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Showing posts from August, 2007
Today you get 2 for 1. Consider it my Labor Day gift!

First I'll give you "Spencer," a german shepherd portrait, sized 5x7. This is another commissioned pet portrait, and part of the same collection as yesterday's Peyton.

As is "Remi," the second piece, depicting a rottie-bermese mountain dog mix. At 8x16, Remi's portrait is packed with detail and actually is one painting I wouldn't mind keeping for myself. (Sorry, Spencer) But she'll get wrapped and shipped off with her brothers next week.

Those of you who perhaps have taken a life drawing class will laugh at this - but I feel like Remi is a nude stretched out with a drape and diffused lighting..... yeah, I'm a little twisted!!

Both of these portraits I started earlier this week at the Michigan State Fair demo. Once I got them home, and was able to add white to my palette, all it took was a couple of hours and they were done.

I wish all my readers a safe holiday weekend. Ours will be spent at a …
“German Shepherd (Peyton),” 6x8, german shepherd pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, available for $120. Inquiries to ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com .

In between being pulled in what seemed like a million other directions today, I managed to find enough time to finish off one of yesterday’s paintings. Here is Peyton, a perfect balance of complimentary colors and happy grin.

I can also see, especially with this painting, that my brushwork has gotten more expressive, yet it still conveys a solid amount of detail. I am happy with this direction.

Meanwhile, I had the most wonderful evening tonight at the opening for the 47th annual Thumb Show Exhibition. It was capped off perfectly with the announcement that my dog-a-day painting “Bulldog Study (Winston)” (http://paintingadogaday.blogspot.com/search?q=winston) had earned an honorable mention. If you get a chance to see this show (at the Starkweather Gallery in Romeo Michigan, through September 15th – call 586-752-5700 for more informat…
What a fun day I had, despite a few “challenges.” The biggest of which was, when unpacking and setting up this morning at the Michigan State Fair, discovering I had forgotten to pack white paint.

It’s a little tough completing a portrait without white paint!!

But I did my best, blocking in three different dog-a-day commissions while taking frequent breaks to talk to fair-goers (the portraits, clockwise from the top, “Remi,” “Spencer,” and “Peyton,” all siblings).

I’ve attached a couple of images, so that you can understand how I set up when doing a demo. It’s not much different than when I set up here in the studio.

I have my easel (this particular one is a Julian Pleine-Air – very sturdy and easy to setup), with a board (just a random piece of masonite) that has the dog-a-day pieces duct taped to it. To the right is my palette, laid out with the same colors (from lower left, in a clockwise configuration, cad yellow dark, alizarine crimson, cad red dark, white (if I had had it, in the upp…
“Shihtzu Study (Casey),” 5x7, commissioned shihtzu pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (thank you!).

Casey is a sweet little guy who passed away late last year. This painting is a gift to Casey’s “dad,” currently fighting his own battle with cancer. My wish is that it bring comfort to this family, and maybe spark a few grins and good tales as they gather to remember times shared.

I will be painting tomorrow’s dog-a-day at the Community Arts Building of the Michigan State Fairgrounds starting around 11-11:30. I’m bringing along enough boards to do a handful of paintings if time allows (I’ll stay till about 1:30 or 2, and then head over to the barns for a photo session before taking on rush hour traffic) – I would love for you to stop by and visit if you find yourself in the area.

And some exciting news – my work was juried into the 47th annual Thumb Area Artists’ Exhibition! This is especially meaningful because my two entries were dog-a-day paintings from much earl…
“English Springer Study (Lewis),” 6x8, English Springer pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (thank you!).

Lewis is 13 years old, and has a rare bone disease. This will be his last summer. His family is doing their best to make it as memorable as all the others, even going so far as to get a special “cart” so that he can still join them on their walks.

They requested a portrait that would remind them of his squishy smooshy droopy face. I cropped in tight to get his eyes, and just the upper edge of his nose, as though his face was cupped in their hands. The scale of this painting is such that it is fairly close to lifesize, yet still remains intimate. A good starting point for recalling such a dear companion and friend.

(On an odd note, this piece reminds me of that sad clown painting that hung in the back hallway of my childhood home. I wonder whatever happened to that painting….. it terrified us in the half-light, and probably ultimately ended up as a prop in a bad…
“Charlotte’s Grin,” 5x7, beagle pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!!).

I’ve painted Charlotte a number of times (check the dog-a-day archives and you'll see her on June 22nd and January 22nd), and she is a favorite of mine. I’m currently painting her yet again, with her partner in crime Shadow, as a larger piece that’s intended for an exhibition later this fall (I’m also painting Shadow separately, the star of his own portrait).

Meanwhile, I did this latest little piece several weeks ago, but held off on posting for just such a day as today.

