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Heinrich, Step II

"Heinrich," work in process, 16" x 16", commissioned German Shepherd portrait, acrylic on Ampersand Gessoboard. Inquiries may always come to me.

Today I continued refining Heinrich's portrait, identifying values and modelling the shape of his head with bold and gestural brushwork. I'll continue much of the same in the coming days, gradually working with softer colors and establishing a strong sense of presence.

Today, one of my last full days in the studio prior to Christmas, I also was graced with multiple visits from collectors and friends. It is rewarding beyond belief to be a part of so many families' gift giving, knowing that I have crafted something that will bring so much joy to the recipients (and gifters alike). Thank you so much for allowing me this opportunity.

Wishing you all the best in the coming days. May you be surrounded by family and friends of the two and four legged variety, and be served feasts to satisfy both the heart and belly.

Thank…

Heinrich, Step I

"Heinrich," painting in process, 16" square commissioned dog portrait (I think Heinrich is a Belgian Malinoise, but I'll confirm that) done in acrylic on Ampersand Gessoboard. Inquiries may always come to me.
So after I put the final tweaks on Angi's painting (I'll update you with the final version once my clients approve), I started another good sized painting, one that will take me several days to complete. I'll share it with you as I progress.
Today I blocked in the first layer of color, concentrating on getting the placement of Heinrich smack in the center of the board, yet tilted just enough that the angle of his face and the line of his neck create an "x". The dual compositional trick of the "+" and the "x" securely anchor Heinrich's face and will underline his loyal gaze.
I'm not worried about having the exact right colors laid down, but I did start right from the get-go with directional brushwork mirroring the g…

Angi, Step III

"Angi (Leonberger Portrait)," 16" x 20", commissioned larger than lifesize Leonberger dog portrait, acrylic on Ampersand Gessoboard, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may always come to me.
Not sure what's in the water, but after several years of doing smaller paintings, this week I've booked 4 larger than life portraits The truest test is applying all I've learned from 3+ years of daily work to the larger paintings - it's a test I'm eager to ace. It's wonderful to work in this scale again, and I look forward very much to tackling the bigger paintings in the coming months.
If you are just joining us, I've been sharing the progress of Ms Angelica's larger than lifesized portrait over the past couple of days - here's Step I and Step II.
And today I would say she's pretty close to being done. I'll sit with the painting for the next couple days and tweak as things become apparent. I've also sent a jpg to my clients …

Angi, Step II

"Angi," work in process, 16" x 20", commissioned dog portrait of a Leonberger, acrylic on Ampersand Gessoboard, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may always come to me.
To see what this painting looked like at the end of the day yesterday, click here.
So today I took the painting deep into what a friend of mine calls "The Uglies." This is the stage where the various pieces of the painting are not harmonious or working as a whole. The hardest part (for me) when a painting is in "The Uglies" is to hold onto that inner image of what it will look like when done and persevere.
What is my focus now (other than forward thinking and persistance)?
Well, first I re-drew Angi's entire face, doublechecking my measurements (eye to eye, eye to nose, length of ears, drape of tongue, etc). I then refined my values (the measurement of light vs dark) so they were relatively close to what I want in the finished piece. I started softening interior edges, …

Angi, Step 1

"Angi," 16" x 20", commissioned dog portrait of a Leonberger, acrylic on Ampersand Gessoboard, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may always come to me.
Those of you who are familiar with only the Dog a Day paintings may not know that, prior to the daily project, I specialized in larger than life animal portraits. I started the smaller pieces, in part, to try out various ideas without the time committment that a larger piece entailed.
Anywho, I was tickled pink when Angi's family asked if I would have another try at the larger paintings. I thought her portrait would make for an excellent step-by-step piece if shared over the course of several days. It's been a few years since I worked in this scale, but that makes things all the more exciting, because I have learned a tremendous amount in the meanwhile.
So here Angi is in the earliest stages. I wanted to block her in, showing the range of values (essentially the light bathing her body from the right ed…

Light and Shadows II (Amber)

"Light and Shadows II (Amber)", 4" x 6", golden retriever dog portrait done in acrylic on canvasboard, $199 unframed or $249 with an exquisite custom molding. Inquiries may always come to me.
This painting is currently in the "Think Small" show at the Lawrence Street Gallery in Ferndale, Michigan. The gallery has the painting until December 26th - so, if you are interested in purchasing it prior to the holidays, please contact them directly.
Lately I've been experimenting with lights and darks, pulling faces out of pools of color, splitting compositions cleanly between the two values, and painting in more of a tonal style. It's been a healthy challenge to hold my color saturation to a minimum and sculpt the animal with brushwork as opposed to edges. I think it's an especially interesting platform for portrait work.
Thanks, as always, for looking at - and sharing - my artwork with your friends and family. Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com www.painti…

