You know my 1st love is creating keepsakes that represent the special relationships in our lives. But other images also taunt to become my muse, making themselves available for art shows and private collections. 
Work in progress: a Lion statue I admired in Paris, it finally found it's way to my easel!
Lion Head Statue 11x14 Watercolor ©Shelly Burden
Double matte and framed. $490. Available for purchase at the Tower Gallery until Sept. 25.

 Liberty 11x14 Watercolor ©Shelly Burden
Framed. $450. Available for purchase at the Tower Gallery until Sept. 25.

Though this Statue of Liberty is closer to home, I saw both the lions and the lady while visiting France. She's always a spectacular sight, but was even moreso silhouetted in the Paris moonlight. If I'm able to paint that image worthy of sharing, you'll be the first I'll tell. 
In the meantime enjoy this version and I hope to see you at the Tower show! (Grapevine Tower Building. South Main St)
 Panda. 5x7 Memorial watercolor keepsake. ©Shelly Burden

This delicate cat was so pretty! Besides the signature dark Siamese markings, Panda had lovely rich brown tones that complimented her deep blue eyes perfectly. Although Panda passed away a few years ago she is still very fondly remembered.
Of her Mom's birthday gift, Susan wrote: "Panda looks wonderful...continue to love your work."
 Belle. Hand painted watercolor ornament ©Shelly Burden
Contact me for a portrait of your own. Inquiries welcome.

Michelle shared 1 favorite photo as reference for her friends gift, but she knew what she was doing, it was all I needed to provide her thoughtful keepsake. This 15 year old girl dog has such a pretty, perky look and the slight profile shows Belle's expressive eyes and nuances of her blond tresses perfectly. And the bow? An adorable addition that completes her story.
Michelle observed: "It looks amazing, Peter is going to love his ornament!"
 Ruby 5x7 Watercolor. ©Shelly Burden
"Ruby, now 7, is a tenacious hunter. Even as a puppy by 10-12 weeks she was catching mice. Which is true to her Carrain Terrier nature as they're bred to go in and out of stone walls for small game.
This little girl dogs not only cute, she's athletic & spunky. A real livewire.
"
A birthday gift for her daughter in law, Pat wouldn't tell her curious son why she needed photos, preferring to surprise them both.
Her reaction? "This is great. So interesting to see the progression" then "This is perfect. You've captured Zoe and Archie's personalities perfectly. I love it and I know Tiffany will too."
Archie and Zoe 8x10 Watercolor Keepsake. Done & at home in California.
©Shelly Burden"

"Bull Terriers are very funny, stubborn & lovable. Archie's tan and white and is less than a year old. He's a hard headed little boy but has graduated from puppy school to intermediate classes so we'll see...
Zoe is white with a black patch on her eye and is about 7 years old. Zoe loves to roll in the grass and on walks will take advantage of every grassy spot she finds to roll and flop. When people see her, depending on their age, they compare her to General Patton's dog, Spuds MacKenzie or the Target dog."
Tullie Belle 5x7 Watercolor Keepsake. ©Shelly Burden
"It was a hot summer night in July, 2012, when Tulip luckily made her way to my neighbors driveway. Knowing I had a dog (the beloved Brinkley and an original Sassy Smudges model!), he thought I might be able to help with this 4 mo old pup wandered up to him for a scratching. I walked down the street to his house to put a collar on and leash up Tulip. Clearly that was all new to her as she bucked like a little bronco and didn't know how to walk on a leash! I scooped her up and took her home. 
The next day I got her to sit still long enough to take her picture so I could hang flyers in the neighborhood. My intention was to leave the flyers up for a week to find her rightful owner. I lasted five days and the rest is, as they say, history! She has been a great companion not only to me, but to the aging Brinkle Bear as well. She is funny and wacky and quirky and adorable!" Alison
Looking at photos can tug the heartstrings, especially when finding favorites for a memorial portrait. But the quirky memories they inspire? And the keepsake they provide? Heartwarming.
 5x7 Hermione. Memorial Watercolor ©Shelly Burden. 