(Actually, I have a very small stash of dog-a-day paintings that I save for when I simply cannot make it into the studio. It has only happened maybe 3 times since last October, but knowing they are there helps to alleviate the stress when an already difficult day presents itself!)

Today started off fairly well, with just a short, very manageable list of errands, but temper tantrums and bickering held the school …
“Joey,” 8’x8”, labradoodle pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (Thank you!!). He’s just so darned cute, isn’t he?!

Take a minute, those of you who are artists, and revisit the last three paintings, including today’s. They all depict black and white dogs, and were all painted with the exact same palette, yet each one has a different sensibility to it.

Katie’s fur is full of the reflections of the green grass. She’s lying in a shaded area, and that means that all the light around her is reflected, carrying a green edge to it.

Winnie’s fur carries more blue. It is reflecting the sky, since she’s sitting up, in a more “open” space, and lit from above, as the sun is higher. I used glazes of azurine blue overtop the modeled shape of her body, to exaggerate the color.

Joey’s black fur has more of a brown or red edge to it (natural highlights that occur with the longer haired animals). That is amplified by using a smidge more red in the darkest mixture, and pinking out the …
“Winnie’s Smile,” 6” x 8”, mixed breed pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (thank you very much).

I had so much fun with Katie today, painting her was like painting an old friend. When I stepped back to squint down at and view what I thought might be the final version of the painting, I discovered (duh!) that Katie bears a remarkable resemblance to my cattle dog Finnigan. She has a similar bone structure to her face, although it’s a little longer. They also share that same relaxed expression, and yet I bet if a magic word were said (“walk” or maybe “play”) she would bounce into immediate hyperdrive.

Thank you to new collector Denise Gillen who purchased three favorites from the dog-a-day archives yesterday. Welcome to the group, Denise!

For those of you who may not be receiving your daily dose of the dog-a-days, it has come to my attention that if you just re-subscribe, the problem is fixed. Gotta love that! The signup option is available at the top of the blog pag…
“Katie’s Moustache,” 6x12, pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, $90. Inquiries to ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com .

One glimpse of Katie’s face, and I was hooked. Not only did she fall into my beloved “black & white” category, but she came with a full moustache and doe-like eyes.

I first covered the canvas with a variety of blues and purples, using a (mixed) light green and pink for the highlights. (Right now my palette has been expanded to include the following: pthalo blue red, azurite hue, cad red dark, alizarine crimson, cad yellow dark, and then for graying/hazing out I use light green yellow and ultramarine purple.) I lighten with titanium white and darken with one of the blues and a touch of one of the reds.

As a side note, at this time last year I was really struggling with my limited palette (I went from about 60 pots of paint to 3), but I have lived the benefits – I am so much more familiar with what I can mix given just this handful of colors. My paintings are also more …
“Gus,” 6x12”, commissioned pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (thank you!). This is another portrait who’s proceeds are benefiting Best Friends Animal Society (http://www.bestfriends.org/) .

Gus has such a solid look about him – I loved his substance, that confidant stance, his gentle but insistent gaze. And all that color – I’ve said it before, but brindles are just SO FUN to paint, with the blues and oranges and violets.

Originally I had Gus smaller on the board, to show off his lovely tuxedo marked chest. But that splash of white kept tearing my eyes away from his face. So I rubbed the whole thing out, and had at it again, positioning Gus and the composition so that all my marks would lead your eye to his face (see that line of pink highlight across his back? And the little light blue collar cradling his chin? And the dashes of orange strategically placed?).

Thanks, as always, for looking.
And for sharing these paintings with your friends and family.
I so enjoy m…
“Abigail,” 6” x 12”, Doberman puppy pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (thank you very much!).

I love getting pictures in the mail. And it’s even more fun when they are puppy pictures! I got a nice little stack of them a few weeks back depicting Abby and it was all I could do to stick to the schedule and make her wait her turn.

This is a difficult painting to photograph, being so very dark and richly toned in the shadows. The camera added a lot of contrast and blue to the painting – I tried to make some corrections in photoshop (my photoshop skills are improving slowly but surely!!).

In real life, Abby’s fur reads like silk, and the light in her eyes is tender. This will be a tough piece to ship off to it’s new home!

Thanks as always for taking the time to look at these paintings. I have gotten several notes this week about how the dog-a-day paintings make your work days a little brighter. I am happy to hear that – I remember myself how tough it can get when chaine…
“(Not So) Spaz,” 6x8, mixed breed pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (thank you!).

Spaz is a husky-border collie (?) mix who has finally, at 14 years of age, outgrown her well-earned name.