Chiquita (Chihuahua Portrait)

"Chiquita (Chihuahua Portrait)," 8" x 8", pet portrait of a Chihuahua done in acrylic on Ampersand Gessoboard, private collection. Inquiries may always come to me.
Who knows how many times Chiquita walked directly into the swimming pool, only to be surprised by the fact that, yes, it was a swimming pool, and no, she couldn't swim. So she wasn't the sharpest crayon in the box - but she was by far the favorite.
Chiquita passed away earlier this year, and this painting will be an absolute surprise come Christmas morning, as big a shock to her Mom as the cold swimming pool was to the old girl.
Thanks, as always, for looking at - and sharing - my artwork with your friends and family. Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com www.paintingadogaday.com
PS Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Oh boy, do I have lots of places to send you:
SHOP ORIGINALS & LIMITED EDITION GICLEES: at my Etsy shop ORDER CUSTOMIZED NOTECARDS & REPRODUCTIONS: at Imagekind COMMISSION A PET…

Oscar, Miniature Pinscher

"Oscar, Miniature Pinscher," 8" x 8", commissioned pet portrait, depicting a Miniature Pinscher, done in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may always come to me.
Oscar is part of the final batch of holiday portraits. Since October 1st I've created 52 commissioned paintings. I didn't think that was possible, and had to double check my math, but it was correct. (There's another 12-15 pieces I painted in addition to the 52 that were not commissions.)
I have been doing at least 2 pieces every day since the fall, and they add up pretty darn quickly this way. It's no wonder I'm looking forward to packing things up for a week or two over winter break!
But meanwhile I'm going to clean myself up, and Rick and I are heading over to friends' house for dinner. It's their annual artists gathering, where there is always great food and much laughter.
I wish you a weekend packed with pretty much the same!
Thanks, as alway…

A Pooped Pumpkin

FROM TOP: "A Pooped Pumpkin I," 6" x 8", and "A Pooped Pumpkin II," 5" x 7", both portraits of a yellow labrador retriever, done in acrylic on canvasboard, one for my client (she's still choosing) and one for another happy home. Inquiries may always come to me.
As the bitter cold weather creeps in, it seems instinctual to curl up and nap. I've been fighting the urge all day, as the wind rattles the windows and the snow does arabesques across the yard. And it's almost time for me to give in to that urge.
Thanks, as always, for looking at - and sharing - my artwork with your friends and family. Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com www.paintingadogaday.com
PS Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Oh boy, do I have lots of places to send you:
SHOP ORIGINALS & LIMITED EDITION GICLEES: at my Etsy shop ORDER CUSTOMIZED NOTECARDS & REPRODUCTIONS: at Imagekind COMMISSION A PET PORTRAIT: contact me (I've got a couple holiday spots left) …

Winston

"Winston," 8" x 8", commissioned mixed breed dog portrait, acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may always come to me.
There's something wonderfully appealing about Winston's face, which reads like that of an older gentleman, with all sorts of fascinating stories to share. Can you tell I enjoyed painting him? I may do another one, just so that I can play in all these colors again.
Meanwhile, I received a mailing from Blurb, my publisher, with a $10 off coupon for either of my books: The First Year (2006-2007) and That's 14 in Dog Years (2008). If you are paying in US$ your coupon code is GREATGIFT; UK pounds use coupon code GREATGIFT2; euros use coupon code GREATGIFT3; AU$ use coupon code GREATGIFT4. Please note that this coupon is only valid on orders placed directly with Blurb from today through December 31st (use the links imbedded in the book titles above to order direct from Blurb).
I, unfortunately, cannot honor this co…

Jake (Yellow Lab)

"Jake (Yellow Lab)," 6" x 8", commissioned yellow lab portrait on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries on commissioning your own Dog a Day portrait may always come to me.
Today's painting was sheer joy to work on - a combination of the treat of working with all new brushes (online shopping for art supplies has saved me a bundle AND keeps me in the studio, working!) and the stack of glorious references my client was able to share.
I'm telling you, turn the flash off on those point and shoot cameras. Otherwise you'll have nothing that truly shows the warmth and intelligence in your best pal's eyes, or the way his fur gently fades to violet under that slobby chin.
Tonight is my art guild's annual holiday party. We convene at a local gallery, bringing food and wine and donations for a special auction. The monies we raise are used to promote the arts in our community - via college scholarships, donations of art supplies to non-profits…

