Friday, February 1, 2013

@ArtCasso and Kitty-Casso: Painting With Pets Giveaway~ 1/24

It's no secret that we treat our pets just like children in our home. With no actual kidlings running around, the four legged terrors reign supreme. While I don't consider myself on the extreme end of the spectrum, I've been known to find non-traditional activities to share in with my pets. However I can whip up a home cooked meal for Nora just as soon as I will scoop a portion of kibble into her bowl. That is to say that I don't necessarily seek out crazy and unique Pet activities, but am certainly intrigued when one comes up. Somewhere out there is a Pinterest album of 'someday' tricks and treats I'd love to share with my furry kids. In the mean time, I'd like to give you a peak at one of the more unique activities I've engaged in recently; painting with my pets.
When Artcasso contacted my last Spring (yes, I know, it's been ages but there was a death and a move and yadda-yadda), I was intrigued by the concept. Of course the first thing that comes to mind when one hears 'pet' and 'paint' in the same phrase is splattered walls and paw prints on the ceiling. I was ready to nix the idea right out of the gate, but I wandered on over to their website to take a better look at just how Pup-Casso and Kitty-Casso worked. The secret was in the patented 'paint shields' they included with each art kit. Essentially these are thick, clear, plastic drapes that go beneath and atop the canvas. Simply Suirt some of the included paint (or paints of your own choosing) on the canvas and top with the Paint Shield. Then use treats or toys to coax your pet through interaction, thus smearing the paint and creating a masterpiece (in theory).
I received a Mug-Casso kit for dogs and a Kitty-Casso kit for cats, both with identical components, save one was a rounded canvas for a tumbler sleeve, and the other a traditional paint canvas. There were 3 blank canvases in each kit, along with Red, Yellow, Blue, White, and Black tubes of paint. Unfortunately, right off we had issues. I'm not sure if I waited to long to use the kits (though one would hope this gift would have longer than a 5 month shelf life), or if this was an old formula of paints- but they were thick. Some of the tubes, though completely sealed prior had seized beyond movement; even water would not coax them to use. This left us with 2.5 colors on Nora's Mug-Casso. Seeing as the usable paint was also exceptionally thick, we could do little more than glob it on to the canvas in several spots. I should note, I've seen several customer photos on the Art-Casso website and Facebook page that indicate this is not the norm. I'm also sure the company would have been glad to send us a replacement kit- but the 'kids' were already amped up, and I was determined to get these done for Christmas gifts.
Nora is used to having playtime outside, or with other dogs. She observes an 'indoor' attitude that is very calm and docile; most of her indoor play consists of persistent chewing and gnawing on ropes and toys.While this 4.5lb dog was the perfect size for the Mug-Casso canvas, she didn't want to move and kept sitting her bum down. Recall, the paint was exceptionally thick, and with her limited movement and weight, this was not much of a success. I ended up letting Sabrina (10) 'help' Nora paint. The look on Nora's face as Sabrina was mock painting with her paws was worth a laugh or two. When all was said and done I wondered how dogs on the opposite end of the size spectrum would fare with this project. More weight could mean great paint distribution in just a few steps, but the paint Shield is heavy duty yet limited in size. While it greatly overlaps the canvas, one backwards paw from a Medium to Large breed dog, in excitement, could pull the entire shield back, I'd imagine. It's my opinion these kits are best suited for pets 5-15lbs, or for use with a larger drop cloth beneath.
We let Frankie try out the Kitty-Casso kit, which included the same 3 Canvas papers, 3 Paint Shields, 5 Color Paint tubes, and a complimentary black 'frame', to display your pet's best work. The frame is what we ended up gifting Frankie's masterpiece to Jeremy in, for Christmas, but let's face it, having a canvas of your pet's art on the fridge is worth just as many hoots. Frankie was a little more 'workable' than Nora had been. He tried to run at first, thinking he was in trouble (since we don't support cats on the dining table), but quickly changed his tune when food was introduced into the scenario. Kitty-Casso had also included a catnip toy to play with, in hopes of inciting some action, though Frankie was most content to follow the kibble's every move. Again, the paint in this kit was thick, we made a usable set by combining the best colors from both kits, overall, but I plan on using the extra canvases with our own acrylic paints soon. While gifting a complete kit is a bonus, some may want to use their own colors anyway- a small tube of paint can be purchased for around $.50 at the local craft store.
Based on our experiences I have a few tips. Artcasso includes 3 Paint Shields and 3 Canvases with each kit. I highly suggest using one of the three shields beneath your canvas to protect whatever surface you are creating on from run off, or accidental kickbacks that may see the paint shield peeled up. Don't expect to see paw prints on the canvas, the paint does not actually touch your pet's paws, and the plastic barrier tends to mute/squish the movements and impressions from your pet's weight. This is much more an abstract work of art meant to be tied to memories of you and your pet, not a literal masterpiece. Don't be afraid to go light and use minimal splotches of paint/color. You may find more character and recognition from lighter movements and smears.
pet art
In all, I loved the outcome of our Kitty-Casso masterpiece. We helped out a little, but Frankie is certainly visible in the smudges and smears of paint. The included frame has a kick out stand for easy display and is of a good quality for such. The kits are fairly affordable, making them wonderful gifts for pet lovers, or the simply curious pet owner. Kids will certainly want to get involved, though you'll need extra protection when completing this project around children, because pets are likely to become more riled around children. Of course Artcasso has many other kids for the non-furry, so be sure to visit them and check out what they have for memorable gifts year-round.

One reader will win a Pup-Casso or Kitty-Casso Kit AND a Mug-Casso Kit!

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  1. I like the Mug-Casso™ Art Kit and I would use it with my cat Napoleon

  2. Mug-Casso Art Kit to share with my dog, Puppy.

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  3. I'd like to get the Kitty-Casso and I don't know who I'd pick 1st, my Barkerman is most likely to stick around and do it, but my lillia has a handicap where she spins when she gets excited (she lives a healthy happy life), but I think she could make something really cool.(Raine on RC)

  4. I would use the Pup Casso with my yellow lab, Tango.

  5. Kitty-Casso™ Art Kit - would use it with my ornery cat Mo
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