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I guess it was rather overambitious to think that I would be able to build - in one day - at least 5 new pages on my website, 5 pages containing dog-a-day paintings that are looking for new homes. ll that while also having a quality day with my family.

Looks like I'll get some help from Mother Nature tomorrow, though. We are under a winter weather advisory tonight, with a projected 8 inches of snow and sleet accumulating by the morning. That boils down to the possibility of some serious sledding weather, and those of you who know me, know I don't do cold.

So there is the distinct possibility that I may have a few uninterrupted hours to myself tomorrow while everyone, the dog included, frolics in the snow.

Then again, the weatherman could be entirely off. :)

I thought I might share one of my new still life paintings, part of an idea I've been simmering here. I've been collecting old dog figurines - plastic, lead, celluloid - along some vintage toys, all dog-related. Par…
I am continually working behind the scenes here. I am migrating data into a new accounting system, along with the integration of a new mailing list management program. I've also been reorganizing closets and storage space in the studio, and preparing some canvases for a few new paintings, along with trying to tie up all the loose ends that got neglected during this last holiday rush.

Oh yeah - and I finished a couple other pieces for the Art Show at the Dog Show. I will send my entries off tomorrow.

Today I published a new page to my partially re-vamped website that includes all the holiday dog-a-day paintings that I was unable to post because they were surprises. You can view the paintings at http://www.turtledovedesigns.com/paintingadogaday/2007_holiday_surprise_dog_a_day_paintings.html .

Tomorrow I hope to have a new page dedicated to the dog-a-day paintings that remain unsold.

I also will begin planning the layout of a dog-a-day installation that will hang at the Orion Townsh…
I haven't posted in the last week, but I have been busy in the studio. I installed a new accounting program, have been slowly revamping my websites, got through the stack of paperwork on my desk (which was quite a feat, if you could have seen my desk!), finished a larger portrait, and got considerable work done on two others. And I've also been working on my entries for next years' Art Show at the Dog Show in Wichita, Kansas.

For those of you unfamiliar with this exhibition, it is the only juried art show in the United States that is devoted exclusively to canine art. You can see several years' history of the award winning pieces on line at http://www.artshowatthedogshow.com/. And while I have had work in the exhibition, I have not won a prize. To date. I remain an optimist.

So one of my goals this last week has been to develop new pieces for this show, and I have plenty of beautiful source material thanks to the dog-a-day project. I've gotten two paintings completed…
Today has been unusually productive. I've gotten three stellar little paintings completed, all for the same client, and all as holiday gifts. This leaves me with only two dog-a-day paintings left pre-holiday, and those I am awaiting reference photos on. Oh, and I do have one other large canvas that I have been slowly working on - but he's not due till shortly after the holiday.

Since October 1st I've completed 77 dog-a-day paintings, and 5 larger stretched canvases. That includes a week off for my brother's wedding, and another break for the AKC Eukanaba National Dog Show Championships earlier this month. I guess you could say I've been a little bit crazed.

But this means that starting tomorrow I can actually kick back, take a deep breath, and maybe even get to meet a girlfriend or two for adult conversation and sustenance of some sort. Oh yeah, and I get to do Christmas shopping (and wrapping), start holiday baking (mmmm, homemade biscotti), and catch up on other h…
"Samson," 6x8, commissioned cat portrait, acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!).

This painting started out being about the background pattern - Klimpt-ish in nature. And then I stretched it into the fur, and allowed it to slowly take over everything but the eyes. And then I took a serious look at the painting, and it was no longer about the cat, but the pattern. Poor Samson had taken a back seat. I couldn't allow that.

So once the glazes dried, I repainted his fur, and Samson was back in all his glory. You can still pick out bits of the pattern if you look really closely.

But now the painting has a strong focal point - those yellow-green eyes. There's no battle going on between them and anything else.

Thanks, as always, for looking.
And for forwarding these messages to your friends and family,
Talk to you tomorrow,
Kim

Kimberly Kelly Santini
http://www.turtledovedesigns.com/
distinctive pet portraits
& 4-legged paintings

http://www.paintingadogaday.com/
come…
"Mop Head (Poiret)," 4x5, commissioned teacup poodle portrait, acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!).

