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. 🙂
Welcome to Art By Choleena!
“Cute as a Button” mosaics support stray cats
As you might know, at Christmas, I collaborated with the Ottawa Stray Cat Rescue to develop “Tip Toe Through the Tulips”, a variable edition of mosaics featuring tulips and cats. That was quite a story that began with an internet scam, and resulted in rescue.
Well, I am absolutely honoured to be asked again to team up! For Valentine’s Day, at their suggestion, I developed a new edition of cat mosaics. “Cute as a Button” will be an edition of 14 mosaics featuring an image of a heart-shaped pillow with a _real_ button on it next to a kitty. As with the previous edition, clients can send me a photograph of their cat, and I will produce a likeness in mosaic, thus the ‘variable edition’.
The artworks come framed, labelled/signed, and glossed. Each is 5×8″, and is $160 (with $30 going directly to OSCR).
So far, three have been made: a Tuxedo kitty with green eyes; a one-eyed tortoiseshell kitty, and a black ‘house panther’. At time of this writing, 11 are remaining in the edition. Feel free to get in touch, if you would like to support the OSCR, and immortalize your feline (have a photo of your fur baby ready to send to me!). 🙂
A-paw-ling Internet Scam Precipitates Pet Rescue Partnership
**UPDATE: “Cute as a Button” edition created!**
In late October, I received an Instagram alert that I had an incoming message from Texas. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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
- These Musicians are Live-Streaming their music and concerts.
- People are creating “Quaran-tune” lists to fill their day with uplifting music and often feature songs that are social-distance aware or have lyrics cleverly changed to meet the times.
- Artists are giving art lessons and online tutorials/workshops.
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.
Artful things to do while self-isolating at home
- Keep kids occupied doing art activities for the family.
- Experience virtual tours of Art Museums from around the world
- Play creative video games with the kids.
- See this adorable miniature art museum for their pet gerbils.
- Read up on your favourite Art mediums! Here is the History of Mosaic Art (idea contributed by budding artist, Hailey).