amazing job” capturing George’s likeness and inner spirit! Love you, George!

 

Coco

 “Portrait of Coco”, acrylic on canvas, 11” x 14”, 2018

“Portrait of Coco”, acrylic on canvas, 11” x 14”, 2018

Beloved Coco recently passed over the rainbow bridge, only a short time after her portrait was painted. I had a chance to visit Coco and get to know her over the summer...what a sweetheart! She was a rescue dog. As a senior, it is often hard to get adopted. Here is the story of how she came to be with her new family in Maryland:  

"Coco and her rescue brother, Roscoe, belonged to a gentleman in North Carolina who passed away. The dogs meant so much to him that they were mentioned in his obituary! But alas, they were dumped at a local shelter.

Roscoe was pulled by another rescue group fairly quickly and broken hearted Coco was left alone. Imagine losing your human owner and your best doggie friend in less than a week!

She came to my (i.e., her rescue angel) attention through a volunteer at the shelter. Wonderful Kathleen said she would love to adopt Coco and a match made in heaven began. The volunteer drove Coco halfway to the eastern shore where we met her and her husband and Coco. Needless to say, no dry eyes were there as we drove away. Coco and Kathleen immediately fell in love and Coco was able to spend the last 2 years of her life bringing joy to everyone who met her!

The effort put into saving each dog by strangers never ceases to amaze me. And this story illustrates how wonderful beloved animals end up in shelters through no fault of their own.”

 

Tanner

 “Portrait of Tanner”, acrylic on canvas, 11” x 14”, 2018

“Portrait of Tanner”, acrylic on canvas, 11” x 14”, 2018

Cutie Tanner is such a good boy! I love this pose, which shows how alert he is, with his head cocked to one side and a hint of a little smile on his face. I have not had the pleasure of meeting him but I know that he is loved very much by his family. I was commissioned to do this painting as a gift for a friend of a friend. Originally, I had painted an orangey-red background which I thought would go well with his coloring. Luckily before shipping it, I re-read my notes only to discover that Tanner’s mom’s favorite color was purple! So, Tanner went back to the easel and now is surrounded by this happy hue. I love getting suggestions from my clients as to the colors in their paintings. And this was a good reminder for me to always read my notes carefully before jumping in! Sending love and hugs to Tanner and his family.

Caymus

 “Portrait of Caymus”, acrylic on canvas, 14” x 11”, 2018

“Portrait of Caymus”, acrylic on canvas, 14” x 11”, 2018

Caymus was a beautiful Golden retriever who was with us for many years but is now living over the Rainbow Bridge. I had fun sorting through the owners’ numerous photos of him, seeing him change from a younger pup to a very regal and handsome older dog with golden mane. Unfortunately some of the photos of him as an older pup were great but hard to see the details. So, I chose to portray him as a youngster…full of energy and ready for fun. He loved to play with tennis balls!

I could tell that it was difficult for his mom and dad to deal with the loss of Caymus, so I took extra care to put lots of love into this one. I was so touched to hear their reaction when they recieved their painting… “OMG - your beautiful portrait of our Caymus arrived last night & we absolutely love it!  It brought tears to our eyes - you captured him beautifully.  I can’t wait to find the perfect spot in our new home for him!” Thank you for the oppotunity and the honor to paint Caymus!

 

Mikey

 “Portrait of Mikey”, acrylic on canvas, 11” x 14”, 2018

“Portrait of Mikey”, acrylic on canvas, 11” x 14”, 2018

Mikey was a Newfoundland who lived to the amazing old age of 15 1/2 years. He was the family pet of my sister and brother-in-law, and my niece commissioned me to do this portrait as a thank-you gift. I remember when we would visit with Mikey long ago, my kids (who were little) thought he was a pony! He was so fluffy and sweet. Here’s what Mikey’s family remembers about him: 

“Mikey was the most gentile giant. While small for a Newfoundland, he was sure big enough while the children were growing up. He always thought he was a big lap dog and was extremely protective of our family. The kids could do anything to him and he would just smile. He was very protective with a kind-hearted manor.

Mikey loved running around the back yard and hanging out with the family. He loved to lay outside. In the winter he would end up being covered in snow – then just come in a shake it off!

His eyes were soulful – a character that you were able to capture in the painting beautifully.”

Mikey, you are missed and we all send our love to you over the Rainbow Bridge…where I am sure you are having fun…frolicking and laying in the cool, crisp snow!

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Thank you for taking the time to read this season’s Pet Parade! If you know of anyone who would enjoy having a unique rememberance of their pet…be it a dog, cat, bird or bunny…please share this with them! I love bringing happines to people’s hearts and homes.

 
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April Pet Parade!

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Here it is...April's Pet Parade!...a celebration of some of the many pets I have come to know and love from working on their pet portraits. This month's selection of paintings includes the fur babies of some of my Pennsylvania friends. I am glad to know that most of these sweeties are still with us, but a few have passed over the Rainbow Bridge. This is why these portraits are so special...they remind us of the love we shared with our loyal and loving animal friends. On a lighter note, we have four fun doggies and one beautiful cat to celebrate today! Join me in saying hello to Fritz, Arbor, Molly, Scarlet and Tovah!  :)Nina

 

Fritz

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Doesn't Fritz look handsome in this portrait? The little blurb below was written by Fritz himself. He is such a character!

"Hi! I'm Fritz! I am a miniature Schnauzer. Some say I am pretty rare since I have a white coat. I think I look pretty dapper!

What I love the most is being with my people and my two fur brothers. All you need to do is look into my eyes to see the joy I feel with my family!

Two of my favorite things to do are : play with a squeaky toy like it is an instrument. I am really good at keeping time. And I love to sing and howl. When I'm encouraged to do it , I am very happy and willing. 

My nick name is " Little Me Too " because no matter what my brothers are doing I always want to be doing that too along with being the center of attention. I know that gets annoying, but I can't help it, I am a Schnauzer!!!