Talk about having a good time - I really should have photographed this piece as it progressed. The canvas was originally all a dark violet, like what you see between Poiret's eyes, and I gradually built up the layers of paint, adding lavendars, pinks, periwinkle and some teal. I used glazes to push some areas of his fur back, and then went in with looser lighter brushwork to pull bits of his fur forward.

I had even more fun because I was trying out some new brushes, experimenting with their spring and shape. I am really hard on my brushes, so historically have bought cheap ones that don't hold their shape so well. I learned today that proper tools make a world of difference in the sort of brushwork I can lay down, and how quickly I can do it, too. And despite scrubbing to my hearts' content, these brushes have held up and are ready for more abuse …
"Tortie Kitten," 4x5, tortoiseshell kitten portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, $105. $21 from the purchase of this painting will go to the Oakland Pet Fund (http://www.oaklandpetfund.org/) - you can read more about their mission to eliminate euthanasia from Oakland County shelters by 2010 at their website. I am proud to support their efforts through the Painting a Dog a Day project - inquiries about purchasing this piece may come to me at ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com .

This is a Spice Girl kitty. Her mother was picked up as a stray along with a litter of kittens, and when we were at the shelter last week, there were 3 babies left and momma. Each kitten was named after a spice, and I cannot remember if this one was Ginger or Clove. But I loved her markings, and how one side of her face was markedly lighter and oranger than the other.


And I promised you a bonus painting, too, as this week was a short one (at least for me). Hence the brindled sharpei mix,a tender size at 4x6. T…
"Shepherd Mix Pup," 6x12, puppy portrait in acrylic on canvasboard. Proceeds from the sale of this painting will go to the Oakland Pet Fund, dedicated to turning Oakland County (http://www.oaklandpetfund.org/) into a euthanasia free community by 2010.

This pup's tag said she was 2 years old, yet her scrawny build led one to believe she was much younger than that. She had an honest and earnest face, the sort of dog that devotes itself to its family. I hope that she finds one by the year's end.

She was only one of dozens of dogs waiting to be adopted, and twice as many cats. It was so tough going into that shelter, knowing that we couldn't take them all home with us. Not even one. (Well, at least not last week.) You can view her and the other animals in waiting at www.oakgov.com/anmlctrl. .

Adoption isn't the only way you can help out. Consider donating your time. Picking up an extra cat toy or two. Or donating old leashes, collars, and blankets. Together we ca…
"Ole Blue Eye," 8" square, mixed breed dog portrait, acrylic on canvasboard, $180. $36 from the sale of this portrait will be donated to the Oakland Pet Fund (http://www.oaklandpetfund.org/), an organization dedicated to turning Oakland County Michigan into a no more homeless pets community by 2010.

This is a sweet lab and border collie mix that was at the Oakland Pet Adoption Center (248-391-4100) last week - his expression was so endearing. Even crated, he appeared gentle, although very energetic. And peering from the depths of his crate, that one blue eye glowed with anticipation. A game of frisbee, perhaps? Or just a good ear scratch.

He got the ear scratching.

And with some luck he'll also get a new forever home for the holidays.

As with my other paintings, this piece is available for purchase to the first buyer. Email inquiries may come to ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com .

Any commissions booked during December 2007 of animals adopted from the Oakland Pet Adoption C…
ARTIST'S NOTE: I framed this piece up exquisitely, and sent it to the Starkweather Gallery for their Members Show. The painting was one of the first sales of the show. I wish the purchasers many years of enjoyment with this kitty."Calico," 8"x16" (this is a small painting, yet is larger than lifesize!), $300. $60 from the purchase price of this piece will go to the Oakland Pet Fund, an organization dedicated to making Oakland County Michigan euthanasia free by 2010. Learn more about their mission at http://www.oaklandpetfund.org/ . SOLD.

I wanted to give this dear little cat a better title, given the healing that she supplied me with last week (read November 28th's post on this blog, the one with the brittany portrait), but nothing came to me that didn't sound hokey or fake. So I decided to keep it simple, and titled it for both the background and her markings.

