By Guest Blogger Missy Johnson
Each of us is an individual with our own thoughts, ideas and passions. Seldom do we discover that these passions for a "cause" can be the start of a new direction in our lives. I am one of those people who made that discovery. Some called me a "crazed animal activist" simply because I wanted to do something that brought no monetary rewards, but exposed and promoted the work of animals rescue and shelters across the nation. I am not a celebrity or a public figure, just a regular person who had a passion for an idea that began from watching a movie, scribbling on a piece of paper, and a love for animals. I rescued and adopted a special dog that I have loved for the past 10 years. That experience brought me to be a volunteer for a rescue group, many years later.
I am a professional graphic designer and illustrator. I wanted to do something with my art that would be engaging and also help to promote the dedicated effort that rescue and shelter people make, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This idea began in September of 2009. October and November are national adoption months so I planned to kick off this project then. For the past couple of years, I had wanted to get back to painting pet portraits. Everyone loves pet art. I decided to challenge myself and paint 80 rescue dogs' portraits and include the stories of their rescue, in 80 days.
I work full time, so would have to do all of this at night, after work and during weekends. I decided to send out an email to all my rescue friends and see who might submit a dog to participate in my project. I wrote a simple press release, introduced my plans for the project, added the logo on a letterhead type email and sent it out. I received 35 submissions that first week. Knowing the work a pet portrait can take, I painted all the portraits 8"x 9". This way they wouldn't take too long to paint. Well, that was the understatement of the year! I never considered the amount of painting and the detail work required, to make each dog look the way I wanted him or her to look. I got a good start, but the 80 days I had planned to paint became 90 days, and day by day ‘til it ended at 503 days.
Check back tomorrow for how Missy made this dream come true and what her vision spawned!