Jess

"Jess Squared I," 6" x 6", acrylic tuxedo kitty portrait on Ampersand Gessoboard, not for sale. Inquiries may always come to me.
Meet Jess. She belongs to a friend of mine. Well really, Jess belongs to my friend's little girls. And this year, her girls will also have a painting of their dear Jess tucked under their Christmas tree.
If I can get my butt in gear and get their care package to the post office in time!
Thanks, as always, for looking at - and sharing - my artwork with your friends and family. Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com www.paintingadogaday.com
PS Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Oh boy, do I have lots of places to send you:
SHOP ORIGINALS & LIMITED EDITION GICLEES: at my Etsy shop ORDER CUSTOMIZED NOTECARDS & REPRODUCTIONS: at Imagekind GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE: contact me READING MATERIAL: Preview and order each of the Dog a Day books at the publisher's website: The First Year (2006-2007) and That's 14 in Dog Years (2008). …

Sir Oliver

"Sir Oliver," 12" square, commissioned harlequin Great Dane portrait in acrylic on Ampersand Gessoboard, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may always cometo me.
I've just sent images of this painting to my client for review. This is the worst possible part of the commission process, at least for me. I always think the painting is perfect until I send it off, and then I start second guessing myself. And if it takes my client longer than 10 minutes to respond, I am convinced they hate it.
Some say artists are their own worst critics. I know I fit that bill.
But, despite waiting to hear back from my client, I am very happy with Oliver's painting (look at the little snippet of pink on his nose!). I think I'll reward myself with a truffle and some sassafras tea.
Yeah, that sounds like a plan.
Oh, and while I was typing this up, the client responded, and he simply loves Oliver's painting.
Truffles for everyone!!
Thanks, as always, for looking at - and sharin…

Calico (Bridget)

"Calico (Bridget)," 5" x 7", commissioned calico kitty portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may always come to me.
Looking for a perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for friend or family member? How about a donation to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary? Some generous benefactors have agreed to match all BFAS donations through the holiday season, up to one million dollars.
I can't even fathom the difference two million dollars would make in caring for homeless pets. And we can be a part of that.
Thanks, as always, for looking at - and sharing - my artwork with your friends and family. Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com www.paintingadogaday.com
PS Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Oh boy, do I have lots of places to send you:
SHOP ORIGINALS & LIMITED EDITION GICLEES: at my Etsy shop ORDER CUSTOMIZED NOTECARDS & REPRODUCTIONS: at Imagekind COMMISSION A PET PORTRAIT: contact me (I've got a couple holiday spots left) GIF…

Beanie, Garnished

Working title "Beanie, Garnished," 8" x 10", commissioned Cocker Spaniel portrait in acrylic on Ampersand Gessoboard, private collection (thank you). Inquiries may always come to me.
Beanie had a long and distinguished track record as a thief, whether it was something delectable from a trash bin or the garnish from a platter of prime rib. He had a knack for swiping the goods, then looking at you with those big, brown eyes, and getting off the hook, even when caught red handed (or "pawed").
Thanks, as always, for looking at - and sharing - my artwork with your friends and family. Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com www.paintingadogaday.com
PS Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Oh boy, do I have lots of places to send you:
SHOP ORIGINALS & LIMITED EDITION GICLEES: at my Etsy shop ORDER CUSTOMIZED NOTECARDS & REPRODUCTIONS: at Imagekind COMMISSION A PET PORTRAIT: contact me (I've got a couple holiday spots left) GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE: contac…

Rainbow Golden

"Rainbow Golden," 6" square, Golden Retriever portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, $249. Inquiries may always come to me.
I scanned this painting, so should have gotten a true capture of it's likeness, yet it looks a little yellow and saturated in the background to me. It didn't at first, but against the background here it's starting to look a little acid-ey yellow. In reality, the painting is rich with goldens and browns, and the face gently emerges from the background. I'll have to play with it in Photoshop and see what I can come up with.
Meanwhile, I wanted to share with you a friend, a wonderfully talented graphite artist, who consistently delights, inspires and entertains. Sheona Hamilton-Grant has a distinctive voice that is matched only by her mad skills with sharpened pieces of wood. I invite you to take a minute to hang with her on her blog and enjoy her wit and art. If you say that I sent you, she'll be extra nice (as if anything else is even…

Spooning

"Spooning," 4" x 8", acrylic kitty portrait on canvasboard, $249. Inquiries may always come to me.
SOLD.