Yes, this is the calico who, in her own way, helped my son and I come to better terms with the …
I cannot begin to tell you what a fantastic weekend it was. I left early Friday morning and boarded a plane to California for the AKC Eukanaba National Championships Dog Show, returning lat last night. The entire weekend was phenomenal.

The dogs were stellar, all primped and primed for their moment, and the AKC staff went out of their way to make me comfortable (thank you!). The show participants generously allowed me to take as many photos as I liked (well over 500!), and the public who stopped by for their own signed copy of the commemmorative poster were eager to share their own stories. I even met several dog-a-day readers, which was a wonderful treat!

And, for those of you who have been patiently waiting, signed posters are available for purchase online, through the American Kennel Club website. Posters are $25 (which includes shipping), and those funds go directly to Take the Lead, a non-profit benefitting those 2-legged folk at the other end of the leash. I am especially p…
"Filmore," 6x12, commissioned pet portrait, mixed breed (greyhound) dog painting in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!).

I love the soft light that's falling on this gentle dog's head. And how the shape of the piece mirrors his profile. It's a quiet and contemplative painting.

Sort of the exact opposite of the kind of day I had, packing up and getting ready to head to the AKC/Eukanaba National Championships tomorrow. I will not be posting any paintings until next Tuesday due to the trip, but if time allows, I may pop in and give you an update. Let you know how my poster unveiling goes, and show you some of the imagery that will be inspiring future dog-a-day paintings.

For those of you in the Long Beach, California area, I will be at the AKC booth from 10-2 on Saturday and Sunday. I would love to meet you!

Don't forget, too, that next week is Animal Welfare Week (formerly called Shelter & Rescue Week), where I'll be profiling adoptable …
"Brittany Study (Bud)," 6" square, commissioned pet portrait, acrylic dog painting depicting a brittany spaniel, private collection (THANK YOU!).

When my client first contacted me last summer about painting Bud, she was a little hesitant. Bud was the dog she had grown up with, and finding photos was going to be a chore. COuld i work from old polaroids and other scanned images? of course! She came through with a handful of beautiful, albeit faded, photos, most taken in natural lighting. I was able to paint a portrait for her to give her mother from those. I cannot wait to hear of her family's reaction on Christmas morning, for even after all these years, Bud has a hold of them all.

This has been a week full of rumination on the power of these sweet souls. How they tag our hearts for a lifetime, and leave us in their gentle wake.

My oldest son and I visited the Oakland Pet Adoption Center today to shoot reference photos of adoptable animals for profiling during next week…
"German Shepherd Study (Cujo)," 6" square, commissioned pet portrait, acrylic painting of a german shepherd on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!).

Today's painting is another one packed with vibrant color. I am searching to find that perfect balance between color harmony and oversaturation. This piece works well in that regard - when I squint down at it, the values all read properly.

And when I open my eyes back up, I can't help myself - I grin right back at Cujo.

The Landscape 75 international show at the Richeson Gallery and School of Art in Wisconson has gone online - you can view my painting there, in some excellent company, at http://www.richeson75.com/ . It's not too hard to pick out which one came from my studio (although it IS NOT a dog!). I've been told that People's Choice voting will be online soon. Not that I'm suggesting anything......

I am also getting ready for my trip to the AKC/Eukanaba National Championship Dog Show later …
"Dashing Daphne," 8x10, commmissioned pet portrait, acrylic grayhound painting on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!).

I needed a smiling face to paint today, and Daphne fit the bill to a T. The exhuberance and delight in her face flowed directly onto my palette, and influenced my color choices.

I started by toning the canvas a wonderful apple green, and then sketched Daphne's form in overtop it while still wet. Painting quickly at first, so that I could lift that green and mix it into my shadows, was liberating. Then, after that first layer dried, I went in with glazes of violets and pinks and blues, building the sense of light, and carefully defining my edges.

Even though my reference photo was crisp, I wanted to capture that sense of movement - so only Daphne's face has crisp edges, while the rest of the painting seems to fade away. I also pushed her body further from the viewer's eye back into the picture plane by graying the shadows out, instead of mai…
"Turtledove," 8x8, calico pet portrait painting, acrylic on canvasboard, collection of the artist.

