Welcome to Art By Choleena!

Welcome! I am a full-time Canadian artist on a mission to help you live artfully. In addition to the art here, I love creating special orders/commissions, so please contact me if you have any ideas for a piece that you would like to see. Estimates are free. Give me as much information as you have: your favourite theme, rough idea of budget, rough idea of size, etc. That will help me determine the complexity of the image and do up a no-obligation estimate. Humble gratitude ❤️ for your time and love of art. 🙂

Posted in News | Leave a comment

A-paw-ling Internet Scam Accidentally Sparks Partnership with Pet Rescue Group

In late October, I received an Instagram alert that I had an incoming message. A follower of my Art By Choleena account was asking if I take commissions. They wanted a mosaic portrait of their dog. Having never sketched a dog, I wrote back with hesitant enthusiasm that I would love to try but that that subject matter is new to me. I said that I would not ask for a down-payment until I did some sketches and felt assured that I can draw dogs.

My first-ever attempt at drawing a dog. I was quite happy with the result, and so was the ‘scammer client’.

After several sketches, I was confident that I could create a likeness of their dog, so I requested an e-transfer down-payment of $125. Instead, the client emailed a low-resolution, heavily-pixelated image of a cheque. Surprisingly, the cheque was for $1000. Accompanying the cheque was a note indicating that the client’s account had a charge-back dispute so their bank instructed them to only pay with a cheque. In addition, their bank had a minimum amount of $1000 for cheques, so I would have to return the overage of $875. Highly suspicious, I contacted the client with my concerns and let them know that it was akin to well-known Internet scams. After some odd responses, including them scolding me for not trusting them, the client ghosted me. I guess that’s how it goes. They push until it’s clear that you’re not falling for it, and then they disappear. So, I ‘scratched’ the commission.

During the project (but before the ghosting), I had proudly posted the image on social media; many liked and commented on it. My friend Linda Berube responded asking if it was possible for me to draw cats, and would I consider donating a piece to a holiday fundraiser of a rescue group that is dear to her: Ottawa Stray Cat Rescue (OSCatR).

Ottawa Stray Cat Rescue is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to getting adoptable stray cats off the streets and into loving homes, as well as healthily managing feral cat colonies in the National Capital Region.

No stranger to rescues, and a companion to two rescue dogs and two stray cats, the project seemed purr-fect for me, so I leaped in to help. Linda introduced me to full-time veterinarian and founder of OSCatR, Dr. Katie Jones, and we worked-out the details of collaboration. I produced a playful mosaic that included a black cat and three red tulips. Linda helped with the title “Tiptoe Through the Tulips”, and the piece was put on auction.

My paper mosaics have a lush, glossy finish. I’ve taken a photo at an angle to show the surface.

It received an excellent response, and soon the concept was expanded to a Variable Edition of 9 more cats (an apt number for felines). A Variable Edition (VE) is a numbered set of images that are similar but with the allowance for each image to be varied in some way. In this case, clients could specify their preference for the colour of the cat and the colour of the tulips. Moments after the edition was announced, Dr. Katie pounced at claiming one, as she thought that her orange and white kitty, Sheldon, would look very handsome in mosaic.

All 10 sold quickly, netting a total value of donations to the rescue at $460. It was clear that a second edition would be well received, and so we are taking orders for it. The mosaics are 5×8″, framed in black, and have my classic lush, glossy surface. Each is titled, signed, and numbered with an authentication label on the back, and is $160, with $30 going directly to OSCatR.

Dr. Katie’s adorable Sheldon kitty. 5×8,” framed in black.

If interested in immortalizing your cat with a mosaic artwork, I hope that you will get in touch.

Keeping the momentum going, a set of images has been produced as greeting cards and postcards.

With the kind permission of all the fur-baby parents, the cat images have been turned into greeting cards and postcards!

