Jeanne's history as a multi-media artist gives her an eye for detail not usually found in greeting cards. She has now brought her talents into the world of dog photography.
PAWS A MOMENT actually began in 1985 when Jeanne Heilman began sending Christmas cards featuring her dogs. Since Jeanne is a professional artist, each annual card had to be more technically advanced than that of the year before. By 1989, she was getting requests from people she didn't know asking to be on her list!
She decided then to try to go commercial. With five Christmas cards and four everyday cards she entered a small local art fair -- and sold out. She also found a group requesting to represent her in California.
Now she is in 45 states and in such prestigious locations as Washington's Kennedy Center. Jeanne has received over 300 fan letters including a letter from Michael Crawford saying that her "Phantom of the Opera" is on his door and commenting "I hope to Heaven he can't sing."
Someone apparently sent some of her cards featuring Springer Spaniels to first lady, Barbara Bush, who wrote that she found the cards "wonderful stress relievers." Jeanne felt honored indeed! In 1996, September Films of London filmed Jeanne's work as part of a show called Hollywood Pets for telecast in Europe. What started as a local enterprise using just her dogs has become a full-time job involving the photographing of many breeds and international recognition.
She is now printing from an ever-increasing reservoir of images numbering nearly 180 and encompassing 45 different breeds of dogs and even some cats.
Jeanne Heilman was born in Peru and spent her early years in mining camps as the daughter of an American mining engineer and his wife, who were on assignment in South America. She remembers that there were few children to play with so that her main friends became a monkey and a llama. Thus she began a lifelong relationship with animals.
When Jeanne reached school age, her family returned to the United States and settled on a farm in Littleton, Colorado. There she was still able to keep her love for animals and her unique ability to relate to them. Almost wistfully, Jeanne remembers training a rooster to ride on the handlebar of her bicycle and teaching her duck to hold flowers in its bill. "Retrospectively, I think that was the beginning of my career, though, of course, I didn't know it at the time."
As she moved into her high school years, Jeanne's interests in more traditional forms of art emerged. She earned her degree in Fine Arts. Then Jeanne moved to Los Angeles where, continuing her education, she received a degree in Interior Design. When she discovered that Interior Design focused more on sales than art, she elected to further her art studies at Otis-Parson School of Art and Design.
It is not surprising that Jeanne soon became involved in the processes of printing, painting and etching wildlife.
Opportunity and her long established love of animals led her to take several trips to Africa where she mastered the art of animal photography. The combination of skills were now in place that finally led to the development of the truly unique PAWS A MOMENT greeting cards.