A couple weeks ago my boyfriend and I embarked on our second "tour." I was invited by the Animal Rescue League of Boston to come join them for their event, "Paws in the Park," in Brewster, MA. I have been told repeatedly to market myself out on the Cape because people love their dogs so much out there that I figured it would be a good opportunity to make the trip to the Cape an extended business/marketing trip!

The flyer I made that I posted on social media and shared in my newsletter! The weather didn't agree with my plans though :)

My boyfriend, who is the owner of Spruce Vintage and is a vintage men's clothing dealer is always down for the count when we travel... there has to be some good left-behind summer clothes in the Cape, right? (Well... not really, but at least we learned!) We booked our camping sites in Provincetown and in Brewster, packed a little too much stuff into my car and headed south (returning home only twice for things we forgot).

The woman who I was in contact with for the Paws in the Park event had introduced me to a couple pet businesses on the Cape, and I made a stop at "Cape Cod Dog" in Eastham along the way to visit the store, leave behind some business cards, and pick up some flyers for the big event on Saturday! The store is super adorable if you haven't been :)

We finally got to our campsite in Provincetown and it was a perfect little place to call home for a few days. I had to finish up the outlines on one of my paintings (Loki) to make it display-ready so I worked on it at the campground.

Ever seen someone working on a german shepherd painting at a campsite? 

The next day I was supposed to be setting up downtown Provincetown on Commercial Street but it was downpouring!! Samir and I kept waiting in the tent for it to let up but it did not cease.... How was I going to get the painting work finished that I needed to do?? It then hit me! The Cape Cod Dog in Eastham would be a perfect place to set up for the day while Samir went off scavenging for treasures! They were happy to have me and it was a wonderfully pleasant place to work for the day. I met many of their customers and their furry children and I got some good work accomplished on my portrait of two cockapoos, Bentley and Heidi!

 My easel set up inside "Cape Cod Dog" in Eastham, MA

My easel set up inside "Cape Cod Dog" in Eastham, MA

That night I was awoken at 4am from Samir playing music on his phone. I asked him what he was doing and with a tremble in his voice he whispered, "something's out there!" Sure enough I heard it for myself: the crackling of plastic food containers and the satisfactory grunting of an animal enjoying all of our food! I felt very brave and got out of the tent to inspect the situation. I discovered a little bandit raccoon munching  on food from our cooler. In retrospect this was probably stupid of me, but I jumped around, shone my headlamp in his face, and made some silly noises. He looked at me with amusement, while stealthily reaching into the cooler to grab one last tomato, before running off! He had certainly eaten enough so he didn't really put up a fight. In the morning we inspected the damage. He ate pretty much all of our food, including a ton of leftovers that I was really looking forward to. He got into our frozen berries and left little adorable red footprints all over the place. I guess he was caught red-handed! (sorry, I had to). 

The next morning, Samir and I went on a beautiful bike ride to the National Seashore and saw a coyote along the way! He really wanted nothing to do with us and ran across the bike path in front of us, but it was exciting to see him! After the bike ride, we packed up our stuff and headed into Provincetown. I stopped at the Police Department to get a Street Performer Permit. When I told them what I planned on doing they didn't have any qualms with it but wanted to make sure I communicated with the other street performers as to not start any turf wars. 

While driving down Commercial Street I found a perfect little corner to set up my easel. I jumped out of the car and asked the manager of the Mayflower Restaurant if it would be ok to set up and she quickly agreed! I did sense from some of the other store owners that not everyone was happy to have me there. I had to explain that the paintings I am displaying are not actually for sale (they're commissioned artwork!). Also, I am not soliciting as I paint, which is the whole beauty of it. If people are interested in what I am doing they can come up to me and ask for a business card or some more information. As long as I am not doing anything illegal, I will continue to promote my art this way! Our country's first amendment is a wonderful thing :)

My live painting setup on Commercial Street in Provincetown.

Painting in Provincetown was a HUGE success! Even though I painted on a Thursday during the off season, I still had tons of people stop and ask me questions and take my cards. The response was overwhelmingly positive. I had been told for awhile that Provincetown would be a great place for my art because everyone loves their dogs AND art! It was a fabulous place to market myself, and I know I'll be back. I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned from painting in Massachusetts versus painting in California is that people have a genuine love for local art, and while I plan on painting all over the world someday, it is best to focus my efforts in New England while I can. 