This is a little how I feel, just wanting to curl up and sleep. But I've got a mile long to-do list, especially because I am playing catch-up from the holiday and feeling a little squirrely to boot. Why is it that we get punished for shortened work weeks by having to cram in the missed hours elsewhere?
I need a clone. Or two.
Or maybe just a nap!
Thanks, as always, for looking at - and sharing - my artwork with your friends and family. Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com www.paintingadogaday.com
PS Have you started your holiday shopping yet? Oh boy, do I have lots of places to send you:
SHOP ORIGINALS & LIMITED EDITION GICLEES: at my Etsy shop ORDER CUSTOMIZED NOTECARDS & REPRODUCTIONS: at Imagekind COMMISSION A PET PORTRAIT: contact me (I've got a couple holiday spots left) GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE: contact me READING MATERIAL: Preview and order each of t…

Siblings Giclee

"Siblings," 12" x 14", acrylic on gallery stretched linen, depicting a litter of pit bull puppies, $799. A limited edition (25 only) of giclees on artists paper also available, image approximately 10" x 13", signed in pencil by the artist, $59. Proceeds from the sale of the original and the reproductions will be donated to my local shelter, the Oakland Pet Adoption Center. Inquiries may always come to me.
I am thrilled to share my latest limited edition reproduction, this one extra special because it supports animal welfare efforts.
Here in the US, we are on the cusp of our biggest shopping season ever.
I encourage you to consider original artwork as you begin making gift giving decisions. Local craft and artisan fairs, independently owned shops in your area, and online storefronts are a great starting point for locating original one of a kind gifts. All of my paintings available for purchase are listed on Etsy (returning collectors get 10% off the listed p…

Happy Thanksgiving!!

"Butt...." 6" x 8", acrylic on canvasboard (originally shared on August 18th, 2009), $324. Inquiries may always come to me.
I just wanted to take a minute and thank each of you for following the Painting a Dog a Day project. We are well into the 4th year of daily pet portraits, with over 800 paintings chronicled on the blog. I wouldn't have gotten past two dozen if it were not for your support.
So tomorrow when I gather round our Thanksgiving table, I'll be thinking of everyone in the Dog a Day family as well. We make a great team.
Wishing you a weekend riddled with laughter and pie. Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com www.paintingadogaday.com
PS I have had a client release several holiday portrait spots in early December. Let me know if you want one!!

A Wee Bit of Gold

"A Wee Bit of Gold," 5" x 7", portrait of a Golden Retriever in acrylic on canvasboard, $249. Inquiries may always come to me.
Thanks, as always, for looking at - and sharing - my artwork with your friends and family. Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com www.paintingadogaday.com
PS Want a great gift this holiday season? Then order either one of the Painting a Dog a Day books - they are gorgeous summaries of the Dog a Day paintings. Painting a Dog a Day - the First Year covers 2006-2007, and That's 14 in Dog Years covers 2008. Information on how to order each book is on the Painting a Dog a Day blog and thestudio website.

Cosmo Pug

"Cosmo (Pug)," 6" square, commissioned Pug portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (thank you and welcome to the newest Dog a Day collector!). Inquiries may always come to me.
Cosmo lives on in his family's hearts and this painting will be sure to trigger many memories.
I also think it is, hands down, one of my best ever. It is a great example of what you shouldn't do (his nose is smack dab in the center of the canvas and the composition is a perfect "X"), yet for some unknown reason it just works.
Must be Cosmo's magnetism.
Thanks, as always, for looking at - and sharing - my artwork with your friends and family. Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com www.paintingadogaday.com
PS Want a great gift this holiday season? Then order either one of the Painting a Dog a Day books by November 30th - they are gorgeous summaries of the Dog a Day paintings. Painting a Dog a Day - the First Year covers 2006-2007, and That's 14 in Dog Years covers 2008.…

Rosie, Two Views

FROM TOP: "Green Rosie" and "Violet Rosie," both 4" x 5", yellow lab portraits in acrylic on canvasboard, each $189. Inquiries may always come to me.
"Green Rosie (Top)" sold.
Rosie is one of the dearest girls ever, facing the battle of her life. She was recently diagnosed with Evan's Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder where her body essentially attacks itself. During the last week Rosie has responded well to natural treatments, but she still has a tough time ahead. And of course, it will be a time when those who know and love her will rally around, doing their best to provide a quality of life while also hoping for a remission.
Not much is known or understood about Evan's Syndrome, a disease that attacks humans as well as dogs. Which made it seem even more important that I do something.
Proceeds from the sale of both Rosie's paintings will be donated to Meisha's Hope Fund, part of the Morris Animal Foundation Family. The MAFF funds hu…

Playing Coy

"Playing Coy (Allie)," 6" x 8", portrait of a Cairn Terrier in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may always come to me.
Proceeds from the sale of this painting will be donated to Col. Potter Cairn Rescue, a group that never ceases to amaze me with the size of their hearts.
Thanks, as always, for looking at - and sharing - my artwork with your friends and family. Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com www.paintingadogaday.com
PS Want a great gift this holiday season? Then order either one of the Painting a Dog a Day books - they are gorgeous summaries of the Dog a Day paintings. Painting a Dog a Day - the First Year covers 2006-2007, and That's 14 in Dog Years covers 2008. Information on how to order each book is on the Painting a Dog a Day blog and thestudio website.