Friday, December 31, 2010

Tweeted by San Francisco Zoo

Recently I decided to create a set on FLICKR with all of my animal life drawing work, and it's gotten a quite a bit of interest. I've had several hits, comments, and San Francisco Zoo chose to tweet my work on their account about a month ago!

With this recent turn of events, I've finally decided to get a twitter account, and I'm having FAR too much fun with it.

Click on the little birdie to follow my tweets!
Follow JenKellerArt on Twitter

This directly relates to my New Year's Resolution to have a much bigger online presence. You thought I was chatty in person - just wait! :-)

Hope everyone has a great new year....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Illustration Friday - WINTER

"Winter must be cold for those with no warm memories."
Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember

I've always really liked this piece... and hoped to do more with it at some point. There is something to be said for finding a little "warmth in winter."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy Howl-a-days!!

Canine Carolers!

Here's hoping everyone enjoys the holiday season...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dog Holiday Spots

A couple of holiday images to bring joy and wonder to any pooch during the season...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Society of Illustrators - Sketch Night

During my visit to the Society of Illustrators in New York I discovered their weekly sketch night. I couldn't resist this opportunity to draw in the hallowed halls of so many illustrators before me. It was a "must-do" event.

To my delight the atmosphere was more than welcoming. The room was filled with great works of art dating from the "Golden Age of Illustration." Classic work from the 30's and 40's, dating up to the early 60's. I have been in love with work from this era long before my illustration days, going back to my former life as a costume designer. I was thrilled to just be surrounded by it!

In addition to this, the society also had a great old bar with cocktails to help you relax before you pick up your pencils (or during). They also had live music playing during the drawing sessions, and this week the models were dressed in fabulous 40's style garb.  In addition to my new hand made sketch pad featuring classic illustration, it was perfecition!

Three hours seemed way too short to me, but I managed to crank out a few fun sketches during the 20 minute poses. Enjoy!

Society of Illustrators - Original Art Show

This past week I was lucky enough to be in New York for the Society of Illustrators Original Art Show.  This show in particular was focused on Children's Book Art.  

The society hosted two floors of artwork produced by current and classic illustrators at the top of their game.  I was overwhelmed and inspired to be surrounded by such great work.  
Included in the show were works by a few of my favorites like Amy June Bates, Peter Brown, Raul Colon, Ian Falconer, Marla Frazee, Emily Gravett, Brian Lies, C.F.Payne, David Soman, and David Santat... among so many amazing artists.  

I felt really fortunate to have coincidently planned my trip at the same as the show.  It was the spiritual push forward at the perfect time.  

A book with no pictures is like a sky with no clouds. -- Sergio Ruzzier, Juror

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dog Star Resort!

So here is the final image for the Dog Star Resort, LLC, a premiere Doggy Daycare and Boarding facility in Central Wisconsin. This image was so much fun to create. The dogs are loosely based on the two of the owner's dogs...

Lucy the border collie
and Titan the Pomeranian mix.

Dog Star Resort, LLC is not set to open for awhile, but you can check out their progress on their Facebook Page until they get a website set up. Carol is a fantastic dog owner and caregiver with numerous years of experience with rescue dogs (including my own!) I have no doubt this will be an excellent facility to take your canine companions.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Purrcasso Art Gala & Benefit

I am so happy to be participating in the Purrcasso Art Show in Berkeley for my third year. This time around I've donated a signed print of my modern "The Cheshire Cat and Alice"

After the devastating fire the Berkeley-East Bay Humane Society suffered from this year, donating this small piece is the least I could do. I hope the profits it brings will help out in some way!

The benefit is a two day event, November 6-7th at 2865 Seventh Street (at Heinz) and I hope some of those kitty lovers out there make a stop and buy some art!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Beach Fun Time

Charlie the beach fun-time dog is complete. If only we humans could let ourselves go the way dogs do... the world might be a happier place.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Super Star Lucy!

Part of a doggie daycare and boarding facility identity/logo that I'm designing. It's based on the owner's dog - Lucy. Can never go wrong with a super star border collie! Can't wait to finish this one up... should be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Charlie Man

I'm so excited to be working on this illustrative commissioned portrait of one of my favorite guys, Charlie! I just finished this line drawing and I'm excited to move on to the final piece.

Charlie is a rescued yellow lab and loved by two wonderful people who currently reside in San Diego.  Charlie is not only an awesome dog -- he is a celebrity! For my inspiration Alex (Charlie's dad) sent me a series of fabulous photographs that were featured in The Popular Dog Series Magazine : Labrador Retrievers.  He made the cover! 


The great thing is that Charlie never let his celebrity status go to his head. Well, maybe only when he's asking for a belly rub...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Little Red Schoolhouse

A recent visit back home brought to me to one of my fondest childhood places, The Little Red Schoolhouse Nature Center. Growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, this little nature center plopped in the middle of the southwest forest preserves was a favorite place of mine. Of course when I used to visit as a child, you could still feed the ducks breadcrumbs or corn from a gumball machine. But you had to be careful in the fall and winter because you might get accosted by hungry geese!

Well, a lot has changed since then, and now there is an entirely new nature center with bigger and better exhibits featuring wildlife native to the mid-west, numerous footpaths around the property, and the schoolhouse is, of course, still standing. You cannot feed the wildlife anymore, however, which is probably for the best!

