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Showing posts from May, 2009

Chinook & Xena, Husky Siblings

FROM TOP/LEFT:  "Chinook," 5" x 7" and "Xena," 6" x 8", commissioned Husky portraits, acrylic on canvasboard, both in a private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may come to me. Chinook and Xena are siblings who have been waiting very patiently (almost a year) for their turn to be painted as Dog-a-Days. I would like to thank their family and all my other clients - I sometimes feel ridiculous asking customers to wait this long for a painting, and I am very appreciative of everyone queuing so politely. I'm a couple Dog-a-Day paintings behind and will see what I can get accomplished over the weekend. I'm also busy editing my latest columns for Art Career Experts and continuing work on the second Painting a Dog a Day book representing artwork from 2008. And as you know, there's at least another 10 projects going on in the wings. I've added several memorials to the Dog-a-Days In Memoriam pages in recent weeks and have a few more sitting…

Audrey, Mixed Breed

"Audrey," 6" x 8", commissioned dog portrait of a mixed breed, acrylic paint on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!). This piece is all about texture and depth, both of which were achieved by paying attention to edges. Not just the edges of the dog herself, but the edges of the plains of lights and darks, controlling their crispness or lack thereof. I've got a number of other commissions lined up behind Audrey. Last June, when I booked portraits for this week I didn't realize that Memorial Day fell early this year. Then I slid in the Visiting Artist stint on Friday and yesterday, again not processing that this was already a 4 day work week and that we would be out of town the days in between. Somebody smack me silly - I need to work on my time management skills!! Are you interested in booking a portrait of your own? (hah! after the prior paragraph, you're probably looking for another artist to commission - one who has a realistic idea of what can b…

Visiting Artist & Pet/Animal Collages

Ok, I'll admit that today I am whipped. I spent the whole day with a horde of 4th graders, working on collaged pet portraits and animal paintings. Took a mess of photos, but until I get permission from the school to share the student's faces, you'll have to be appeased with images of their work, which really is exemplary. I visited their classes last week and shared slides of artists who inspired me. We talked about some basic art concepts - positive and negative space, cropping, patterning, tension, emotion, edges, layers, symbolism - and dissected a variety of artwork using those terms. The students were even given homework - to identify an animal, think about the characteristics of that animal, assign colors or patterns that would help to tell that animal's story, and return to the classroom this week ready to build a collage. After 9 straight hours of collaging and clean up**, I can tell you I'm done with scrubbing stamps and brushes. I even had to break out the …

Harley, West Highland Terrier

"Harley (Westie Study), 8" square, commissioned pet portrait, acrylic painting on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!!). Inquiries may come to me. It's been a busy day in the studio. On top of playing catchup from the long weekend, I met with a client to deliver his portrait (he loved it!), visited my framer and chose moldings for some new pieces, followed up with a handful of inquiries re new commissions (here's more info for those who are curious), did some planning work for leading a couple different classes and workshops in the coming year, shipped out copies of my book (do you have yours?), planned entries for several summer exhibitions and packed my materials for tomorrow's stint at an elementary school. All I've got left to do is pack lunches. I might even get some quality time with a new book. If I'm really lucky, the predicted thunderstorms will start to roll in and I can drift off while watching the best of lightshows. Can't wait to sha…

Gus, Not Just Black & White

"Gus," 5" x 7", commissioned Shihtzu portrait, acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!). You can get one of these paintings of your own - it's super easy - just email me. I've got a handful of holiday 2009 slots left and am currently booking new customers for March 2010. Gus is a darling little guy, a puppy mill rescue who got the Hollywood ending he deserved. Not all puppy mill dogs do. Please, if you are considering adopting a dog (in no particular order), visit your local shelter, find a rescue group (there are breed specific ones if you have your heart set on a particular breed - google them!), visit Petfinder or work with a reputable breeder. There are a zillion options other than going to a pet store, honest. Ok, off the soapbox. I love this painting because it is a black and white dog who isn't - gasp! - black or white at all. Study black and white objects with your eyes (not via photographs). Marvel at the shadows and how they are ra…

Content, a Dog-a-Day Imposter

"Content," 4" x 5", orange tuxedo tabby cat portrait, acrylic on canvasboard, $184 to the first taker. Inquiries may come to me.
SOLD. When you hold this piece in your hands it's almost like having a little one in your arms. The scale is such that it's a little larger than life, but full of comfort and contentment. With this painting I wanted to crop in so tightly that the cat became something else altogether. Besides, that gave me an excuse to dwell on the colors that lay in between the tabby stripes. I almost wish the piece were a little larger, because I ran out of space to include the brilliant orange of the light filtering through her ear and the delightful curls of the cheek whiskers. Guess that's another excuse to try my hand at something similar down the road. Thanks, as always, for looking at and sharing my artwork with your friends and family. See you tomorrow, Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com