 "I had 3 dogs and a cat but Hermione came home and fit right in.
She's been on my lap every time I sit in our house from that day on. She was my Baby.
" Dana
 
Dana's comment? "It's perfect! I knew it would be!"
 This painting has a home, but you can contact me for a keepsake starring your pet. Inquiries always welcomed.
Gemma 11x14 Watercolor ©Shelly Burden.
"Gemma is a West Highland Terrier. She is a typically Terrier, very happy and busy. She is very sweet and loving."
 Carla & Sam. Memorial 11x14 Watercolor ©Shelly Burden
(Get it or Gift it...Contact me for either. Inquiries always welcomed)
 
Carla & Sam's portrait: off to it's new home in Michigan!
Gift giver Brigitte wrote: "Just precious. Thank you so very much! It's wonderful! My friend is going to love it!"
Spot 11x14 Watercolor ©Shelly Burden
"Spot likes soft chewy toys, laying on comfy chairs & taking slow walks (where he's showered with attention from the neighbors & the mailman) Spot is gracious to visitors but only has eyes for his owner Pat."

 Jake 5x7 Memorial. Watercolor on paper. ©Shelly Burden

Jake aka King of the Photo Bomb. A gentle, patient boy who loved peanut butter.
Paul, Anne & Connie 9x12" Graphite portrait ©Shelly Burden

Multiple photos of Anne & her siblings were used to create this keepsake, a 50th Wedding Anniversary gift for their parents.
Anne wrote: "The portrait is amazing! Your ability to "blend" photos is truly a gift." 
Thank you Anne!
Mickey. Memorial. Hand painted watercolor ornament ©Shelly Burden

From her cabin in Arkansas, Diane was still able to give her Texas friend a special gift. All with the click of a mouse...a photo was emailed, the birthday girls address given & when I finished painting this gorgeous ginger I shared the outcome with an image of all packaged to mail. With my own click of a mouse. Now that's my kind of cat and mouse game!
Abbi. Memorial. Hand painted keepsake @Shelly Burden

"Our precious Abbi brightened our lives for more than four years. She was a tremendous blessing who taught us much about unconditional love."
Miss C. 5x7 @Shelly Burden
 Portrait of a youngsters sweet & sassy stage. And something else...a bit of spunk, or mischief perhaps?

Lucy 5x7 Graphite. @Shelly Burden
Little Lucy: showing her expressive dark eyes and soft wavy fur in the timeless quality only a black and white format can achieve.
Jake ornament. @Shelly Burden
 A keepsake showing Jake's friendly, approachable nature.
 When it comes to animals Michelle's known to have a heart as big as Texas...and this little one wrapped it around his paw in no time at all! But look at those eyes, how could she resist?
 
Toby. Watercolor ornament ©Shelly Burden. Commission for Michelle. Smile
(Get it or Gift it...contact me for either. Inquiries always welcomed)
 
 "In August we lost our beloved Miniature Aussie, Dylan. We were left with a hole in our hearts and sadness in our home. So, in late Oct we went to NC to see Dylan’s breeder.  We brought home Toby. Doesn’t he look so sweet in the ornament portrait Shelly did for us? Well looks can be deceiving. For about 2 months I was convinced I brought home the “Tasmanian Devil”!  Toby's now going on 9 months old. He really has turned out to be even sweeter than he looks in the portrait. He loves everyone & everything. He loves to play with & chew on his toys. We feel so very fortunate to have him. Dylan will always hold a special place in our hearts but Toby has claimed his own place. He's once again filled our hearts with love & our home with happiness. I can’t wait until he gets all of his “big boy hair” so I can have Shelly do a portrait of him.
Thanks, Shelly. We love the ornament. It captures perfectly what Toby looked like when he was a little pup. We love it
!" Michelle


Sam. Watercolor ornament ©Shelly Burden. Commission for Mary for her family. Thank you Mary!
"Sam was about a year old when I met him for the first time at a FW shelter. He was mangy and hadn't been cared for but he had the sweetest disposition, as if he had no hard feelings about how he had been treated thus far. He took to our young children right away and was the perfect piece to complete our family. We named him Sambuca but we called him Sam mostly. He loved to chase the polaris around our pool and the airplanes that flew overhead from nearby DFW airport. We used to get such a kick out of him barking & running around the yard, tail wagging as a plane flew overhead...every single time, as if it were the first time. He had one floppy ear that was his most distinguishing characteristic. He really was the sweetest dog and was loved by all. As he got older he loved to lay on your lap and at night he would sometimes sleep with the kids which they loved. He completed our family and will be missed but we feel blessed to have had him for so many years"  Mary
Mary's comment about Sam's ornament: "Omg that looks fantastic!