Talks are also underway to research local dog rescues to partner with and support. I hope to be able to ‘rescue’ the ‘abandoned’ dog drawing, and repurpose it for good. Should you have a proposal, please feel free to contact me.

As you can see, this scam created a confounding cascade of events. What could have been a cat-astrophe, was turned around with paws-itive thinking. 😉

Here are the variations so far…

Posted in Art Activities, Art Gallery, cards, Custom order, News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Upcycling a cupboard into a Little Free Library

As part of my large project to have a mini cabin for rent at the back of the property, I wanted trails and little playful things for guests to find in the forest. I decided to have a mini lending library like you would see in the city.

I repainted and did an image transfer on this little cabinet. For the image transfer, I printed a photo of one of my artworks, then used mod podge to transfer it. For the glass work, I used dish-washer-safe mod podge, which is also safe for use in the outdoors.

If you have any questions or want to see what else I make, get in touch through the Contact page, or look up Art By Choleena on Facebook, Etsy, and Instagram.

Posted in Art Activities | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tax Deductions for Buying Canadian Art

Supporting local artists and buying Canadian art just got even better! If it meets the following criteria, it qualifies as a tax deduction. Perhaps it’s finally time to invest in your home office/work space?

The art must be:

  • created by a Canadian artist
  • over $200 in value
  • exhibited in your place of business and in view of clients

Get in touch with your Accountant for the full details.

Source: Investing in Canadian Art — A Tax Perspective, by CASCADE Chartered Professional Accountants LLC

One of my corporate clients, InGenius Software, has purchased more than one piece from me. Here is an image from 2013, where we are getting ready to hang a large telephone booth mosaic of mine. This very talented, Ottawa-based firm provides companies like the Government of Canada, Nortel, and Telus with IT recruitment, custom software products, and telephony software solutions. It was their telephony software slant that drew them to my “Telephone Booth”. Above, owners Rich Loen and Dale Gantous pose with me just after delivery. That wall shape and colour was made for this particular artwork, don’t you think?

UPDATE: I’m thrilled to announce that Rich and Dale have won many awards over the years, and have sold InGenius Software to Upland Software. Here is their new website at Upland.

InGenius Software hanging my telephone booth mosaic artwork. InGenius now owned by Upland Softare.

 

Posted in News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Rent our cabin and campsite!

We are thrilled to have finally realized one of our dreams to share this place with you! Beautiful 270 acres of mixed forest, open field, and biodiverse marsh all for yourself! In the wild countryside just North of the Historic Town of Perth, Ontario. Includes large fire pit, cookstoves, covered deck, 10 × 10 wood cabin (sleeps 2-3), groomed camp/tent sites for your additional guests to pitch their tents. We only rent to one person/party at a time so the whole place is yours to share with whomever you like or just with yourself!

Camping in Perth, Ontario.
With the campsite comes a cabin! You get both to use as you wish. Fully-outfitted deck, cookstoves, pots, utensils. Outhouse, too!

14% discount for booking a week+ stay. We supply just about everything!

It’s Glamping (a mash-up of glamorous camping) — making it easy to have an outdoor getaway, especially for folk who are new to camping.

Open year-round. Mini wood stove heats the cabin. Snowshoes freely available.

  • Solar-powered power pack
  • All the fresh well water that you need
  • Campfire and firewood
  • Camping cookstoves and all the pots/pans/utensils to go with it
  • Covered deck and patio table/chairs
  • Cabin and campsites (bring tents!) — the whole place is the entire listing
  • Lots more! Check out the listing.
fire pit
Large firepit for toasting marshmallows or cooking over. We supply a cooking grate and marshmallow sticks!
wildlife
Loads of wildlife, especially in Summer/Autumn.
cabin or tent
Many mowed spots for you to choose from to put your tents. You can stay in the cabin, and the kids could tent!
  
Posted in News, The Farm | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Here’s What I’m Working on Right this Minute!