Life is Good!!"

 

Scarlet

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I remember doing this portrait of Scarlet, and thinking: what beautiful colors she has! Here are some words from her mom: "Scarlet was a Brittany. Brittanies are a very calm breed most of the time. Scarlet never barked; she communicated in other ways as if barking were too vulgar for her. Scarlet was a slow learner, almost as if she knew she was going to have 13 years on this earth and didn’t need to rush. Come! If I feel like it. Stay! If I feel like it. Sit! If I feel like it. Scarlet’s size and long legs allowed her to reach things on the kitchen counter including a full pan of brownies, an entire stick of butter, a platter of meat and cheese and a pair of prescription sunglasses! She loved to swim, first in our pool then later in our lake. She always tried to make friends with people and other animals which usually worked out ..... except for the beaver in the lake! Scarlet went to doggie heaven a few years ago and we miss her a lot."

 

Molly

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The photo I used for this portrait of Molly was so pretty, with the light from a setting sun creating pale blue shadows on her fur. I am glad to hear that Molly is still going strong!

"Molly is a rescue dog, a mix of Border Collie, and Argentine Dogo and who knows what else. She’s the nicest dog we’ve ever had. A little bit nervous with a deep bark much bigger than her size. She loves to rip the stuffing out of plush toys and has a basket full of carcasses to prove it! She loves to kiss her daddy’s head and snuggle up to her mom for a back rub. She enjoys running in our yard, chasing away the deer. We call her Molly Wally Border Collie and sing to her the Hamilton theme substituting Molly Wally Millington for Alexander Hamilton. Her favorite time is Family Time where the three of us get close on the couch and kiss each other. Molly is our child, our joy." 

 

Arbor

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I have only done a few portraits of cats, and Arbor was a challenge, with all of her stripes! Her green eyes are mesmerizing. Here's what her dad has to say about her: "On a morning walk, Michele heard a cry in the woods. Upon investigating she found a kitten in a tree, probably one week old. We named her Arbor and she was with us for 14 wonderful years. She was an outdoor cat in her early years with her own cat door. She would often leave on Friday and return on Sunday. We said she went to the “Cat Dance” to see he sisters. When we moved, Arbor disappeared one day.  She found her way back to the old house and went in the cat door! After that she became an indoor cat with a litter box, sleeping in our bed every night. She was always nervous and hid when people came over. Very few people knew we had a cat because Arbor hid from all but a few friends and family. Since Arbor passed and went to the “great cat dance in the sky” we sometimes think we see her in the shadows of our bedroom where she spent so much time .... relaxing and looking out the window." 

 

Tovah

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This portrait of Tovah is so sweet! Just look at her warm and loving eyes and her velvety ears. Tovah's moms miss her very much: "We chose Tovah out of a litter of 11 puppies, and loved the way she toddled over to us, wagging her tail and bobbing her head. She was all personality, with a special swinging stride and eyes that could melt an iceberg. As her wonderful sitter, Bill Brown, said in his elequent essay about Tovah, “How to Train Your Human,” “she made a low gutteral moan, not loud enough to cause concern, but audible throughout the house,” that brought attention to her needs. She had a musical voice that was used artfully to help us understand just what we should be doing at any time. Nina has captured Tovah’s spirit beautifully in this portrait, and we cherish it and our fond memories of Tovah, the expert human trainer."

 
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Thank you for reading our April Pet Parade! If Nina has done a portrait for you in the past and you would like to be included in an upcoming Parade, contact her by clicking here.

All of Nina's new pet portraits are included in upcoming Parades. Maybe it is time for your furbaby's portrait to be painted! Time is short...don't delay it for too long. We know it will be a painting that you will cherish forever.

To learn more about the portrait process and to see more examples of Nina's work, click below:

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March Pet Parade!

Hello and Happy Spring! This month I'm introducing you to some new pet portraits as well as revisiting some "oldies but goodies". It's fun to look back at all the wonderful animals I've come to know over the years, as well as to touch base with the owners and hear new stories about their beloved fur babies. There's a horse in our parade this month, and I can't wait for you to hear his special story. Enjoy! 

Zoë

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A few words about Zoë from her mom: "It was love at first sight with our precious Shih Tzu Zoë who lived a beautiful life until the age of Sweet 16. We cherished everything about her; how she could make her puppy dog eyes become glassy on command when she wanted something, the “snarfy” noises she would make when she was sleeping or the way her cute little paws sometimes smelled like Fritos. We affectionately called her by dozens of made-up monikers with “The Loosh” being the most common amongst friends & family. Zoë adored snuggling on the couch, playing with furry squeak toys, special treats like popcorn & ice cream, playing hide & seek, getting her hair brushed & belly rubs to name just a few. She was loving, smart & kind to all. She also had her “Diva” moments & we’re quite confident she felt as though she was The Queen of the household. There’s no denying she was our little Princess & we were blessed beyond words to have her in our life to know & Love. Nina’s beautiful portrait brings us comfort & joy as we celebrate our beloved Zoë, forever in our hearts & in the hearts of all who knew & loved her!"

 

Bella

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Sweet Bella is another cutie whose spirit lives over the rainbow bridge. This is one of the first portraits I did with patterns in the background. She looks as though she is on a picnic in the backyard! Bella's Mum-mum has this to share with us:  "Bella was the traveling dog, a Jack Russell with lots of energy and so smart! She was my daughter's dog that loved staying with us. When it was time to leave she would go out to the car as if to say "it was nice seeing you all"... and then turn around and head up the steps to go back into our house! She loved her Pop-pop so much she would squeeze into the tiniest spot by him, usually under his computer. We miss her so much!"  Sending hugs to pretty Bella!

 

Annabelle, in Orange and Blue

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A few years ago, dear friends asked me to paint some pet portraits for Christmas presents. I ended up doing two different portraits of Anabelle, who was a puppy at the time. It was fun picking out her poses and choosing the bright colors for the backgrounds.  Adorable four-year old Annabelle is an Old English sheepdog. Her owners say: "Annabelle is very playful and doesn't realize her size! She always walks around the house with a toy in her mouth."  We're glad you are having fun, Anabelle! Thanks for being in our Parade!  