I was excited to paint her fur – the combination of the shorter hairs that lay tightly against her muzzle and eyes and then graduated out to the longer wispier edges that frame her face. I mixed three pools of glazes in various shades of red-violet, blue, and blue violet, and used multiple brushes to layer the strokes and color. Adding a bit of orange and red into the eyes was the final touch.

I need to send out a belated thank you to Barbara Pope, who found two dog-a-day paintings in the archives to add to her purchase of “Pasha’s Eyes” from the other week. What a nice package you’ll get next week, Barbara!

The Painting a Dog a Day blog (http://www.paintingadogaday.blogspot.com/) is searchable by keywords. I tried to make it simple by using breed names and designations like “mix…
“Daisy Remembered,” 4” x 8”, mixed breed pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (thank you very much).

This painting was commissioned as a gift to Daisy’s person. Daisy was a best friend and a trooper, losing a leg to cancer. The surgery was supposed to give her another couple years, but instead she managed (happily) for one more month.

I wanted to paint her grinning and content, awash in blues and greens, the colors of the outdoors. Never having met Daisy, I hope that this little piece does justice to her spirit and memory.

Thanks, as always, for looking.
And for sharing these paintings and stories with your friends and family,
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 Canine Art Guild
http://www.canineartguild.com/
the gateway to canine art on the web
If you could only see my studio - I’m getting caught up in that end-of-summer rush, putting finishing touches on a number of canvases that need to be sent off to their respective venues in the coming weeks. There are literally stacks of them against the walls, up on shelves, precariously perched on every flat surface, spilling out of the studio and into the other rooms of the house. I have the best intentions, starting things early, allowing myself all sorts of time to complete the pieces before they are due. But life happens, and I get sidetracked with a zillion other things, and I’m usually caught delivering my work at the last possible minute, sometimes even wet (which is a huge no-no for those readers who happen to be artists – please don’t live by my example!).

Today’s painting is one that has sat for a little bit too long (although not nearly as long as some of my others!). It’s one of my new works that will be showcased in a group invitational exhibition at Margot’s Gallery in O…
This is my booth from last Saturday’s Dog Days Event. It’s a far cry from the borrowed easels and ratty lawn chair I set up 4 years ago when participating for the first time! And I still see room for improvement, but this year at least my family room drapes were spared, as I had the tent walls!

Each time I do an event like this, I learn something new.

Like not to hang paintings below dog-hip-level unless I want another signature added.
Pack hand sanitizer to deal with the drool and other unmentionables.
Keep the spare dog biscuits sealed in a bin underneath the table – don’t just leave the box tucked beneath the cloth. Otherwise some prankster will make off with the whole mess of them.
Get contact information for everyone who’s dog I photograph. This means shooting photos single handedly while holding a notebook in the other hand and writing with a pencil gripped in my teeth.

What was this year’s lesson?

That the clever seeming duct tape hanging system (dog-a-day panels duct taped to the gl…
“Uggh! (Ruger),” 6x8, mixed hound dog pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, $120. Inquiries to ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com . SOLD.

This is a little how I feel right now. I’ve been working literally all day long, tagging paintings, organizing materials, and getting myself all situated for tomorrow’s Dog Days event. And still, after a whole day of packing and sorting, I’m thinking of things to toss into the pile.

My booth will be open from 10am-3pm, and I’ll be there with bells on (oh – wait – I haven’t packed those yet!), eager to meet new clients, both 2 and 4 legged. You can find me at the southern most end of Anderson Street in Lake Orion, between the fire station and the Orion Art Center.

There will be a non-denominational blessing of the dogs at 11, a pet parade at 12, a rubber duck race at 1pm, and various award winners chosen throughout (including the appointment of Lake Orion’s new Doggy Mayor, who receives an 8x10 dog-a-day portrait!!). It will be a busy, busy day, that’s fo…
“ZoeyAnn,” 6” x 12”, mixed breed pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, $135. Inquiries to ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com. Proceeds from the sale of this painting will be donated to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah.

We’ve all heard of dog allergies, but what about a dog who’s allergic to human dander? That’s our ZoeyAnn here, an adorable, young hound mix with an incredibly long list of allergies.

She’s at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, receiving a variety of remedies. The drier air seems to have helped (ZoeyAnn is originally from New York), and she’s had some dietary changes, and is also undergoing treatment to help boost her autoimmune system (now it is possible that I didn’t quite interpret this last point clearly enough – but there’s a good debate and a very interesting article on allergies in dogs that you can read at http://network.bestfriends.org/MessageBoards/TopicPopup.aspx?g=1a0fd2cd9f2f4c5dac3274d536f3e9c9&t=12560 ).

Thank you to new collector Laurie Smith for …
“Hope (Poncho),” 5x7, red merle cattle dog pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, $90. Inquiries to ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com . Proceeds from the sale of Poncho’s painting will go to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. SOLD.

