Paintings With Soul

Since October 2006 I've been a daily painter, creating a new pet portrait at least 5 times per week. Over the years I've expanded my offerings to include a variety of animals, pets, race horses, children and other treasured heirlooms. In addition, I accept a limited number of commissions each year.

In 2015 I am honored to be the Kentucky Derby Artist.

You may use the links below right to receive my daily paintings via email or to follow my blog with a feed. I post additional info, including in-process jpgs and other related information, on the studio Facebook page as well.

Meanwhile, thanks
so much for your continued support of my artwork.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

“Vizsla Eyes,” 6” x 8”, dog portrait in acrylic on canvasboard. Inquiries can come to .

Today’s painting is all about the gaze. I learned recently from an old family friend that even as a youngster (7 or 8 years old), I was fascinated with capturing the life and energy in the eyes. To me it remains a challenge even to this day – I need to see the spirit of the animal, to connect with it, while the painting is still developing on my canvas. Some of my toughest paintings are those where the eyes are obscured, and then I need to rely on other aspects like body language and lighting to engage in, but that’s another story.

Today it’s the eyes. Everything else is secondary. How did I do that? All through controlling the quality of the edges – see how the only sharp, crisp lines are around the eyes? – and by positioning the greatest contrast in the eyes too. I also build up the purest spots and greatest variety of color around the eyes (or wherever my focal point is).

My reference photo showed equally dark values in other areas, but I used artistic license and softened them. Using photos is a great starting point, but it’s a huge mistake to allow them to dictate the end result. Photos suck the life out of shadows and grossly exaggerate highlights. And don’t forget, too, how lenses distort objects. Nothing beats being able to work from life, but that’s not always possible, especially with animals. Photographs are wonderful tools, but by no means are they any sort of commandment.

Things are falling into place for June’s Shelter & Rescue Week, which starts on Monday. Stay tuned for more details.

Meanwhile, thanks, as always, for looking.And for sharing these paintings with friends and family,

Kimberly Kelly Santini
distinctive pet portraits
& 4-legged paintings
come. sit. stay.
enjoy the art.

Founding member of the Canine Art Guild
the gateway to canine art on the web

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