Along one of these paths I happened upon a fairly calm goose (compared to the ones of my youth) and took this opportunity to work on my bird renderings. I feel like he knew he was being watched...!

All of the animals in the exhibits at the schoolhouse are generally rehabilitated wildlife that for one reason or another, cannot return back to the wild. In the back of the property are some rescued birds of prey. The two owls were hiding out, being nocturnal creatures. However, the beautiful red tailed hawk was bright eyed and on the lookout for a spare rodent/snack. Not sure if he ever got that snack, but I got a decent sketch of him.

It was great to return to my home in the plains, and experience the beauty of the mid-west. I hope to go back again soon!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Eat Dessert First!

"Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first." ~ Ernestine Ulmer

I think every dog lives by this rule... (or eat whatever is in front of you!) This scenario is based on a million stories I've heard (and seen) about dogs helping themselves to yummy goodies whenever they have a chance. Here's hoping someone catches Fido before the birthday party is in shambles!

Just finished this piece, and it happens to fit in nicely with Illustration Friday's concept word, "Dessert," this week. Enjoy...

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Inter-species Peace: Bella & Tarra

The Whole 9 Gallery has been sponsoring, The Peace Project, a gallery show based on the concept of Peace. It's opening will be in Culver City, CA on World Peace Day in September.

I’ve been wanting to submit something to this project for awhile, and as I thumbed through all of the beautiful traditional imagery of doves, globes, people holding hands, etc… I couldn’t help but think there has got to be something else just as symbolic and meaningful, but would speak to me as an artist and a human being. Then I saw the special on Bella & Tarra. I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

I was so moved and touched by this story, I just had to depict these two characters - Peace Project or no Project... I really didn't care. Everyone knows my deep love and affection for the animal world, and this story seemed to seal the deal. I was so moved that I just had to depict it visually.

I look at these animals, and see so many differences – Carnivore vs. Vegetarian, Canine vs. Pachyderm, 8,000 lbs vs. 40 lbs… the list goes on. I wanted to capture the simplicity of their relationship. The giant stature of the elephant bursting outside of the frame, and the small bright-eyed pooch snuggled in her trunk.

The story originally aired in January of 2009 (somehow I missed it!) but Bella and Tarra are still going strong. If you are lucky you may see a glipse of them on the live ELECAM at the Elephant Sanctuary website.

So my idea of Peace and Harmony? Well, I think you just need to look at this "Animal Odd Couple" to know...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Illustration Friday - ATMOSPHERE

The couple decided that Mattie shouldn't live inside the house anymore. They put her outside with a big bowl of food and a big bowl of water. She was so scared. All alone.

Another oldie, but goodie... "Mattie Forgotten Outside" or "All Alone." I've gotten a lot of positive feedback on this piece lately on my Whole 9 Portfolio and I thought it captured a sense of the word "atmosphere" featured this week on Illustration Friday.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Swinging Summer Days

There is nothing that compares to playing on the swings during the summer holiday. Some of my fondest childhood memories are swinging on my swing-set in the backyard before school started...

Friday, August 13, 2010


I decided to stretch my sketchbook a bit and practice drawing some babies. It's hard to find structure under all that adorable chub!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Illustration Friday - CAGED

This week, Illustration Friday's word challenge is "CAGED".... Immediately I thought my "Kennel Scene" fit the word perfectly.

Poor Mattie - still breaks my heart a little to look at this one, even though the real Mattie is safe and sound, sleeping at my feet.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The San Diego Zoo

This past week I was lucky enough to travel to Southern California and visit the famous San Diego Zoo! It was great. There were so many animals waiting to be captured in my sketchbook.... I think I even salivated a little bit upon arrival :-)

The Koala Bears were my first subject. I have never seen a Koala live - and you might actually mistake these guys for stuffed animals! Apparently their favorite pass-time, besides eating eucalyptus is sleeping. I did manage to catch one in the act of eating... but before I could finish my sketch, he crashed out! Must take a lot of energy to eat all of those leaves.

After my time with the Koalas, I happened upon the New Guinea Singing Dog. This wild dog is apparently a distant relative of the dingo, and has been known to howl in harmony if they are in a group. He wasn't letting out a single tune for us, unfortunately. I guess he was waiting for the rest of the band...

Then it was time for the big cats. The San Diego Zoo has a wide variety of them, but the Black Jaguar captured me the most. Orson was extremely active for his old age - zipping all over his exhibit. I managed to get somewhat of an action "shot"... He was magnificent.

After spending time with a large carnivore, it was time to visit one of the zoo's most coveted exhibits - The Panda Bear. On loan from China, San Diego has 2 adult Pandas (Su Lin & Zhen Zhen), and one baby. This baby (Yun Zi) happens to weigh as much as my dog (45 lbs)... pretty big baby...! I was lucky enough to find a spot in the back corner where I could draw this adorable creature and still keep out of the way for the many people waiting in line. Zhen Zhen was enjoying her bamboo snack... so much so that by the end of the drawing she needed to lie down! (but continue to eat - of course!)

After my visit with the Panda Bear, the day started to get hot and the animals started to cool themselves down (by hiding out in the shade or in their pools). My last sketchbook entry was perhaps, the "coolest" of all the animals - The Orangutan. This female got such a kick out of watching the visitors, you would have thought WE were the exhibit. I'm sure all of us look hilarious with our paper cups and funny "fur"... What a gorgeous creature to end my visit with!