Cody, Wylie & Brandy 11x14" Watercolor ©Shelly Burden. Susan's gift to her sister Sharon.
(Get it or Gift it...Contact me for either. Inquiries always welcomed)
" Cody's the most amazing & loyal dog, named after a dog (Dakota) from a book called "The Angel By My Side", Cody is my Angel every single day.
We corresponded with Cody's breeder & got 1st pick of the new litter and got Baby Brandy!  She was named after the song "Brandy" ("what a good wife you would be" from 1972).
We thought she'd be a good sister for Cody as we had lost other dogs in between them. Cody actually picked her out, when we went to look at the litter, and she's been a fabulous little sister.
Wylie came when I realized all our animals (plus 2 cats) were aging. I looked and found little Wylie, then drove to Arkansas (with Cody) to pick the little guy up. He'll be a year old on May 24th of this year. Yeah...Happy birthday Wylie!
Wylie has total fun with his sister Brandy, they jump on each other all the time. I think he makes her younger." Sharon
Capturing memories with painted keepsakes. Provide visual reminders of what's special in our lives. It's what I do. Enjoy the outcome!
 Jackson 8x10 Watercolor ©Shelly Burden. Commission from Sarah for her Mom. Thank you Sarah!
 "Jack chose his family one cold night when we walked up to the area where he was, and he was the only pug to run over and make my Mom pick him up. Mom told Dad " Pay up, I'm not leaving without this puppy". He's the sweetest pug in the world. He has a strong personality, loves to be pet and be the center of attention. Loves to go on walks & expects to go out front and get the mail everyday. He also loves to go out back and fall asleep sunbathing. Very spoiled. He's a trooper though, with his one eye. He had to have the other removed due to cataracts, even though he can't see very well and limps around he still expects to be treated the same if not better." Sarah

Dark fur, especially dark faces, can be challenging to photograph. But Ruth Ann & Les knew how to handle that - take the pup into natural light and snap away! (Preferably slightly overcast to avoid a squint hiding your pets mesmerizing eyes)
Add a click of the tongue, some treats and a helper to capture a camera shy pooches attention & you'll get some great images!

Another challenge? Painting dark furry faces, giving texture and form to those gorgeous deep tones. But one I gladly accept!
.
Gracie. Hand painted watercolor ornament ©Shelly Burden
"Cute, energetic & fiercely family loyal you can’t walk by our house without setting her off, she's a great watch dog. She loves her walks, though now as she ages those walks are blocks and not miles. She's content to be in whatever room we are in. Gracie always enjoys toys and we like to serve up a variety. If she isn’t getting attention, she has a way to let us know, though she seems to understand when we need space, too. Now at 13 and slowing with more trips to the vet than we would prefer, we are feeling that bittersweet tug.
So are delighted that we have an image far better than the photographs in terms of capturing our life with Amazing Grace. That is a very big thank you" Les & Ruth Ann


"Loci's very smart,  he doesn't take very long to learn something. He had been very ill a few months ago but with loving care has survived and is back to his old self. He's a very special part of my friend Tamara’s family." Barbara 

Loci. Hand painted watercolor ornament ©Shelly Burden

(Get it or Gift it...email me for either. Inquiries always welcomed)


Barbara wrote: "Wow....you did a great job and I know my friend will love it. Thanks for your beautiful work."
Amanda's photos shared her Sadie girl in action, intent & ready to play. But when I saw this image I knew it was The One. A keepsake I could show her spunk as well as her adoration. Amanda wrote "I am so excited to see her face come alive again in your painting!"


Sadie 5x7 Memorial. Watercolor. ©Shelly Burden
Sassy Smudges story: "Sadie was a little ball of energy at all times. She loved to cuddle but she also loved to play with her sisters. Her favorite time was when I would say the word frisbee...I'd have her full attention, she couldn't wait for me to throw it. All I had to do was say the word and she would go find it and bring it to me ready to go! I would give anything to have a little more time with my sweet girl."  Amanda
Another of Linda's gifts. With Katie's sweet look and lovely tones, she's just gorgeous!

Katie. Hand Painted Ornament ©Shelly Burden
Linda's reaction to her thoughtful gifts? "I love them!" It doesn't get better than that, thank you Linda!


Snickers & Maddie. Hand painted ornaments ©Shelly Burden
Sassy Smudges story:  Aren't they adorable? Speaking of adored family members, gift giver Linda was at it again! Sending the cutest photos, with her comment: "I'd like to commission you to paint more ornaments for me, the one's you painted last year made everyone else in the family want them too!"

I was so pleased to provide her families keepsakes! Delighted to work with Linda and that she chose my work. Again. That people return & refer my business to others is awesome, I truly appreciate the trust and enjoy our shared history. Contact me to inquire about your keepsake.