Downtown Festival and Art Show


Gainesville, Florida



Jane Billman
Gregg Billman
8025 SW 103rd Ave
Gainesville FL 32608

(352) 258-2524
(352) 495-2787

Show Schedule

Martini Pup Paintings make Big Splash at Art Festival

Alligator Writer

Visitors to this weekend's 25th Annual Downtown Festival and Art Show react to local artist Jane Billman's "Yorkshire Terrier" in a martini glass painting. Jane Billman's art exhibition has traveled across the nation.

Jane Billman's "Wolf" has that come-hither stare. The Wolf's furry crossed paws hold an olive, and her blue eyes look out past the martini glass she's resting in.

Not all of Jane's paintings look like this: Some of the pets look happy and others hold tennis balls in their mouths. Almost all of their tongues hang limply and most sit in big martini glasses.

Jane Billman and her husband, Gregg, showcased their paintings of pets in martini glasses, among other pieces, at the 25th Annual Downtown Festival and Art Show in the streets of downtown Gainesville last weekend. More than 200 other artists displayed their work.

Jane Billman has been painting the martini pets for about five years. Her first martini dog was a Yorkie with perked-up orange ears and light grey fur. "The idea came randomly," she said. "I wanted to make something whimsical. The Yorkie spoke to me."

Jane was pleased with the first piece and continued to create variations. Her next subject was the Wolf. "The Wolf's kind of flirty," Jane said. "She is a little tease."

Jane Billman continued the paintings, adding in different pets, different expressions and different personalities. Once she started, people began to request Jane to paint their pet. "All these other doggies started jumping into the glasses, too," she said, laughing.

More than 50 variations later, Jane Billman still paints the pieces. Though she said she doesn't like to look at clocks, she said she could spend 200 hours on one painting.

Most of her martini paintings follow the same style: a martini glass, filled with a translucent liquid, sits in front of green and yellow palms. The animal stands in the glass, its paws balancing like salt on the rim.

Jane Billman accepts requests from buyers as to what they want their painting to look like. They can choose the breed of dog or cat, the background scenery and even olive or no olive. Some of the animals have tennis balls or unbrellas, and some sit in glasses of red wine.

Jane Billman doesn't like to just paint the animals - she said she needs to know their personalities. She asks custom buyers to send her pet photos and anecdotes. "You can't just paint a dog," she said. "You have to know them and feel their personality."

Jane and her husband have spent many years on the road, stopping at art shows across the country. Their children - Chris and Jenny, both UF pharmacy students - were both born on the road, she said.

Most of the paintings don't have names other than the pet featured in them, but several are named especially by Jane Billman. A couple of pictures are called "Party Pugs" or "Party Shar-pei," and paintings she has done of dachshunds are called "Marteenie Weenies."


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