 

Buddy

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I painted this portrait of Buddy a few years ago. I just love his smile! Here's what Buddy's mom shares with us about him:  "Buddy was the greatest dog - a true friend to any and all. We decided to get a Bernese mountain dog because our oldest son was very afraid of dogs. We decided the only way to combat this fear is to get the biggest friendliest dog of all. In came “Mr. Buddles", as he affectionately came to be known. Buddy was sweet, warm, gentle, and known as a hugger - he’d hug you with his front leg, wrapping his paw around your calf if you came close. He’d lean in for the “buddle hug” and everyone who knew him was hooked on Buddy. Unfortunately Buddy left us too early at age five, but Nina’s beautiful painting of him reminds us of him and his love and hugs everyday. We are so grateful to have such a beautiful painting gracing our home of our dear furry friend."

 

Shooter

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I haven't done many portraits of horses, but I think they are beautiful animals and would love to do more! Shooter was so much fun to paint. It takes a loving family to adopt an older animal, especially a horse. Shooter's mom shared this story about him:  "Shooter is our "rescue" horse who we adopted in 2008 when he was 10 years old. He is now 18. Shooter is a beautiful, smart and reliable Quarter Horse who loves to spend his days eating grass and hanging out with his herd in Harding, PA, where he resides.  He is sorrel, or chestnut, in color and he can be described as lovable, calm, good-natured and trustworthy.  Shooter loves to eat apples and carrots as his treats usually after going on a nice, long trail ride when the weather permits.  As Herman Melville once said, "Honor lies in the mane of a horse".  Thank you for sharing this inspiring story with us!  

 

Jellybean

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Jellybean was one of my very first pet portraits. The bright red background goes well with her black-and-white coloring, and also reflects her shining personality! Jellybean's mom writes:  "Jellybean was adopted from a shelter in Bowling Green, Kentucky almost ten years ago. She arrived in our home quiet, shy and sad. It took a while, but once she realized she was in her forever home she started issuing orders and we haven't stopped minding her since. She is funny and sweet and we cannot imagine life without her. Please please... for the other Jellybeans out there... adopt -  don't shop!!!!"  We love you, Jellybean!

 

Thank you for reading about the special animals in this month's Parade. If you would like information about how to commission a Pet Portrait of your own, please click the "Learn More" button below. All portraits will be featured in upcoming Pet Parades.

Be sure to hug your pet today, and have a wonderful day!

Inspiration: Dream Bigger!

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The other day as I was driving around the city I was surprised by a mural that I had never noticed before. On the side of a tall building was a nifty illustration of an old typewriter and the words "Dream Bigger". How cool is that? It just so happens I was feeling like I needed a bit of encouragement, so the mural sighting was a delightful moment of synchronicity for me!

I am a big dreamer, and throughout my life I have often found the courage and determination to make my dreams a reality. But sometimes it's hard. I'm sure you know the feeling.

Sometimes life gets carried away with itself and we feel like we're on a rollercoaster, or running on an endless hamster wheel. We feel like life is controlling us, instead of the other way around. We're so busy, we forget what really matters to us.

We forget our dreams.

There are so many reasons why our dreams are important. They remind us of our true interests. They guide us in a forward direction. They suggest things that can make our souls truly happy. With Big Dreams, the sky's the limit!  

If you are lacking in the "dream department", think back to your youth and conjure up memories of what interested you way back when. Did you enjoy playing with Matchbox cars? Making clothes for your dolls? Did you want to be a fireman, a nurse, an astronaut, a jazz musician?

There are so many ways you can tap into those long ago dreams. Put your thinking cap on, and you'll be surprised at what your "inner child" will suggest to you! Perhaps you can attend an Indy 500 race; volunteer at a hospital; learn to sew; attend Space Camp; take music lessons or get tickets to a series of concerts. 

The important thing to remember about dreams is that they keep us looking forward, and give us something compelling to strive for. They can make the difference between a feeling of dread when getting out of bed in the morning, and jumping up with excitement to start your day.

Below you'll find a series of memes I created especially for you, to keep you inspired. Feel free to print them out and tape them up where you can see them daily. Or pass them along by posting them to friends that may need a little encouragement.

As Spring is finally on the horizon, I wish you abundance, energy, and good vibes in this season of new beginnings! 

 

Inspirations

 Keep youself open to new possibilities!

Keep youself open to new possibilities!

 
 Surround yourself with good people who will encourage you to grow.

Surround yourself with good people who will encourage you to grow.

 
 As Captain Kirk says, "Make it so!"

As Captain Kirk says, "Make it so!"

 
 Stay positive! Good things often take time.

Stay positive! Good things often take time.

 
 Success requires strength, determination and faith; and the ability to get back up if you have fallen.

Success requires strength, determination and faith; and the ability to get back up if you have fallen.

 
 One of my favorite quotes of all time.

One of my favorite quotes of all time.

 

Do you dream of being a collector of art? Click here to get started!

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February Pet Parade!

Once a month I'd like to share with you the Pet Portraits that I have recently completed. I call this showcase my "Pet Parade". Why a "parade"?, you may ask. Because our animal friends deserve special attention, of course! 

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Painting the pet portraits brings me such joy! I really fall in love with every animal. While I'm painting, I am sure to send each one some love and thanks for being such wonderful companions and loyal friends.

So now it is time to help me celebrate this roundup of the cute'n furry friends I've have painted recently...the February Pet Parade! Their human companions have sent me a few words about them. I hope you enjoy their stories! 

JACKSON

Jackson, a regal Golden Retriever, was a joy to paint. From his photos, I could tell he had a friendly yet commanding presence, and I chose this pose because I felt it best showed his "princely" manner. 