The next day we packed up our campsite in Provincetown and drove down to Brewster to set up our next campsite. Along the way we decided to stop at the Animal Rescue League Brewster Shelter to visit my next painting subject, Fern, the Portuguese Podengo. The Animal Rescue League of Boston came up with the wonderful idea to have me work on a portrait of a dog that had been in a shelter for awhile while at the event. The idea being, whoever ends up adopting the dog will get the portrait. This is a wonderful way to raise awareness about the shelter, the dog, and the importance of rescuing animals!

Fern is a beautiful dog with a wonderful heart and I just know she will make a wonderful addition to someone's family! She is a little shy and has a tendency to run, so she will need a home with a large fenced in back yard (she seems to LOVE being outdoors). I would adopt her myself, but I really think she would benefit from being in a home with other dogs that can guide her to living a more relaxed and enjoyable dog life :) To find out more information about Fern, please visit her PetFinder bio and take a trip to Brewster to meet her if you can!

Professional photos of Fern (I used the top right for the painting).

 The only good photo I was able to get of Fern while visiting her at the shelter! 

The only good photo I was able to get of Fern while visiting her at the shelter! 

After meeting Fern, we set up our campsite at Nickelson State Park and I worked on a portrait of "Frankie" for a little while! I made friends with all the kids at the campsite that were very interested in what I was doing :)

 Painting "Frankie" at Nickelson State Park Campground in Brewster, MA.

Painting "Frankie" at Nickelson State Park Campground in Brewster, MA.

The next morning I headed over to "Paws in the Park" to set up my easel for the event! They gave me a cute little spot next to a tree, which was perfect for hanging my banner and frames for my paintings. They put Fern in her cage right next to me, even though she was walking around for quite a bit of the event with a red "adopt me" bandana. The event was super fun, with so many dogs and their owners and lots of cool activities. There was a place to have your dog make paintings, a caricature artist, a kissing booth, and more! I donated a 6x6 painting for the raffle, and told everyone that came up to watch me paint, that Fern was up for adoption and the painting would go to her lucky owner.

Here I am with Fern at the Animal Rescue League's "Paws in the Park" event in Brewster, MA 

I hope to explore this type of charity work more, and I have been visualizing some sort of organization around this particular idea. I know plenty of pet portrait artists looking for exposure and actual work, and it would be really cool to give people the opportunity to donate money towards having a artist create a piece of art representing a particular animal in a shelter. This would be a fabulous way to promote the arts while raising awareness of rescuing animals!

This painting belongs to the lucky future owners of Fern!!

UPDATE!

Fern (now Bebe) was adopted soon after I made the portrait of her! She was adopted by another artist who apparently loves the portrait. Bebe is loving life these days as she now has a border collie and sheep for siblings in Orleans Massachusetts. Yay for Bebe!!!



After we left Los Angeles, we drove inland to go camp in the Sierra Nevada mountain range (Inyo National Forest and Yosemite National Park). We were a little upset that we didn't get to see the California coast, but we'll just have to come back! I love camping, and the mountains/deserts/lakes were stunning. I couldn't believe the variety in landscape that we saw in such a short amount of time. I was reading some brochures about Yosemite, and was struck by a quote:

"When a visitor asked a Yosemite ranger what he would do if he had only a day to visit the park, the ranger answered, 'I'd weep.'" 

It almost made me weep reading this quote because we did only have one day within the park! We must return one day!

I set up my easel in Yosemite National Park for a very short amount of time. People walking by seemed interested, but their priority was to take in the nature, so I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as a means of promotion. Someone asked me why I was painting there, and were wondering if the landscape inspired me in any way. I responded by saying that my main purpose was to question the idea of a work space. I have to finish these paintings one way or another, but why do I always have to be cramped up in my studio? It is much more pleasant painting outside in our nation's "playground"! 

IMG_4390.JPG

The view from our campsite at Convict Lake in Inyo National Forest (our deer friend!)

IMG_4682.PNG

I set up and worked on a painting for a little bit in Yosemite National Park! I venture to say that this is the first house cat painted within the park :)

 OFF TO SAN FRANCISCO!

After we drove through Yosemite, we stayed with my family in San Jose that night and headed into San Francisco the next day. We both LOVED San Francisco. I guess I'm a stereotypical San Francisco tourist because I didn't bring a jacket, and it was cold! One woman described San Francisco as comaprable to being on a boat in the middle of the ocean because it's almost completely surrounded by water. The first day in San Francisco, I set up my easel at Dolores Park. It was suggested to me because there are generally a lot of people hanging out there. It wasn't necessarily my demographic, but we enjoyed the time to relax in the park. I found out later that there's another part of Dolores Park where people bring their dogs (oops!). 

