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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

In the Driver's Seat

"In the Driver's Seat," 8" square, dog portrait of a Weimereiner chauffeur, acrylic on canvasboard, $349. Inquiries may come to me.

Yesterday's painting "Riding Shotgun" sold in record time (THANK YOU!), so I was still without a second entry for the Art & Automobiles Exhibition.  Artwork is due at the gallery this coming Friday, so I spent today building another automotive themed painting. Should "In the Driver's Seat" sell prior to Thursday, I am happily throwing in the towel. (For those of you who are not artists, most galleries/juried exhibitions require artwork be for sale while hanging in their space/show.)
Maybe this is a sign that I should pass on juried exhibitions and focus exclusively on my family of collectors. (I'm prepping a piece for next year's Art Show at the Dog Show right now, though - what to do with that? maybe one of you could be bribed to take it off my hands......)
Maybe it's just a sign that dogs and cars are a great theme for paintings. I mean, come on - how great is it to be driving into the great beyond with a drooling and happy passenger leaning out the window (and no, I'm not talking about your 2-legged friends)? 
I tend to think the latter..... and seriously, I'm enjoying the challenge these more complex compositions provide - all sorts of edges, values, surfaces, textures, reflections - feel free to keep the photos coming, and I'll do my best to keep up.
I'm well into my summer vacation, which traditionally is when I spend less time at the easel and more time on marketing, editing the next volume of my book (Book 2, "That's Fourteen in Dog Years," is due at the end of this summer and I have lots of work to complete still!), and other studio projects. This summer I'm also gutting the studio and doing a big remodel - we have an almost 100 year old home and I bet the current studio wallcovering is close to that old. There may be a couple of days that pass without any new paintings but rest assured I'm busy working behind the scenes.
Thanks for sharing my artwork, too. I always appreciate that.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Riding Shotgun

"Riding Shotgun (Border Terriers)," 4" x 5", dog painting in acrylic on canvasboard, framed in custom gold carved molding, $284. Inquiries may come to me.

Remember last week's painting "Backseat Drivers"? It was headed to an exhibition this week and not for sale. Well a new collector asked "please?" enough times that I opted to sell the piece to her and create a different one for the show (which focuses on our love of the automobile, hence the recurring car theme).
Just to eliminate any potential groveling, "Riding Shotgun" is on the market right away. If I still have it by Thursday morning, it'll go to the show. If it sells, well then I've got another dog and car piece on the easel as a backup.
Never a dull moment around these parts!
Thanks so much for sharing my artwork with your friends and family, and for saying "please."

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ethiopian Puppies

Untitled, 8" x 10", acrylic painting on board, depicting a litter of mixed breed puppies. This painting is part of the collection of the Amsale Gessesse Memorial Foundation (THANK YOU!!), and will be used as part of their educational efforts related to improving quality of life for homeless animals and pets in Addis Ababi, Ethiopia. I've said it before, but it is a tremendous honor to be partnering with them.
While these pups look cute and cuddly, the reality is that they are street wise dogs who are lucky to see a meal every couple days. There is a strong possibility they will contract rabies or one of many other life threatening diseases, and that's if they are not first killed by a citizen who thinks they are doing their community a favor (by controlling the homeless animal population).
The Amsale Gessesse Memorial Foundation has partnered with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and the Humane Society International in introducing a Trap Spay/Neuter program in Addis Ababi. They also are focusing on educating community members about humane and basic health care and maintenance. You can follow their progress on the Best Friends website.
Thanks as always for following along with my paintings.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Backseat Drivers

"Backseat Drivers," 8" x 16", acrylic on canvasboard, not yet for sale. This painting has been created especially for the "Art & Automobile" exhibition at Starkweather Gallery in Romeo, Michigan. The show opens Friday, July 10th. "Backseat Drivers" (complete with a gorgeous custom frame) and a larger than lifesize canvas of a Vizsla ("Chauffeur," 36" x 48", shown below) will both be available for purchase through the gallery during the duration of the show. I'll share their contact information after I deliver the paintings. 

A few weeks back I asked for photos of your dog(s) riding shotgun. I got some really wonderful shots, allowing me to sift through a mess of ideas and different compositions. It came down to a couple of possibilities, from which this (first) painting emerged. Special thanks goes out to Miriam Hughes of Chester County, Pennsylvania for the reference photo that inspired "Backseat Drivers."
I've finally gotten around to setting up a public page on Facebook, which is a way for those interested to stay in touch with studio happenings. I'll share announcements and a calendar of events, along with links to pertinent information as such things arise. Feel free to stop by and become a fan of my artwork (Facebook's phrasing, not mine!) and participate in the dialogue with other members of the Dog a Day community (there's a little discussion forum there which I think is kinda cool, but I'm a geek for that sort of stuff). You can find my public page under "Kimberly Kelly Santini."
Thanks, as always, for sharing my artwork. You do a spectacular job of spreading word about the Dog a Days, and that makes this project all the better. A round of cold brews for all of you (root beers for those who are underage) -

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Great Expectations (Rerun)

This one's an oldie but a goodie. "Great Expectations," from May 25th, 2007 (the first year of Painting a Dog a Day), painting 6" x 6" finished to a perfect 12" square, depicting a Pomeranian dog, exquisitely framed, $349. Inquiries may come to me.
This little gem has made her rounds to a number of juried exhibitions, winning hearts and awards across the state of Michigan. She's now back in the studio and looking for a new home - will it be yours?
I spent today finishing up another painting for the Amsale Gessesse Memorial Foundation (am awaiting approval on the image before I share). I also continued work on a new exhibition piece for an art show devoted to automobiles - of course my entries revolve around dogs and their love of car rides.
Tomorrow will be spent finalizing my newest painting (working title "Backseat Drivers") and editing the studio newsletter, which should have been completed before school let out. Just not enough hours in the day!
But tonite it's an early (for summertime) turn in. Have a new book to curl up with and a fresh box of wheat thins - not the Mission to Marzipan Ben & Jerry's that I really want, but a compromise. 
Thanks as always for looking at and sharing my paintings.
See you tomorrow,

Monday, June 22, 2009

Beast of Burden

"Beast of Burden," 8" x 16", commissioned donkey painting, done in acrylics on canvasboard, part of a corporate collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may come to me.