 "Jackson", 11" x 14", acrylic on canvas, copyright Nina Davidowitz 2018

"Jackson", 11" x 14", acrylic on canvas, copyright Nina Davidowitz 2018

Here's a word about Jackson: "Jackson was our sweet, beautiful, elegant boy, full of golden retriever love. As a puppy he found the biggest tree limbs possible to carry home and the juiciest puddles to walk through.  That high spirited puppy became a Gandhi-dog of peace and calm. That didn't stop him from finding tree limbs to carry and puddles to walk through. When he was seven years old we brought another puppy home. We weren't sure how Jackson would take to Maggie but with Gandhi-like patience he tolerated her puppy nips and nudges while giving her dog-tips for a good life. We were blessed to be with him for fourteen years." 

 

CHARLIE and BRO

I was excited to do this larger-sized painting of Charlie and Bro, as it gave me more room to experiment. The original photo showed Charlie and Bro on an Oriental rug. I used the colors from the rug and some of its design elements to create a fun, new look for the background. 

 "Charlie and Bro", 20" x 16", acrylic on canvas, copyright Nina Davidowitz 2018

"Charlie and Bro", 20" x 16", acrylic on canvas, copyright Nina Davidowitz 2018

About the pooches: "Bro is a six year old Rottweiler. Charlie is a 2 year old Cockaleer. They are otherwise known as the Paw Patrol...protecting the house and sounding the alarm when anyone arrives or deer are around! They are best friends! They love to play tug-of-war with toys, and Bro lets Charlie win."

 

TUCKER

Tucker is the "son" of friends that I've known for a long time. I loved this pose of him looking upwards, eager for a treat! 

 "Tucker", 11" x 14", acrylic on canvas, copyright Nina Davidowitz 2018

"Tucker", 11" x 14", acrylic on canvas, copyright Nina Davidowitz 2018

His Papa writes: "We have in our den photographs of all our children and grandchildren to which we just added a painting by Nina Davidowitz of our wonderful dog, Tucker, who was born  on May 24, 2014 and adopted by us on November 11, 2014. Tucker is a white male Golden (Celtic) Doodle and the most lovable and friendliest pet we’ve had the good fortune to have become part of our Family. Nina’s portrait is truly magnificent in that it not only accurately portrays Tucker but most importantly reflects his very essence." Thank you for your kind words, Connie and Gene, and for giving me the opportunity to paint your beloved Tucker!

 

TACO - Young and Older

A dear friend sent me some photos of her dog Taco, who passed over the Rainbow Bridge some time ago. The photos were old and blurry, showing Taco as both a young and older dog. Since she wanted two paintings, I did one of each. Because the photos were hard to see clearly, I did my best, using photos of other Chihuahuas as reference. The best photo of the younger Taco was back-lit by the sun, creating a golden outline around her form. I decided to go with it, and used warmer hues for her portrait (below). I really liked her upright ears, and the little smile on her face!

  "Portrait of Taco (younger)", 11" x 14", acrylic on canvas, Nina Davidowitz 2018 

 "Portrait of Taco (younger)", 11" x 14", acrylic on canvas, Nina Davidowitz 2018 

Here's a little bit about Taco:  "Taco came into our lives unexpectedly as a rescue and was a joy to us from 2001 - 2015.  Weighing only 5 lbs and pure Love, she was the perfect family member.  She loved being held, brought us joy just being her, comforted us in times of sadness with just her presence, never made a sound unless there was knock at the door at which time she became the family watchdog, traveled eagerly and easily by car or by plane, and was even a therapy dog when asked to comfort ailing strangers.  She is with us forever in our hearts."

 "Portrait of Taco (older)", 11" x 14", acrylic on canvas, Nina Davidowitz 2018

"Portrait of Taco (older)", 11" x 14", acrylic on canvas, Nina Davidowitz 2018

 

ELLA

It's always interesting to get a chance to paint different breeds of animals. I had never painting a Vizsla...Ella was my first! I love her graceful shape and beautiful copper-colored coat. The background is a little different... a pointilist version of green woods and blue sky that compliment her profile.

 "Portrait of Ella", 14" x 11", acrylic on canvas, Nina Davidowitz 2018

"Portrait of Ella", 14" x 11", acrylic on canvas, Nina Davidowitz 2018

Ella's grandmom had this to tell us about her: "Ella, my grandpup, came to Travis and Susan as a puppy all the way from Hungary and she quickly became the center of their lives, their BFF.  Now 4 yrs old, she has boundless energy and is always ready for a walk or run and will play any game you ask or sit by your side, waiting patiently for your attention.  She’s so smart and will entertain us doing doggie tricks but we know she does it because she knows we love her and she loves us right back."

 

Thank you to my most recent clients for sharing your stories with us! If you know of anyone who would enjoy this Pet Parade please feel free to share this post. 

Would you like to commission a pet portrait and become part of my next Pet Parade?  Simply contact me (click here) to get the process started.

 
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Celebrating the Now

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I have a favorite cartoon that came to me in the form of a birthday card. I keep it on my refirgerator because it sums up life's choices perfectly for me. In the cartoon, a waiter in a posh restaurant stands before a couple who are seated at his table. He says: We have two menu options today. Which would you prefer...the "My Body is a Temple" menu, or the "Life is Short, Whooppeee!" menu?"

I chuckle every time I see it, because even though my usual approach to upholding my diet (or my budget, or my work schedule...) is to follow a well-intentioned, regimented plan, I do occasionally give in to the urge to splurge. And I feel it is important, every now and then, to eat that piece of chocolate cake or buy that pair of fabulous shoes. This is what gives life balance. The silly cartoon reminds me that life is short, and special moments need to be acknowledged and celebrated.

Recent days have brought this truism to light for me. The tragic Florida school shootings; the death of a childhood friend's father; and the passing of two of my friends' beloved dog companions, remind me that time is fleeting. Every day, I remember to say a little prayer of gratitude for all of my blessings. I think about my role in life and ask what I can do to help others.