IMG_4685.PNG

We stayed with a friend in Oakland, which as we learned is quickly becoming a haven for young people escaping the high rents in downtown San Francisco. Our friend is training to be an herboligist, which I find incredibly interesting! She and her classmates often go on "field trips" into California's national parks to forage for herbs, and there are what seems like hundreds of bottles of tinctures and herbs around her apartment. When she described her classes it reminded me of Harry Potter's potions and herbology classes at Hogwarts. So cool! She also has an adorable pit bull named, Seqouia, who was the biggest sweetheart.

IMG_4686.PNG
IMG_4690.PNG

On my second day in San Francisco, I set up my easel for a few hours in the front window of an awesome pet boutique in Pacific Heights called, "George." This store was incredibly cute! I don't even own a pet but I wanted to buy everything in the store! They also make their own dog beds (check out their website to see). They had a stage in their front window... it was almost as if it was made for me! I handed out a bunch of cards and talked to some very interested potential customers. 

IMG_4687.PNG

A passerby's view of me painting in the front window.

IMG_4689.PNG

My "stage" within George's storefront

IMG_4688.PNG

Part of Geroge's adorable display!

Samir and I both really loved San Francisco and we know we'll be back! 

I really really liked LA. This was my first visit here and I know it won't be my last!

July 17:
After we left La Jolla we started heading up to Los Angeles. We saw hot air balloons on the way. Once again we were stunned by the beauty in this state. We got to my cousin and her boyfriend's house in West Hollywood and soon learned how great her location was (lots of thrift stores that was perfect for Samir). My cousin owns a cat named, "Achilles," who was once the star of "My Cat From Hell." He can be nice... sometimes :) Here is a painting I did of him awhile back that's hanging in her home:

I love the graffitti in LA:

I also love seeing all of the interesting business they have... including this hot dog/lamp shop:

July 18:
In the morning we met up with my old friend from high school who is now a budding filmmaker and her boyfriend who is an actor (check out his super hilarious mini-series, Golden California) for lunch. We left right after lunch to head down to Long Beach to go to an event I set up with Pussy & Pooch at the Long Beach Museum of Art. The museum has a super cool exhibit right now called, "Architecture for Dogs", which is a curated collection of designs created with specific breeds in mind. Pussy & Pooch set up a "pop-up" shop in the museum gift shop to go along with the exhibit and every month Pussy & Pooch hosts a "yappy hour" on the green next to the museum. There are replicas of the exhibit designs for dogs to play with and "hors d'oeuvres" for the dogs. There was another pet business called, "Doggy Luxe," featuring their jewel-studded dog collars, set up alongside me as well. I worked on a painting of Izzy there for a few hours right out on the ocean and mingled with some pets and their owners. It was a lot of and I'm so grateful for the opportunity :)

July 19:
The owner of Pussy & Pooch was nice enough to put me in contact with another great pet shop in LA called, "Three Dog Bakery," in Farmers Market (next to the "Grove"). Farmers Market is a super cool permanent market or outdoor mall with all sorts of goodies (fruit vendors, candy shops, hat makers, etc). Three Dog Bakery is an awesome little store that actually functioned as a bakery for dogs. I set up out front and painted for a little over an hour and then the manager alerted me that the Farmers Market management was not keen on having me paint in the market. It was really disappointing and while we tried to configure my stuff so that my sign wasn't visible and my easel was more inside the store, the definitive answer was, "no." This is the first time I have come across this issue and I have a feeling it won't be the last, but at least I was able to do it for a little bit.Since this event, I've been a little more careful about where I set up. I don't want to anger anyone! Everyone walking by seemed to really enjoy watching me paint and I believe it added something special to the atmosphere. The manager of the store was super apologetic and confused, but it was out of her control. The management said that if other artists saw me painting in the mall they may consider it a free-for-all and set up other easels as well (remind me why this is a bad thing?). Oh well, I guess I understand! This brings me back to my undergraduate law class on first amendment rights... Aren't malls considered a public forum for free speech? I could be totally wrong, but I will look into this further!

July 20:
Based on some recommendations on places to set up in LA, Samir and I drove over to Santa Monica in the morning. I set up my easel right in the grassy area next to the Santa Monica Pier. It was probably one of my best live painting events I've ever had. So many people walked by and laughed out loud about my business name and asked for cards. After about an hour of painting, a dance troop set up near me and monopolized the attention of the crowd, but I am perfectly happy with the amount of people who saw me painting that day. 