I spent the bulk of Thanksgiving day trying to remind myself how blessed my family is in so many ways, but it was so very difficult, because it was also Turtle's last day.

Turtledove was a rescued kitty Rick and I adopted shortly after we got married and moved cross-country to California (oh so many years ago). Scarred with cigarette burns and nameless other hurts, she was understandably fearful of strangers, but oddly trusted the two of us unconditionally right from the start. We chose her as a companion for our spoiled black cat, Miah, who was alone for the first time in her short life all day long.

Turtle befriended Miah, and wormed her way into everyone else's hearts too. She became my muse right from the start, and then the studio's namesake years later..

We buried her underneath the maple tree, the one that shelters our home, stretching far beyond the roof's c…
"Blissful (Chicklet)," 6" x 12", commissioned pet portrait, mixed breed, private collection (THANK YOU!).

Chicklet was the perfect candidate for my Thanksgiving painting. She arrived at a veterinary hospital on behalf of an animal shelter, having been found wandering the streets and in need of medical care. No wonder. Poor thing wasn't suffering from an upper respiratory infection, as originally thought, but rather from a chronic sinus infection due to teeth that had rotted through her jaw bone. One of the attending nurses fell in love, and adopted Chicklet as soon as the waiting period had ended.

Chicklet has arthritis in her back end, a large hernia on her stomach, liver disease, no remaining teeth, and recently has gone blind in one eye. Despite her ailments, she remains happy and thankful for each moment. She dances for her food, chases cats when given the chance, and loves whatever slice of life she has left (estimates put her at 13-15 years old).

My client, …
"Goin' for a Ride (Molly)," 6x8, commissioned pet portrait, mixed breed (chow), private collection (thank you!).

I was especially moved by the letter that came with my client's stack of reference materials. She outlined the details of Molly's life - found wandering on a golf course, and moved from one household to another, ultimately landing in theirs at 9 months of age. The only child in a military family, Molly moved many times, leaving multiple friends in her wake, and eager to make new ones. When she passed away last year at the age of 10, she was mourned literally all over the country. She was special and wonderful to so very many.

And Molly's spirit continues impacting lives.

Because, with the purchase of Molly's portrait, monies raised for Best Friends Animal Sanctuary officially topped $1000!! Overall, the Painting a Dog a Day project has raised $1653 for animal welfare - that's a lot of kibble!!

I am so thrilled that you, my readers, have support…
"Caoba," 8x10, commissioned pet portrait, acrylic on canvasboard, private collection.



"Molly," 8x10, commissioned pet portrait, acrylic on canvasboard, same private collection.

Each of these paintings is of a rescue - both hailing from Florida's Labrador Retriever Rescue. I can vouch for the sincere happiness behind the eyes of each of today's models. You can read more about their efforts at http://www.labradorrescue.net/.

Each of these paintings is dripping with luscious color. Coaba has greens and violets, and Molly is saturated with blues and pinks.

I noticed today when I was painting that I was subconsciously using a technique I've been practicing in my class - that of modelling with my brushwork. I'm using a bright, about a 1/4 to 1/2" wide, and by angling and changing the amount of pressure and direction, I'm able to lay down a variety of shapes in one brushstroke. This can be powerful if I have the brush loaded up with the correct color …
2 paintings again today. They are sisters - can't you see the resemblance?!



"Mocha," 4x5, daschund pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard.

"Tortie in Shadows (Neki)," 4x8, tortoiseshell kitten portrait in acrylic on canvasboard.

I wasn't on the ball enough today to get these paintings over to my client in time for her approval, so I do not know if they have been sold. Inquiries on either may come to ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com.

Hard to believe another week's flown by.
Thanks, as always, for looking.
And for sharing these paintings with your friends and family,
Enjoy your weekends!
Kim

Kimberly Kelly Santini
http://www.turtledovedesigns.com/
distinctive pet portraits
& 4-legged paintings

http://www.paintingadogaday.com/
come. sit. stay.
enjoy the art.

Founding member of the Canine Art Guild
http://www.canineartguild.com/
the gateway to canine art on the web
"Red Tick Coon Dog (Scout)," 6" square, commissioned pet portrait on canvasboard. Thank you to Scout's Mom, who will be sneaking this painting into Dad's stocking next month.