Luckily, artists have many ways to help enhance people's lives. Through our work, we can choose to inspire, to dazzle, to uplift and to educate. Artwork can create moods of tranquility, of energy, of compassion and of hope. 

One of my greatest joys as an artist is to help people celebrate their special moments by creating paingings that remind them, every day, of the people and places that have brought them joy. A painting of your home that you lived in for many years but are about to leave; a view of your garden in all its glory; a portrait of your beloved furbaby who lights up your life with unconditional love... these are creative opportunities for me to help people remember what is most dear to their hearts.

So today, I am putting myself out there to ask you...what brings you joy? What are the moments that are special to you that you would like to hang on to forever? Maybe now is the time to finally get that portrait you've been dreaming about. It would be my greatest pleasure to create something for you that is meaningful. Over the years, I have created artwork in many mediums and creative styles, and can work with you to create a special piece that fits your space and budget.

For inspiration, I thought I'd share with you some samples of commissioned artwork that you may not have seen. These special pieces are more than simple portraits...they are infused with my clients' unique dreams and wishes, created to preserve special moments that are personal to them.    

 This house portrait shows the client's home in the springtime, their favorite season. I worked with several reference photos to create a piece that resonated with them. This is a sample of my work using colored pencils, which have a softer feel than acrylic paints.   Colored pencil on paper, Nina Davidowitz copyright 2012.

This house portrait shows the client's home in the springtime, their favorite season. I worked with several reference photos to create a piece that resonated with them. This is a sample of my work using colored pencils, which have a softer feel than acrylic paints.

Colored pencil on paper, Nina Davidowitz copyright 2012.

 Friends who were moving out of their long-time residence commissioned this painting showing the lush gardens along the front of their house. They decided to name the painting "Summer Splendor". It reminds them of happy times with family and friends in a place very dear to them.   Acrylic on canvas, Nina Davidowitz copyright 2013

Friends who were moving out of their long-time residence commissioned this painting showing the lush gardens along the front of their house. They decided to name the painting "Summer Splendor". It reminds them of happy times with family and friends in a place very dear to them.

Acrylic on canvas, Nina Davidowitz copyright 2013

   

 This painting is fun because it is a house portrait, but I snuck in a beloved character in the front yard... the owner's Black Lab! This is a view of their home in the summertime.   Acrylic on canvas, Nina Davidowitz copyright 2010

This painting is fun because it is a house portrait, but I snuck in a beloved character in the front yard... the owner's Black Lab! This is a view of their home in the summertime.

Acrylic on canvas, Nina Davidowitz copyright 2010

 These two paintings were done in acrylic paints on canvas, but are based on old black & white photos. I love the look of doing the figures in monochrome but adding color and some fun designs in the background for a touch of whimsy!  

These two paintings were done in acrylic paints on canvas, but are based on old black & white photos. I love the look of doing the figures in monochrome but adding color and some fun designs in the background for a touch of whimsy!  

Is it time for you to "Celebrate the Now" with a commemorative piece of artwork? Consultations are always free. Let's create something to cherish forever!  

  

Famous Artists and their Pets

If you've been following my blog lately, you know that I love animals and enjoy painting portraits of pets. I am sad to say I am currently pet-less. While I'm enjoying a new-found sense of freedom, I have to say I often miss that furry companionship.

Over the years, I've had many cats (Aladdin, Jane Jetson, Moonbeam, Beatrice, Munchkin,  Midnight Sun, Echo and Wanda) and one dog named Banjai (Chinese for "half-price"), a black-and-white Pekingese who lived to be 14 years old.

Echo and Wanda were my most recent companions. They behaved like little dogs, greeting me at the door, following me around the house, and talking to me. They especially loved it when I spent time in my art studio, where they would roost either at my feet or on my painting table where they could watch the action. I think they sensed that I was both calm and energized by my creative activities and they liked sharing in those experiences with me. I often felt they were my best critics!

All these thoughts about my former pets and art studios got me thinking. I wondered how many other artists have their dogs or cats by their side when they are creating? I searched the internet to see if I could find a listing of famous artists and their pets. Turns out, there are a lot of sources on this theme.  I'd like to share a few of these wonderful photos, and will try to give credit to the photographers and resources as best I can.

 

GEORGIA O'KEEFFE

 Georgia O’Keeffe / Photograph by John Candelario / Courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives – from  thisiscolossal.com

Georgia O’Keeffe / Photograph by John Candelario / Courtesy Palace of the Governors Photo Archives – from thisiscolossal.com

Georgia O'Keeffe loved animals. Her first pet was a cat, followed by a black French poodle who lived to be only 2 years old. After moving to New Mexico, she fell in love with Chows, and owned six of them during her lifetime.

 Georgia O'Keeffe and her Chow. (Photographer John Leongard)

Georgia O'Keeffe and her Chow. (Photographer John Leongard)

               "O'Keeffe with Dogs", Todd Webb, Abiquiu House, 1962

              "O'Keeffe with Dogs", Todd Webb, Abiquiu House, 1962

Georgia loved the company her beautiful Chows provided, and even slept with them in her bedroom at night. A nice article about her life with her pets (with a bunch of additional photos) can be found here.

 

SALVADOR DALI

 Salvador Dali and his ocelot, Babou (photographer not credited)

Salvador Dali and his ocelot, Babou (photographer not credited)

Salvador Dali was such a crazy guy. His surrealist art was quite the sensation, and with his quirky and eccentric personality, his choice of pet...an ocelot named Babou...is not too surprising! Dali enjoyed shocking people with his strange behavior, and often took Babou out with him when attending events. "Dalí acquired his ocelot in the 1960s (allegedly from the Colombian Head of State), and for a time it was seen to accompany him, on a leash and stone studded collar, almost everywhere he went. One of the most popular accounts of Dalí and Babou is that of the painter bringing the wild cat into a Manhattan restaurant and tethering it to his table, causing great alarm to a fellow diner."  A great article about Dali and Babou can be found here.

