Tag: pet blogging conference

Blogpaws West: Pets. Pet Lovers. Pet Art. What More Could You Want?

BlogPaws West Mural
BZTAT with her "Hand to Hand, Paw to Paw" Mural BlogPaws West 2010

When you have an experience as great as BlogPaws West 2010, it is impossible to put into words. I will say a few, then let the pictures tell the story.

I arrived a day early to Denver so I could get things prepared for painting the mural. I had mailed my supplies to the hotel in advance, however, they ended up arriving 3 days late! Luckily, there was a wonderful art supply store nearby. I ended up purchasing all new materials.

The mural image consisted of a dog and cat superimposed on a large heart for the background. Since the theme was about celebrating the worldwide community of pet lovers, it seemed an appropriate image.

The dog was a portrait of Lorenza,  who was recently rescued and adopted in Canton, OH. The cat was a portrait of Mickey, whose human (a rescue volunteer) suddenly died recently, leaving her beloved pet without a home.

At the start of the conference, Mickey had no home. Conference attendees took up the charge for his plight, tweeting and retweeting for support.

When I arrived back home to Canton, I learned that Mickey had been adopted to a new loving family!

Creating the mural while interacting with some of the most interesting and inspiring people on earth was a treasure for me. I was deeply moved by the comments people wrote for the mural as well as the stories they shared during the process.

I thank Tom, Yvonne and Caroline, the BlogPaws founders, for allowing me to use their event as my studio for 3 wonderful days.

And I thank all the people who shared and contributed to the mural.

I will soon be receiving professional photographs of the mural, which I will share in this space. In the meantime, enjoy the slide show below to get a real taste of what BlogPaws was all about.

Would you like BZTAT to create a “Dialogues Mural” at your event? Read more here.

BlogPaws PawsArt Art Exhibit and Silent Auction

In addition to the stellar speaker list and the truly fantastic sponsors, BlogPaws 2010 is hosting a Pet Art Exhibit and Silent Auction. As part of the BlogPaws Coordination Team, I have had the pleasure to gather artists and their artwork for the exhibit/auction.

As you can see in the video above, we will have some wonderful artwork by some of the country’s best pet artists available for auction. Make sure you come prepared to bid!

The Silent Auction will kick off immediately following pet expert, Charlotte Reed’s, presentation on Friday night, April 9th.  Attendees will have the chance to stroll around the auction area and silently bid on some wonderful pieces of art.

Our PawsArt Pet Art Silent Auction will feature the artwork of our many talented friends in the blogging community. It will go from our opening on Friday, through 1pm on Saturday afternoon.

Fifty percent of the final auction price will go to the artist, with the other 50% going to the animal rescues we are supporting as part of our ongoing giving program.

So if you are looking to acquire some gorgeous art and support animal welfare in the process, this is the perfect opportunity! You’ll see photography, acrylic and oil paintings, sculpture, hand-blown glass and more!

Featured artists include:

Mozart Dane from Harlequin Haven Great Dane Rescue near Cincinnati, paints with his paws. He is the Rescue spokesdog against puppy mills and homeless dogs. Sales of his art help support the Rescue. Website: www.hhdane.com/mozart (@MozartDane on Twitter)

Dana Muntean from Canton, Ohio, paints portraits of dogs and other animals, and she creates artworks following many other themes. She has painted numerous interior and exterior murals. She has a studio gallery at Second April Galerie in Canton. She is very active with Friends of Stark Pound, a rescue group that assists the local pound with the care and rehoming of homeless dogs, and she is “mom” to several canine children in her home. Website:  www.danamuntean.com

Sue Steiner from Dalton, Ohio, specializes in equine art, however, she is also well known for painting portraits of cats and dogs and other animals. She has a studio gallery at Second April Galerie in Canton. She has had her artwork published in national magazines. She is an active blogger about her artwork, community arts activities, and her journeys with horse rescue. She has 2 rescue horses that she is currently rehabilitating.Website: www.suesteiner.com (@ArtbySue on Twitter)

Angie Ketelhut from Seattle, Wa paints whimsical portraits of pets as well as people with their pets. She also works with petlovers to create unique uplifting memorial paintings celebrating the lives of four legged friends who have crossed rainbow bridge. She donates paintings & gift certificates to various rescues each year. She is mom to Fatsa, a charming Boston Terrier. Website: www.artbyangie.com (@DogArtist2 on Twitter)

Brian Gryphon from Columbus, OH has been a photographer since taking pictures for his high school yearbook; “a few decades ago” he says. He describes his main subjects as ‘florals and felines’ although he has photographed canines, Canada Geese and cityscapes. He has used his talents to raise funds for Cat Welfare Association and is now President of Animal Outreach; a non-profit serving central Ohio.