Poncho’s story warmed my heart from the get go. I stumbled across it (and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary themselves) while googling for training suggestions and tips geared specifically for neurotic cattle dogs (that’s another story altogether!). But back to Poncho - here’s an excerpt from his bio on the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary site:

“Poncho nearly died on his rescuer’s lap!....(he) was found with lots of broken bones, and a rope around his neck that he seemed to have chewed through.
A senior citizen picked up the “stray” and rushed him to the vet, on his lap. But the limp dog kept seeming to die on him. His rescuer was terrified by the time they made it to the vet’s office.
It took more than 5,000 dollars of surgery to put Poncho back together again. His re…
“Mr. Wiggles,” 6” x 8”, mixed breed pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!!).

Mr. Wiggles (so named because his butt and tail were in perpetual motion) was a Katrina survivor, rescued, rehabilitated, and adopted out to a new home by Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. You got to read a little about their mission in yesterday’s post, but for those of you who haven’t yet had a chance to visit their site – here you go: http://www.bestfriends.org/

This is my favorite sort of painting – the lower most layers are pools of translucent glazes, bearing upper opaque layers of hatching and various cross marks. Actually, it’s a lot like my larger stretched canvases, now that I think about it. The detail isn’t as tight, but it carries a lot of the same sorts of surface treatment that the larger pieces do.

Anyways, 20% of the purchase price of Mr. Wiggles’ painting will be returned to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, so that they may continue to do all those amazing things tha…
“Mr. Bones’ Bandanna,” 8” x 8”, mixed breed pet portrait, private collection (THANK YOU!).

Mr. Bones is a long-time resident of Dog Town at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kenab, Utah. My client who purchased this has been volunteering there since 2000 (spending her vacations, flying across the country!), and Mr. Bones is a favorite of hers from day 1. He came from the streets of Puerto Rico, is about 10 years old, and is dog aggressive, so Mr. Bones needs to find that special person who can handle his needs accordingly.

My client has pledged to send this painting to the animal sanctuary to hang in their clinic, and ultimately go home with Mr. Bones’ adopters, whoever they may be.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is a pretty amazing place – direct from the horse’s mouth (or rather, their website: http://www.bestfriends.org/ ):

“They come to the sanctuary from far and wide. But once they're here, we make sure that nothing bad will ever happen to them again.On any given day, there are…
“White Pit Bull Study (Kaya),” 6” x 6”, pit bull pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, $60. Inquiries to ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com . SOLD.

An astute dog-a-day reader pointed out something I found a little disturbing about the Humane Society of the United States. Apparently they changed their position on Michael Vick’s dogs (http://www.consumerfreedom.com/news_detail.cfm/headline/3420). Based on that, and my belief in supporting animals in need, I will instead be making the donations from yesterdays and today’s paintings to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. THANK YOU to my reader for pointing out the HSUS’s change of heart!

What I was mesmerized by today (other than the fact that groups can do a total 360 in a flash!) was the translucency of Kaya’s fur, the way her pink and spotted skin seemed to glow from underneath it’s fine layer of pale hair. This sort of transparency lends itself beautifully to layers of glaze, and I laid down quite a few. This painting will take a good day or 2…
“Pasha’s Eyes,” 4x6, pit bull portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, $50. Inquiries to ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com . Proceeds from the sale of this painting will go to the Humane Society of the United States, to help offset care and rehabilitation costs for the 54 dogs rescued from Michael Vick’s property earlier this summer. (PLEASE NOTE: Due to the HSUS's change of heart (see August 3rds posting), I'm instead donating to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.)SOLD.

I just don’t understand the appeal of dog fighting, or even just the bad rep pit bulls have, especially when dogs like Pasha cross my path. Rotties had that same sort of reputation a few years back, and that breed suffered prejudice as well.

Pasha is a pit bull whose current life is in extreme juxtaposition to a dark beginning. Dropped at an animal hospital by a suspected dog-fighting breeder, Pasha was nearly bald and covered in scabs from mange. He survived parvo, was severely malnourished, and had lived his entire lif…
“Miss You,” 6x8, pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, part of a very special private collection.

This painting is a surprise birthday gift from my client to her best friend, who recently lost one of her best friends, Gizmo.

With Holly’s permission (she didn’t know that a painting was coming alongside her reprinted words), here is an excerpt from a poem she wrote memorializing Gizmo:

My darling boy…
I will miss you….
Smile askew
Drawing me in
I will miss you….
Faithful sidekick
Forever friend, bedfellow
I will miss you…
My darling boy,
I will miss you.

Thanks, as always, for looking.
And for sharing these paintings with friends and family who understand the above.
See you tomorrow,
Kim

PS Happy Birthday, Holly.

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