(Quote from: http://www.anothermag.com/design-living/2472/salvador-dalis-ocelot).

 

ANDY WARHOL

 Warhol and his dog Archie (Photograph by Jack Mitchell, 1973)

Warhol and his dog Archie (Photograph by Jack Mitchell, 1973)

Andy Warhol had cats as pets until the 1970s , when his boyfriend suggested they get a Dachshund. They named the puppy Archie. "Warhol became so enthralled with Archie that he became his alter ego. As he held Archie during interviews, when Warhol did not want to answer a particular question, he would simply deflect the questions to Archie. Warhol took the dog everywhere – to his studio, to art openings, to dinner, to photo shoots, and to London when his work took him there." ( From Pop Art Pet Unleashed, http://popartpet.com/blog/2007/08/20/andy-warhols-pets/)

 

DAVID HOCKNEY

 Awww!! David Hockney, Self Portrait with his Dog Stanley (date not documented)

Awww!! David Hockney, Self Portrait with his Dog Stanley (date not documented)

 David Hockney and his dogs. Photograph by Richard Schmidt.

David Hockney and his dogs. Photograph by Richard Schmidt.

David Hockney is an amazing contemporary artist who has produced tons of artwork, from paintings, large-scale photo collages, and computer art to theater set designs and much more. Some of his most charmng sketches are those of his beloved Dachshunds, Stanley and Boodgie. The color photo above was taken in his LA studio in front of a wall of his doggie paintings. The black and white photo is a self portrait and is such a sweet testament to his love for his little pals. I love that both of these photos were taken in Hockney's art studio! There's a wonderful article from 1995 that talks about his Dachshund paintings when they first came out: click here.

 

PABLO PICASSO

 Picasso and Jacqueline (his second wife) sharing lunch with Lump. Photograph: David Douglas Duncan, 1957.  http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/06/02/t-magazine/02lookout-picasso.html

Picasso and Jacqueline (his second wife) sharing lunch with Lump. Photograph: David Douglas Duncan, 1957. http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/06/02/t-magazine/02lookout-picasso.html

Pablo Picasso was also a dog lover. His first dogs were Afghans, but his most famous pet was a Dachshund named Lump. There is even a book about Picasso and Lump written by David Douglas Duncan, Lump's original owner, and it is still available (try Amazon). Lump was very dear to Picasso, who took him on his daily rounds about town. Lump was the top dog in the Villa La Californie, Picasso’s hillside mansion in Cannes, and he is immortalized in many of Picasso's acclaimed works of art.

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 Picasso and his Afghan, Kabul. David Douglas Duncan, c. 1959.

Picasso and his Afghan, Kabul. David Douglas Duncan, c. 1959.

 

FRIDO KAHLO

 Frida Kahlo and Deer

Frida Kahlo and Deer

"The Mexican painter surrounded herself with animals: her household menagerie included macaws, monkeys, Mexican hairless dogs and an eagle called Gertrudis Caca Blanca. This photo – taken by Kahlo’s long-time lover Nickolas Muray in the 1930s, during their ten-year affair – shows the artist with her pet fawn Granizo. Many of Kahlo’s self-portraits feature animals, and they became surrogates for the children she was unable to have after a bus accident in Mexico City left her with serious injuries at the age of 18." (Nickolas Muray Photo Archives) Quote from: http://art-sheep.com/artists-and-their-pets-2/

 

GUSTAV KLIMT

 Moriz Naehr - Gustav Klimt and his Cat, Katze, at his Studio on Josefstaedter Strasse, Vienna, Austria. Circa 1912. | Gustav Klimt | Pinterest | Klimt

Moriz Naehr - Gustav Klimt and his Cat, Katze, at his Studio on Josefstaedter Strasse, Vienna, Austria. Circa 1912. | Gustav Klimt | Pinterest | Klimt

Though I love Klimt's work, I have to confess I don't know anything about his cat! But I've always loved this photo...it's just so sweet! While doing some research, I found out there's a children's book on this topic. Written by Bérénice Capatti and available on Amazon, the book is called Klimt and His Cat and tells a story about "Katze, the loyal cat of Gustav Klimt".

 

HENRI MATISSE

 Henri Matisse and his cat in Nice, France (photographer and date undocumented)

Henri Matisse and his cat in Nice, France (photographer and date undocumented)

Henri Matise is one of my all-time favorite painters. I never knew he had cats and was excited to find a website called The Great Cat (The Cat in History, Art and Literature) that features many photos of the artist with his pets. Here's a little blurb from that article: "Matisse was attached to his cats Minouche and Coussi, as well as his black cat la Puce (the Flea) whom he fed pieces of brioche in the mornings."

 Henri Matise in bed with his cats. Photograph © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography Magnum Photos

Henri Matise in bed with his cats. Photograph © Robert Capa © International Center of Photography Magnum Photos

As Matisse got older, he continued to create magnificent artwork, often working from his bed. This photo of him with two of his kitties really touches my heart! To read the article that I found about Matisse with lots of photos and his paintings that feature his feline friends, click here.

 

Do you have a pet at your feet while you are creating or working? Feel free to share below! 

Artwork Spotlight

"Crystal Morning"

For many years, finding inspiration for my artwork was as simple as taking daily walks through the streets of my hometown of Kingston, PA. I love to paint houses nestled in their suburban lots, and always felt lucky that our town featured homes built in a wide range of architectural styles. In Kingston, elegant Federal homes mix and mingle with Victorian gingerbread houses, Cape Cod saltboxes, mid-century modern ranches, and humble little 1930s cottages. This haphazard arrangement was like eye candy to me, and I usually ended up taking hundreds of reference photos on my walks each week. Only a few of the photos would end up being saved and put on my painting "to do" list. 

 "Crystal Morning", 30" x 24" x 1", acrylic on canvas, Nina Davidowitz 2013.