I received a number of inquiries in the last few days about where I find my inspirations and how I keep going. Besides in all the faces and personalities I get to profile and a daily dose of coffee, I find them everywhere around me.
The golden maple leaves dancing right outside my kitchen window. My kids' first smile each day (which comes hopefully before their first tear). The sound of a dear friend's voice on the phone. The way Finnigan's nubbin of a tail glides underneath his skin. The purr of my black cat, not just the sound, but the feel of it against my chest. The smell of a wet painting. I'm sure we all have triggers that keep us going - those are just a few. I make sure I am surrounded by handfuls of them, all the time. And for those days when it's tough to get into…

THe Dog Tag Series - "Green Tags #1"

"Green Tags #1," 4" x 8", dog tag still life painting, acrylic on canvasboard, $135. Inquiries to ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com .
SOLD.
I had a lot of momentum going after finishing up a larger portrait today, and started rifling through the tags I have filed. I pulled out these green ones, strung them together, and did this little painting.

Now I think I might head up to my jewelry box to find my old bracelet with the cat charm. While not a dog tag, it will make for a tender little painting.... I'll also assign the kids to toy duty when they get off the bus, and have them collect all their little plastic 4-legged critters for inclusion in a painting.

My brain simply won't stop. I think perhaps I need to pour myself a glass of wine and try to unwind!!
See you tomorrow,
Kim

Kimberly Kelly Santini
http://www.turtledovedesigns.com/
distinctive pet portraits
& 4-legged paintings

http://www.paintingadogaday.com/
come. sit. stay.
enjoy the art.

Founding member of the Cani…
This is Tina, several portraits of her.


The more traditional one featuring her face. "Tina," 4x5, commissioned chow pet portrait, acrylic on canvasboard, private collection.

And a still life comprised of her dog tags strung together from that now familiar nail in my studio wall. "Tina's Tags," 4x8, still life composition built of dog tags and licenses, acrylic on canvasboard, private collection.

My client contacted me mid-summer about painting a traditional portrait of Tina shortly after having to say goodbye to her dear girl. The earliest I could schedule Tina was this week, which happened to be that of her 12th birthday. Karma at work.

The dog tags came along several months after the portrait was scheduled, shortly after I announced my intention to paint canine related still lives. I held the tags in my hand, and knew there were two portraits to paint.

I need to send a special thank you and hugs to my client, who despite expecting just the one painting, has embr…
"Bailey (Border Collie Study)," 6x8, commissioned border collie pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!).

I enjoyed painting Bailey's face - the expressive eyes in that vast white mask framed by dark ears.

With all the color around her (pool in background, and greenery and brickwork at her feet), there was a lot of bounce happening. I imagined the scene in my head, her entire body, and how it fit into her surroundings. There was light bouncing from the water, carrying teal up into the shadows. There also was the orange of the pavers glinting off her lower jowls. And some green picked up in her chin. And because my light source was yellow filtered by leaves (green), the shadows carried a lot of blue and violet.

If you spend some time studying real objects (not photographs), you'll start to notice some of the things I've mentioned above. That nothing exists completely on it's own - it picks up color and light from it's surroundin…
Yes, you read it right. Painting multiples makes it feel like a parade of sorts. There are all these faces streaming through the studio, and while it's a lot of fun, it's also taxing at times.

I have depleted my Twix stash and have resorted to frozen peanut butter cookies. Finn doesn't seem to mind that at all - his favorite spot of late is curled up at my feet in the studio. He has mastered snatching cookie crumbs midair, from a deep sleep no less. Wish I had those sorts of reflexes!

But I digress.

Here are two of today's faces that I can share without spoiling any holiday surprises. Brother and sister, Sophie & Oliver. I like how the light emanates from Sophie's smile, and when her painting is set alongside Olivers, that glow seems to be what illuminates his face. They are just as nice a pairing in paint as they are in real life.



"Sophie", 4x5, and "Oliver," 4x6, commissioned pet portraits in acrylic on canvasboard, both in a private collectio…
"Spirit (Golden Retriever Study)," 8x10, commissioned pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (or so I believe - I haven't heard back from my client yet).