Sophie

"Sophie," 6" square commissioned dog portrait of a mixed breed, acrylic on board, private collection (THANK YOU!). Sophie's portrait is going to hang alongside that of Lucy, a Dog-a-Day painting from about a year ago. It's wonderful to be able to paint additions for my clients as their families grow. Contact me to discuss adding another painting to your collection. Did you know that repeat Dog-a-Day offenders receive 10% off newly booked commissions? Are you already thinking about Father's Day? How about a gift certificates for those Dads who have everything - even if they already have one of my paintings, we can always add to the mix! Thanks as always for looking at and sharing my artwork with your friends and family. See you tomorrow, Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com PS I haven't mentioned it in awhile, but don't forget about my Etsy shop, where I add unsold Dog-a-Day paintings to those available for purchase every couple weeks. I'll be adding new on…

Abby, Golden Retriever

"Abby," 4" square, an intimate commissioned portrait of a Golden Retriever, acrylic on canvasboard, private collection. Inquiries may come to me. I love doing commissions, especially when they are gifts. There's something rewarding about creating an object entirely unique. I know that in this case, Abby's portrait will bring solace and comfort to a family that needs some of that right now, and I am grateful to my client for inviting me to be a part of the process. If you would like information on commissioning a pet portrait of your own, whether for gift giving or yourself, please email me. I'd love to talk about the possibilities, and schedule a day for your dog/cat/horse/guinea pig/whatever to join the Painting a Dog a Day project. Thanks for sharing my artwork with your friends and family - See you tomorrow! Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com

Warming Up

"#3 Warming Up," 8" x 16", acrylic on board depicting a chestnut Thoroughbred, from the Virtual pARTy, $529 to the first taker. Inquiries may come to me.
This painting was part of the Preakness pARTy that Linda Shantz and I held today. I need to thank equine photographer Juliet Harrison for allowing us to paint from one of her photos.
What's a pARTy you ask? It's when artists work from the same references within a small window of time (usually a day), creating paintings that uniquely showcase their own style and sensibilities. You can see Linda's sublime painting here.....
And stay tuned for the Belmont pARTy, which, due to popular demand will be opened to any artists wishing to participate. You can watch The Virtual pARTy site for more information. I'll also share the details on Painting a Dog a Day as they develop.
Speaking of details, my painting comes with a mini-art lesson attached on The Virtual pARTy site. Those of you who are artists or interest…

Cairn Kisses

Yesterday got out of hand rather quickly. We are dogsitting for my brother and Bailey got loose. I spent the afternoon tracking her quite literally over the river and through the woods, around and across the lake, until she finally surrendered. I have a mountain of friends and total strangers to thank - my neighbor who selflessly joined in the hunt (Karen, just name your price!), the recruits who phoned in sightings, and the kids and lab-mix who ultimately herded Bailey into exhaustion after almost 3-1/2 hours. Bailey is the picture of perfect behavior today, but she will not set a foot outside this house without a leash on for the rest of her life. Finnigan also "donated" his collar, so that should she play Houdini again, she'll at least have a local number on her collar. So that's why there was no painting yesterday - I didn't get into the studio at all. I can count on one hand the number of times this has happened, and I apologize. It felt great to get in here to…

Cairn Kisses (in process)

WORK IN PROCESS:  "Cairn Kisses," 12" square, terrier portrait of four waggy Cairn Terriers, acrylic on canvasboard. This is a special painting and I don't think I'll have it for very long. Inquiries may come to me. The days don't get much better than this - glorious sunshine streaming in, nuthatches busily flitting through the studio garden, the dog contented at my feet, and an exciting canvas on the easel. These happy little critters are all rescued dogs from Calliope Cairn Terrier Rescue. This painting is about half completed - you can see that I've established the form of the four dogs (although one needs a little more work as she's melting off the edge) and begun to model them with broad shapes and strokes of color. I will continue to work in this way, from general to more specific, adjusting and refining and correcting, as the layers of paint build up. Proceeds from the sale of this painting will help Calliope continue to re-home their …

South African Boerboel Pooh

"Gentle Giant I (Pooh with Downward Gaze)" and "Gentle Giant II (Pooh in Profile)," both 6" square, commissioned pet portraits of a South African Boerboel, acrylic on canvasboard. My client will choose one painting and the other can go home with the first taker. (Don't you love Pooh's beauty mark?!) Proceeds from the sale of both pieces will go to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. Inquiries may come to me - including how you can commission your own pet's portrait and have the proceeds benefit animal welfare.
The Boerboel is a breed new to me, but I am already enamored. You can learn more about them here. They are wonderfully expressive dogs, and would make quite a picture bounding to greet you, wouldn't they? Here's a few other bits of studio news: I am now a contributing editor to Art Career Experts. This is a new site that has evolved to meet the needs of emerging and established artists who want to learn business practices …

In Memoriam

I'm guessing I've painted close to 700 different animals during the last 3-1/2 years. So it's bound to start happening more frequently - the emails and letters sharing the sad news of the passing of one of my muses. I got two of them just this last week. I can't get over is how little time we actually have with our pets. We're lucky we get a decade, and even more time is like winning the lottery, but there is no guarantee we'll even get a year. Yet we willingly jump in with both feet. Over and over and over again. Last year when I lost Miah, the original black cat and studio muse (pictured above), it was devastating. I was still struggling with Turtledove's (her sidekick, also pictured above) death a few months earlier, and the entire house seemed like a shell. It was the community of Dog a Day readers - you! - who gathered around and shored me up with tears, stories, and hope. I wasn't alone, it would get easier, and wasn't I blessed to hav…