"Crystal Morning", 30" x 24" x 1", acrylic on canvas, Nina Davidowitz 2013.

The house in "Crystal Morning" was always one of my favorites in the neighborhood. With its smooth stucco exterior, interesting roof lines, and those two "porthole" windows near the front door, it satisfied and excited my interest in geometric shapes. The house sits snugly on a corner lot, surrounded by trees and one marvelously long sculpted hedge. I knew some day I'd paint it!

One day in February on a cold and crisp morning I spotted the house glowing in the early morning light. A dusting of snow covered the landscape, and the rays of the rising sun highlighted the house's rooftops and the sweep of trees behind it. No one was around. It was very, very quiet and deeply cold...I could practicly hear icicles forming and the crunch of snow under little birds' footsteps. I stopped and took some photos, thinking the composition and the color palette of this winter scene were pretty cool! Interestingly, the painting literally was done in a cool color palette, with lavenders and silvery baby-blues,  complimented with a soft rosy-orange for a little warmth and contrast.

 The trees on the left side of the painting glow in the early morning light.

The trees on the left side of the painting glow in the early morning light.

This is a painting that you can "take a walk in". As your eye travels along the horizontal line of the hedgerow, you come to a spot on the right where the sidewalk turns, extending into the background. As the viewer of this scene, you may decide to take a walk down that sidewalk, lined by a row of houses and trees fading into the sunlight.

 On the right side of the painting, a sidewalk lined by trees and houses calls to you.

On the right side of the painting, a sidewalk lined by trees and houses calls to you.

I was very honored that "Crystal Morning" won an award at the Salmagundi Club in New York City at the 60th Annual exhibit of the National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic. It now hangs in my living roomm where I enjoy its calming colors. The painting is awaiting a new home, and I know it will find one when the universe feels it's the right for it to be on its own. 

"Crystal Morning" is also February's featured Giclée print in our online website shop, and comes available in two sizes, printed on archival fine art paper. 

Crystal Morning Product Picture copy.jpg
 

It's a Beautiful World

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Do you have a favorite house in your neighborhood? I'd love to see it! Feel free to post a picture below. Perhaps it will go on my "paintings to do" list!

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For a look at available original paintings, including "Crystal Morning", click here.

If you'd like information on commissioning a portrait of your house, simpy contact me and I'll be happy to tell you about my process and answer any of your questions.

 

Wishing you a wonderful day!  

 

 

 

 

An Ode to Maple Trees

I really love maple trees. Pennsylvania has loads of them, and pretty much every place I've lived up north had nearby maples that I admired. In my parent's backyard there's a maple that we planted way back in 1967 when we moved in. I remember it in its youth, slender and lime-green with freshness, its trunk straight and smooth. It shocks me now when I return home to see how large and grand it has become! It is tall and majestic with a thick trunk lumpy with age, and sturdy branches...too many to count! Many of them hang low to the ground, making a natural ladder perfect for climbing. It towers over me, my 50-year friend.    

maple red.jpg

Maples have beautiful leaves, usually with an overall square shape, with swoops and dips in their contours making them look rather fancy. The leaves range in size from tiny to quite large (depending on the variety), and their colors in the fall season span the rainbow: from yellow, to yellow-green, to orange, to cherry red, and deep dark purplish-maroon. I remember many an autumn walk to school when I would collect the leaves along my way, trying to get the biggest range of colors. I would take them home and press them between the pages of the biggest book I could find (back then it was the family dictionary). As an adult I do the same thing, and often when browsing through my art books I'll come upon a pressed leaf, crumbly and sadly brown.    

Over the years, I have done many sketches and paintings of maple trees, especially in their fall finery. They seem to retain their leaves long enough to give us a final blast of color just before the whole landscape turns grey. What a treat!

 "Red Maple in WInter", acrylic on canvas, 14" x 14",  copyright 2013

"Red Maple in WInter", acrylic on canvas, 14" x 14",  copyright 2013

"Red Maple in Winter" is one of my favorites. It's based on a photo I took of the glorious maple in my neighbor's back yard in Kingston, PA. The tree's pop of red against the snowy ground and the pine trees looked like it would be such fun to paint. At the time the photo was taken it was late in the afternoon, with a milky sky that had taken on a slightly pinkish tone. This lighting created a fun and subtle shade that I could incorporate into the sky and the snow on the ground, making a soft and neutral backdrop to the maple. And my neighbors' house, a historic three-story Federal, takes a peek at us. Surrounded by the trees it looks protected and cozy. 

Just for fun I'll post some of my other maple tree paintings below. You can click to enlarge them. The first one (going left to right) represents a red maple in the summer; the next one features maples in various fall colors; the third painting features the same tree as pictured above in "Red Maple in Winter" but from a slightly different angle, sometime in the early autumn; and lastly is "New Day Dawning" which has maples in the background tinted by the sunrise.   

 

I am wondering: are you as crazy for maple trees as I am?

And is there a favorite tree that has inspired you?

Feel free to share below!

 

 

Nina Logo with Quote in gray.jpg

January's Pet Parade!

Once a month I'd like to share with you the Pet Portraits that I have recently completed. I call this showcase my "Pet Parade". Why a "parade"?, you may ask. Because our animal friends deserve special attention, of course! :)

 (Dog and cat graphics by  freepk.com)   

(Dog and cat graphics by freepk.com)  

Painting the pet portraits brings me such joy! I really fall in love with every animal. While I'm painting, I am sure to send each one some love and thanks for being such wonderful companions and loyal friends. This connects me with my subject, and I feel like we are communing and keeping each other company during the whole process.  It is very rewarding when clients tell me that I managed to capture the spirit as well as the likeness of their loved ones. I'm happy that these paintings, which will last a lifetime, ring true to heart. 

So now it is time to help me celebrate this roundup of the cute'n furry friends I've have painted recently...the January Pet Parade! Their human companions have sent me a few words about them. I hope you enjoy their stories! Please feel free to comment if you have a pet of a similar breed or personality, or any stories you have to share with us and our readers. 