Spirit was a gentle, intelligent, loving dog, the sort who seemed to draw people to her with the warmth of her grin and the wagging exhuberance of her tail. She competed in obedience, flyball, agility, and field work, excelling at everything. .

She became a Paws With a Cause dog with only 2 weeks of training. Spirit did literally hundreds of programs and presentations for PAWS, introducing the public to the benefits of assistance/service dogs. She worked with prospective clients considering getting their own PAWS dog, and even performed as a PAWS loaner dog for folks in between service dogs of their own.

Spirit touched the lives of all who knew her, and is still deeply missed. I hope that my portrait brings back a glimmer of her wise old soul.

Thanks, as always, for taking the time to look at my painting…
“Violet,” 6x8, commissioned PAWS service dog portrait depicting a black lab, private collection (THANK YOU!!!)

It might seem cliché, but of course, Violet’s portrait had to be Violet. And it started out that way, but slid back into my familiar range of blues.

She does have a wonderfully pensive look about her though, one that I was afraid I might lose if I went back into the painting and tried to change things.

Violet was headed towards life as a service dog, and then got redirected. She now is a representative of PAWS, making public appearances, and generally serving as an advocate for the organization.

Did I say earlier this week what a privilege it is to work with a group like PAWS With a Cause? Please take a couple of minutes to view their site – http://www.pawswithacause.org/ – and learn more about their mission and how they achieve it.

Meanwhile, I need to thank a new collector (I’ll keep your name secret, since your painting is a gift!) for their purchase of a painting from my studi…
“Thank You (Josie),” 6x8, yellow lab Paws With a Cause foster puppy portrait, $180. $36 from the sale of this painting will be donated to Paws With a Cause (www.pawswithacause.org). Inquiries may come to ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com (I am waiting to hear back from Josie’s foster mom – she gets first dibs on this painting).

Josie is a Paws With a Cause foster puppy who recently graduated from foster care, and began her advanced training. That means her foster family no longer has the joy of her company. Her foster mom shared with me her thoughts and emotions about the year she shared with Josie, and as I read them (all teary eyed, I must warn you), I thought of what sort of reply Josie would have. Hence the title of this painting.

I give you the following with Josie’s foster mother’s permission:

“….She came to me as a soft, unbelievably cute puppy, warm, sweet and smelling of puppy breath. Within five minutes, she wet on the floor. In the next year, she stole my heart….

Josie and I went …
ARTIST'S NOTE NOVEMBER 6th: I reworked Quito's portrait - scroll down to see the changes!



“Quito,” black lab PAWS puppy, 6x8, acrylic on canvasboard. Quito is another Paws With a Cause puppy-in-training. This painting is the result of a gift certificate given to Quito’s foster parents (yes, I offer gift certificates!).

I had thought Quito’s painting was done prior to my leaving for class tonite. However, when I returned home and saw it with fresh eyes, I recognized some needed changes. But, I still had an obligation to share a daily painting with you (and not enough time to make those changes and get the piece posted!). So take a peek at tonite’s attachment, and see if you might be able to anticipate what I will be repainting.

I wish that everything I painted was perfect the first time around, but I make a heck of a lot of mistakes. That’s how I learn. There are many paintings that never see the light of day, and that’s important for those of you who are artists to understand – i…
“Aussie,” 6x8, lab Paws With a Cause puppy portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, $180. $36 from the sale of this painting will be returned to PAWS. Additionally, any commissioned dog-a-day portraits of PAWS dogs will result in a 20% donation back to the parent organization. Inquiries can always come to ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com . SOLD.

Aussie is currently being fostered by a volunteer with Paws With a Cause. Paws With a Cause is an organization that serves people with disabilities through service dogs. You can learn much more about their mission, programming, and how to get involved, by visiting their website: http://www.pawswithacause.org/ .

PAWS breeds their own dogs, primarily because of the investment in each one for a specific job. There is no leeway for health issues that could be prevalent in a shelter or rescue dog. Particularly since each service dog is headed for a lifetime of responsibility.

Puppies are sent to foster homes, where they are socialized, complete obedience tra…