Bernadette E. Kazmarski Under the supervision of her cats, Bernadette sells original paintings, prints and merchandise created from her paintings of them. Inspired by her images of her cats, others have commissioned over 100 portraits of cats, dogs and their people in various media. She works in her home studio painting animals and nature and writing fiction and poetry and providing commercial print, web and logo design and illustrations as well as photographing events, and writing articles and publicity. Website: www.bernadette-k.com

Adrian Hitt is a nationally recognized, award-winning dog photographer who creates modern, playful works of art. Her interest in dog photography is founded in her desire to celebrate and encourage the deep bond that develops between human and animal, parent and dog.  Adrian’s photography has been featured in Pedigree advertisements and magazines including People, Professional Photographer and Nashville Paw. She has received numerous awards for her photography and design talents. She enjoys spending everyday with the inspiration behind her career – Benny a charming -and perfect- lab mix rescue.  Website: www.adrianhitt.com.

Rachel Lauren Ridgley is a fine art freelance photographer based in Central Ohio. Her passion and focus is animal portraiture (but she also work with human clients!) In her free time she photographs people, landscapes, and abandoned buildings. Website: www.rachellaurenphotography.com

Janet Tobiassen Crosby DVM (AboutVetMed) has been working with beads as an art form since 1987. She started flameworking in April of 2003.  Her biggest inspirations are color, nature and animals. All of the beads are made by her using glass rods and a propane-oxygen torch. The finished bead goes in the kiln to cool slowly over 8 hours to strengthen it; a process called annealing.

BZTAT (AKA Vicki Boatright) from Canton, OH, creates colorful contemporary artworks of cats and dogs and other companion animals. She specializes in painting custom pet portraits in a unique and personal style, and has been commissioned to paint animals all over the world. She is an active blogger on her own website, and she assists her cat Brewskie Butt (AKA The Brew) with his blog. She has helped to raise money for Friends of Stark Pound rescue group in Stark County, and has supported other rescue groups around the world. Websites: www.bztat.com and www.justmeowin.com (@BZTAT and @BrewskieButt on Twitter)

I can’t wait to see YOU at BlogPaws!

Life is an Adventure!


Why BlogPaws is so Important to Me


When I was child, I was painfully shy. I am talking pathological anxiety, excruciating and terrified of people kind of shyness.

Even though I have been a mental health therapist for 19 years, I still do not know where the shyness came from. I do, however, know what saved me from it.


Having family pets gave me friends of whom I was unafraid, and who showed me unconditional love. My pets also gave me something that I could talk about with people, alleviating some of my social anxieties.

I am 48 years old now, and I now feel fairly comfortable in most social situations. I even have found comfort in speaking in front of large groups. Even so, I still rely on my love of animals as one of my mainstay conversation topics.

So it is no wonder that I gravitated towards pet lovers when I stepped into the vast sea of social media.

Through my blogging cat Brewskie Butt, I have met hundreds of pet lovers from all over the world, and I have developed friendships that are very deep and meaningful through online interaction. I have even had the opportunity to meet some of these people face to face, enjoying a more full experience of our shared love of animals.

Next week, I will get the chance to meet many more of these people and other new friends at BlogPaws 2010, the first ever pet blogging conference, being held in Columbus, OH. I can’t wait!

I am looking forward to the event as an opportunity to expand my professional network as a pet portrait artist and blogger, and I am hoping to learn some new skills to enhance my online presence.

More than anything, though, I am looking forward to meeting people who share the love that I have of animals on a personal as well as professional level. And, I am looking forward to meeting some of their pets also, because many people will be bringing their animals with them to the conference!

Robert Brault said, “The difference between friends and pets is that friends we allow into our company, pets we allow into our solitude.”

I believe this to be true. We allow pets into a very special place in our hearts that is unguarded and unfettered. Friends who understand this best are the ones I most want to allow in my company.

So you see, painting pets is more than just a niche art style for me. It is something that connects me to the world from a place deep within my soul.

And that is why meeting up with fellow pet lovers at BlogPaws is so important to me.

I hope to see YOU at BlogPaws!

Life is an Adventure!


P.S.–It’s not too late to register for BlogPaws! You can still register here. Use my special code VIP-VB to get a 20% off discount!