Just a little post to show you what I just finished! 😀 The little nails/tacks in the ‘leather’ of the mask are from my late Grandfather’s shoe-making tools, and the screen in the mask filter is from a window that my dog tore out one day when frustrated that we had the audacity to leave the house without him! The artwork itself was inspired by “Son of Man” and other pieces of Belgian surrealist painter, René Magritte. To view my other artworks, I hope that you will visit my Etsy Shop. To have a custom theme/special-order artwork made just for you, get in touch anytime. It would be a pleasure to work with you on a piece.

Posted in Art Activities, Art Gallery | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Grape artwork commission

Just finishing up this special order (commission) of a mosaic of a bunch of grapes. It contains about 525 tesserae (cut pieces). It is paper-based but I create a multi-layer, raised surface with heavy gloss to make it look like ceramic. It is easily dusted with a damp cloth. I have yet to frame and gloss it. This is a special order by a repeat client in Ottawa, Ontario!

The finished piece before framing/glossing.
An image to show the stage where I cut each tesserae.
This photo was taken at dusk so it’s dark/grainy but at least it shows scale.
The piece is about 13″x17″.

Posted in Art Activities, Custom order, News | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Arts/COVID; COVID/Arts

These tragic times are affecting us in so many ways. Some of us have lost loved-ones, some of us are in isolation, and some of us fear for our family, health, livelihood, and housing. It is difficult to keep hopeful and an eye on the horizon for when these days have passed.

But one thing that I have noticed is that people are turning to The Arts to keep creatively busy, ward off the effects of isolation, and for hope.

How The Arts are impacting this COVID-19 world

Conversely: How COVID-19 is impacting The Arts

  • The Arts are always a hard-sell so in times like this, the Art World is hit even harder. Prohibition on public gatherings means that art Openings are out. Plus, people are saving their money for more urgent things, and art is considered a non-essential. Here is an excellent article on the art market during a crisis.
  • Artists, here is a good resource/video on selling art in a pandemic.
Posted in Art Activities, News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Artful things to do while self-isolating at home

Posted in Art Activities | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Winter Blues – finding colour inspiration in cold weather

Curing the ‘winter blues’ with a new colour palette…

The reduced sunlight hours, and increased cold are enough to leave even this perkiest of persons a bit “blue” so I challenged myself to seek out the blue colour palette in this seemingly-white landscape. I was delighted to find the Blue Jay at its centre.

Last summer, our garden had a row of Giant Sunflowers. The Blue Jays loved the flowers so I’ve reproduced my memory of them there. Here is a Blue Jay weighing down a flower head as it perches to access the seeds of another flower. You can see the pond in the background, and the back-lit tree-line where the sun sets. We had two pair of these birds, and their clever and loud antics were entertaining and intriguing. They seem very social and work in a group. I imagine I’ll have to produce an artwork with more than one bird in it at some point but for now, I’ve focused on making a mosaic of the row of sunflowers…

I also produced two mini versions of the larger Sunflower/Jay artwork for smaller wall spaces. I make limited, numbered editions. No more than 25 in an edition. All the works  are tastefully framed and generally range from $130-400. I can also supply a quote on any custom size that you might be looking for.

Most of my repertoire is available on Etsy.

If you prefer to purchase an artwork through email, contact me anytime.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is mini-square-jay-sunflower-1024x768.jpg

A quick farm post… Wildlife abounds here at the farm where ArtByCholeena’s studio is, and I’m always at the ready with my camera. I photographed this strange thing leaving the tree top of a fir tree. Any guesses as to what it is? I am going to put this picture up on my Facebook page so please join in the fun and leave your guess. You can find it here on Facebook.

 I sure hope that the Winter Blues have blown past your home, and that this post has lifted your spirits. Warm waves of hello from the Winter Wonderland that is the farm,
 xo

P.S. If you like my art and posts, I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter where I announce new art, new shows, inspiring videos, and farm updates. Thank you. 🙂

Posted in News, The Farm | Leave a comment