Suzy Q

"Suzy Q," 4" square, commissioned portrait of a mixed breed dog, acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!).  This is one of those great rescue stories - straight from Suzy Q's new Mom (I added the hyperlinks): "Suzy Q still resides in Ethiopia. Dr. Anteneh Roba is a doctor for humans but also a HUGE animal lover..... originally from Ethiopia. He has co-founded an organization to help those in need in Ethiopia - both human and non-human - called The Amsale Gessesse Memorial Foundation. Animals are not treated well over there. They are often abused and sometimes thrown into pits or deep caves and left to die. Most dogs, as you can imagine, have a distinct fear of humans and will avoid them at all cost. Suzy Q is different. She is very friendly and extremely forgiving..... and ..... Dr. Roba [fears for her safety. He has arranged for foster care until he can]..... go get her and bring her home to me [her new forever home]. Under most circu…

Her Majesty

"Her Majesty (Nellie)," 8" square, terrier portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, not for sale. Want a Dog-a-Day portrait of your own pet? it's super easy - inquiries may come to me. I've been creating artwork to send to a new (to me) gallery in Alabama. As per my usual arrangement with galleries and special events, I try to send paintings representative of their particular area or clientele's likes.  In this case I was asked to provide them with a few terriers. This is Nellie, who belongs to mentor, friend and fellow artist Kathi Peters. I've painted Nellie before (most recently yesterday and in January 2009), and you will see lots more of Nellie on Kathi's blog, along with some beautiful paintings and insightful musings (By the way, if you are in the Lexington, Kentucky area, Kathi has a solo show opening at Gallery B this Friday evening). My new paintings will be in transit to the new gallery next week. I am very excited about the clients a…

Adjustments

I know the images are small, but hopefully you will be able to see the shifts I made. The sky was lovely in the first painting, but too dark. It distracted from the dog's face, and seemed almost foreboding, which contradicted the dog's mood. Lightening it up also allowed the slanted horizon, intentionally angled to build a little contra-action to the implied motion of the dog, to better play it's part.The dog's face was not drawn properly. The eye sat too low, and the nose was twisted and not grabbing the light properly.My poor girl had a scrawny neck that was impossibly thin, and her chest and shoulders were not properly illuminated.It is so key that your subject be drawn properly to begin with, otherwise all the masterful handling of paint in the world cannot do it justice. Use a mirror to study the drawing in reverse or flip the piece on it's side/upside down to more handily see draftmanship mistakes.
It's also imperative that your focal point is first and for…

Breathe In - Terrier

"Breathe In,"8" x 10", terrier puppy portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, available for purchase. Inquiries may come to me. I hate it when this happens. I work all day on a painting, think it's done, allow it to dry, photograph or scan it, and then see problems when I view it on the monitor. Want to tell me what you think needs tweaking? Practice your critical eye, and watch for an update. I'll make corrections to this one tomorrow. Meanwhile enjoy her expression, and know that this painting will rock your socks off with a couple minor shifts. Have a great evening, Kim ksantini@turtledovedesigns.com

Black Cat

Yes, I know you were regalled with equines last week, and I promised some dogs, but today belonged to cats. The sun was warm and strong, the best kind for basking, and I got to thinking that it's been nearly a year since I helped my Miah cross the bridge, so a black cat seemed to be in order.

FROM TOP: "Black Cat, Green Eyes," 6" x 8", $324 and "Glancing Sunlight," 4" x 8"; both acrylic on canvasboard, depicting a black cat in the sunlight. Inquiries may always come to me.
Both SOLD. This is Sing-Song, who belongs to a friend of mine, who, surprise!, is another artist. "Glancing Sunlight" is my gift to Donna as a thank you for the use of her black cat photos, which translated so very nicely to paint. (There's another one which I will take on at a future date). What else is up? Hmm. let's see.... I am the guest blogger on Horse Artist Carrie Lewis's painting blog this week. My painting "Black" was honored…

Snow Greetings

"Snowy Greetings," 12" square, chestnut Thoroughbred filly portrait, acrylic on canvasboard, $529 to the first taker. This is a tough piece to photograph - with the amped contrast and saturated complimentary colors, my camera didn't know what to do.  I may try to scan portions of the painting and piece it together in photoshop, but meanwhile inquiries may come to me.This little lady was half of today's Kentucky Derby pARTy - Linda Shantz will be presenting the other half later today. This is what a "pARTy" is - we are both painting from the same reference photo.I didn't think to take progress shots of my painting, but will do so next time. Linda's painting is here and you can view her process as it unfolds. I'll add my image to the site later today.How did this piece come together? Well I started out with a violet underpainting (the compliment of orange), and pretty much had the drifts and swaths of snow painted in the first pass.…