 

After a few hours, I packed up my painting gear and headed over to downtown LA for my final live painting event in LA. I set up my easel and sample paintings outside of Pussy & PoochSarah Donner of "Catster" also happened to be performing her music at the store, and concurrently there was a cat adoption event run by Luxe Paws. It only seemed appropriate to work on a painting of a cat! One of my Instagram followers showed up to the event, which was very exciting :)  It was a super fun event and Sarah and I spoke about maybe doing future events together on the East Coast!

 

 

I really enjoyed my time here in LA and I would love to come back and spend some more time here in the near future!

 

Posted
AuthorMelissa King
CategoriesOn Tour

We landed in Las Vegas late Saturday night! We spent a little time on the strip (Samir's never been) and we played one game of black jack and one game of roulette, but being overly cautious helped us to know the right time to walk away and we made a little profit :) I have a lot of family in Vegas and it was great to see them all! My cousin owns a popular restaurant called, "Egg Works," and I arranged a live painting event there for Sunday Breakfast. It was a lot of fun! I talked to a lot of people and I think everyone really enjoyed having me there while they waited for their tables. My cousin expressed interest in maybe having other local artists set up in his restaurants in the future. It's great because it benefits both the artist and the venue... So I hope it catches on! We left Vegas yesterday and drove down to San Diego. It was a beautiful drive going through the desert with tons of Joshua trees and mountain ranges. We stopped in the Mojave desert and it was HOT! San Diego seems super cool so far! We're here for such a short time so we're trying to squeeze in the sights but I'm here primarily to promote my art so I will be setting up my easel tonight on the Ocean Beach Dog beach (from 5-7) and tomorrow in La Jolla at Muttropolis from 2:30-6:30 then we're off to LA! I'll try my best to keep updating this as often as I can!

Live painting at Egg Works

A "pop-up" wedding chapel on the strip that offers pet marriages. 

We stopped into "Peggy's Diner" on the way to San Diego from Las Vegas.

In the Mojave Desert (this is a rest stop reproduction but nonetheless it looks cool!)

Here I am with my beautiful 92-year-old grandma, Winnie! It's always great to see family :)

 

Posted
AuthorMelissa King
CategoriesOn Tour

After over two months of careful planning, my tour to promote Pawblo starts tomorrow! My boyfriend and I are flying into Las Vegas tomorrow night. I have a lot of family in Las Vegas, so I'll spending a couple of days with them. We'll be renting a car so that we can do our big drive up the West Coast! 

I am actively looking for locations to do "live painting" events. Aside from randomly setting up my easel on California's many dog beaches and dog parks, I am hoping to find pet stores/boutiques or other pet related businesses to host me for a 3-4 hours to work on my paintings inside their stores! So far I have set up an event in Las Vegas and in San Diego. I was hoping to have all of my events set up before I left to give you a full list but I should at least alert you all of my itinerary so you have an idea of where I'll be and when. If you have any suggestions on where I should set up live painting events you can leave them on a comment on this post! Also, if you are familiar of the area and have suggestions for cool places to visit (restaurants, stores, museums etc.) I'd love to hear them as well!

 

Here is my itinerary (subject to slightly change):

July 13: Arrive in Las Vegas (close to midnight)

July 14: Las Vegas

LIVE Painting Event (EGG & I Restaurant: 6435 S Rainbow Blvd #100 from 10AM-1PM)

July 15: Drive to San Diego (Drive Time – 4:53hrs)

July 16: San Diego

LIVE Painting Event (Ocean Beach Dog Beach: 5PM-7PM) Weather Dependent

July 17: San Diego (Drive to LA after event)

LIVE Painting Event (Muttropolis-La Jolla from 2:30PM-6:30)

July 18: Los Angeles

July 19: Los Angeles

July 20: Los Angeles

July 21: Yosemite National Park (Convict Lake Campground)

July 22: Yosemite National Park (Convict Lake Campground) 

July 23: Drive to San Francisco (Drive Time – 5:19hrs)

July 24: San Francisco 

July 25: San Francisco

July 26: Drive to Humboldt Redwoods State Park (Drive Time – 4:17hrs)

July 27: Redwood National Forest

July 28: Drive to Sunset Bay State Park, Oregon (Drive Time – 5:17hrs)

July 29: Sunset Bay State Park

July 30: Drive to Portland (Drive Time – 4:13hrs)

July 31: Portland

August 1: Portland 

August 2: Drive to Seattle (Drive Time – 2:46hrs) 

August 3: Fly home to Boston (Arrive to airport at 9:00pm)

 

 

Follow my twitter feed for the most up-to-date info on my events! @pawblopicasso