GRACIE

  "Portrait of Gracie", acrylic on canvas, 11" x 14", 2017

"Portrait of Gracie", acrylic on canvas, 11" x 14", 2017

"Gracie was an Australian Shepherd. Her dad was the brown dog with the white fur collar at the beach in Marley and Me. We joked that she didn’t have the discipline to be an actress that got paid, so she just practiced all the time with us. She loved to watch tv…especially basketball. When hearing one musical note of a commercial with an animal in it, she ran to the tv to watch the commercial. She loved to swim and loved all people and all animals!" 

HAGGIS

  "Portrait of Haggis", acrylic on canvas, 14" x 11", 2017

"Portrait of Haggis", acrylic on canvas, 14" x 11", 2017

"Haggis is a 5 year old Gordon Setter. He has a very loving and docile personality, and can have boundless energy and enjoy huge naps. He joyfully greets most visitors by taking their whole hand or forearm in his mouth, his tail constantly wagging. Haggis also has quite a vocabulary, as most Gordon’s do, another expression of their wonderful personalities. He has hunted for game birds here in PA, and loves tearing about the woods or lawns wherever he is. He very much loves the ocean, and he just doesn’t understand why all those seagulls don’t fly right to him! He shares his world with his 3 sisters, Hudson and Gracie, (English springer spaniels) and Chelsea, also a Gordon." 

BULLET and HARPER

  "Portrait of Bullet", acrylic on canvas, 14" x 11", 2017

"Portrait of Bullet", acrylic on canvas, 14" x 11", 2017

  "Portrait of Harper", acrylic on canvas, 14" x 11", 2017

"Portrait of Harper", acrylic on canvas, 14" x 11", 2017

"Bullet is 7 and Harper is 2...they are both Springer Spaniels. They are such great buddies! They can usually be found laying together during the day, sharing a chair. Bullet was a rescue at 11 months and is best known for his eyebrows (!) and being a true "velcro" Springer…he loves spending time on his daddy's lap. Harper is "mommy's girl"...she is super smart and loves swimming. Her grandfather was the 2007 Westminster Dog Show CHAMPION - she's almost royalty (...at least SHE thinks she is)!" 

OLIVE and PETUNIA

  "Portrait of Olive", acrylic on canvas, 11" x 14", 2017

"Portrait of Olive", acrylic on canvas, 11" x 14", 2017

  "Portrait of Petunia", acrylic on canvas, 11" x 14", 2017

"Portrait of Petunia", acrylic on canvas, 11" x 14", 2017

"Olive, a Maltese, and Petunia, a Yorkshire terrier, come to work with us most days. Olive is a sweetheart and the greeter at the office. If you left her in a room and closed the door you wouldn’t find her until you went back into the room; she doesn’t know to bark! Good thing she is cute because she’s not too smart. She doesn’t know she is a dog. She is more like a parrot because she sits on my shoulder while I drive! Petunia is Olive's older sister. Some days she wants to go to work and some days she doesn’t. This little one knows what she wants and she will make it known. She’s a lover but she is high maintenance!"

INDY

  "Indy", acrylic on canvas, 11" x 14", 2017

"Indy", acrylic on canvas, 11" x 14", 2017

"Indy will be missed by his family and friends, as he has gone over the Rainbow 🌈 Bridge. A tiny, but feisty little guy, who was always ready to play and gave a ‘cocked head’ when spoken to! He enjoyed many rounds of tug-o-war with his cousin Oscar, they were evenly matched Yorkie-Poos!"

 

Thank you for joining in the fun of our January Pet Parade! If you know anyone who would enjoy this posting, please pass it along.

Would you like more information about ordering an original Pet Portrait? Click below!

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Winter Sunrise Extravaganza

 "Sunrise in the Treetops", acrylic on canvas, 24" x 30", copyright 2015 Nina Davidowitz

"Sunrise in the Treetops", acrylic on canvas, 24" x 30", copyright 2015 Nina Davidowitz

Winter sunrises can be spectacular! Whether you are living in the crisp and cold climate of the north or the sunny south, somehow a sunrise in the winter months is full of special light. 

It was a spectacular winter sunrise that inspired this month's featured painting, "Sunrise in the Treetops". It was created while I was living in a cottage in the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania, surrounded by tall pine trees and situated on a hill overlooking the town. My art studio had windows that faced to the east. Early morning work was very inspiring as I would watch the sun rising in those windows.

Detail Trees, Sunrise in Treetops.png

One winter morning I was bedazzled by the early morning light filtering through the trees across the street. It had snowed the night before, and everything was blanketed by a fresh coat of powder. The sky seemed to be aglow with shimmery pastel colors that looked like they were caught up in the treetops. I took several photos and then began to sketch the scene on my canvas. I worked on the painting for several months, adjusting the colored shapes and their placement in the sky, until I got it just right. 

"Sunrise in the Treetops" has a color palette that I don't often use. Most of my paintings are full pf vibrant blues and greens, whereas this one has such lovely pastel hues. The combination of lavenders, mauves, rich browns, and that soft light-blue create a quiet and serene feeling. 

Detail, Houses: Sunrise in Treetops.png

I especially love the view of the houses and little garage buildings in this painting. Nestled under the trees, their boxy shapes make a great design silhouetted against the snow. I can fondly remember all of the activity that took place in this little grove of trees throughout the seasons: raking the leaves in fall; mowing the grassy areas in summer, with little kids running through the backyards; shoveling sidewalk pathways and hanging up Christmas lights in the winter. It was a special place to live, with wonderful neighbors. This painting reminds me that nature's most beautiful treasures are often in our own backyard.   

The original painting of "Sunrise in the Treetops" is available for purchase and awaits a spectacular home setting. It is also available as a set of notecards and as a Gilcée print in my website shop.

I hope my painting has inspired you for this new month...the first of the year! Let's make it a good one. Sending love and blessings to you all!