I have been commissioned to create a new series of paintings depicting the plight of animals in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It's a tough subject matter, for the majority of the animals I've seen (via photographs) have been malnourished, terribly overworked, and suffer a poor quality of life. I want to paint them as they are, but also highlight the majesty and strength they possess. It's a wonderful challenge and i've enjoyed working the concepts up.

You can read more about my client, the Amsale Gessesse Memorial Foundation, and their advocacy at their website. The Foundation has partnered with Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and the Humane Society International, pioneering a Trap Neuter Program in Addidas Ababa and making significant progress in countering this community's homeless pet problem. Additinal information is on the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary website. It is an honor to support the Foundation's efforts through Painting a Dog a Day.

Thanks as always for sharing my paintings!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ajax's Ball

"Ajax's Ball," 6" x 8", commissioned dog portrait starring a white Boxer, acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may come to me.

With Ajax's Ball, I completed the grouping of Boxer portraits. I've included another image below, so that you can get a sense of how they all work together (and see my paint splattered studio floor....).
I was careful to use a variety of canvas sizes, but didn't make the paintings all matchey-matchey. They are linked because of their subject matter and style, and will be further enhanced with coordinating frames and additional photographs of the dogs. It will be a truly stunning collection, and a great tribute to the heart and character of these three rescued dogs.

I welcome the opportunity to discuss your animals and put together a special painting or two for your home. You can always contact me with your ideas.

Thanks again for sharing my paintings!
Have a great weekend, Kim

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Brothers," 8" x 16", Boxer portrait of two handsome boys, acrylic on canvasboard, wonderfully framed, $649. Inquiries may always come to me.
I'm well overdue for adding new paintings to my Etsy store, and will do so later tonight. Feel free to pop in there and take a peek around. You're bound to find something special!
I've also got several new entries to post on the In Memoriam blog. I'll get them up later this weekend.
Thanks as always for looking at and sharing my paintings with your friends and family.
I'll see you tomorrow,

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


"Ajax," 6" x 12", dog portrait of a Boxer, acrylic on canvasboard, $359. Inquiries, including how you can commission your own Dog-a-Day painting, may always come to .
Ajax is one of three Boxers belonging to my client (you've already met Bacchus and Loki). Like many of my customers, she is active in rescue. It takes a generous soul to not just open their homes to these dogs (who often come with special needs), but to also understand their foibles and provide the guidance and training necessary to help them successfully find forever homes.
My hats go off to her and each of you who give so much already. Take a bow!
And if you haven't already shared your rescue story with me, please do. I would love to profile your dog as part of Painting a Dog a Day. Stories and images may come to me at .
And thank you also for sharing my paintings with your friends and family.
See you tomorrow,

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Creative Journalling

Tonight was my first Creative Journalling for Kids session at the Orion Township Public Library. I had a mess of 8-12 year olds who signed up for this introductory level class.
What's Creative Journalling? It's a means of combining sketchbook & diary, and the most perfect way for kids of all ages to learn the joy of personal expression.
We started out with a review of some great pages (check out the book 1000 Artist Journal Pages by Dawn Devries Sokol) to get our juices going. We brainstormed as a group based on what we had seen, then each student created an inspiration card - a bookmark sized index card they filled with keywords and ideas from which to build pages. 
After that I handed out moleskins (little blank books) and set up stations with gel pens, markers, colored pencils and crayons (including the wildly popular crayon muffins, broken bits of crayon melted in muffin tins for fist sized rainbow-hued coloring).
We started with a title page and worked our way in. Each student made at least one page, combining elements like poetry, cartooning, stencilling, doodling and free-word association. One young lady drew her imaginary friends and wrote an entry about how much she loved them. A boy in the group drew an item on each page, mis-labelling it (the orange crayon he colored was labeled "Blue Crayon"). Another creative soul included her own biography on the first spread, and invited her readers to leave their names somewhere in the book.
It was such a good time, we stretched the classtime another hour, only leaving because the library was locking up. When surveyed as they left, the students all said they would continue their journals over the summer. Mission accomplished!!
Over the weekend I'll lead another session for teens and adults where we'll explore collage and paint and layering different mark-making techniques. I'll do a second kids session in July, too, for those students who couldn't make it tonite.
And it looks as though Creative Journalling will be an after-school enrichment class at the elementary level during the next school year. I hope to see some of this evening's participants as part of these groups, and watch their creative voices mature.
I am thoroughly enjoying working with students (of all ages), and find that I walk away from the sessions having learned many new things myself.
I am terribly inspired but heading to bed - will use this motivation tomorrow,


"At the Top of the Stairs (Abby)," 8" x 10", commissioned pet portrait of a German Shepherd dog, acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may come to me.
I get asked all the time if I have a favorite painting, and my answer is usually a recent one. It has to do with the things I learn to do better with every piece I complete. But then there are those that stick around as favorites long after their turn on the easel. Abby's painting will be one like that - I think it's got to be one of my all-time best ever.
Today was the first official day of summer vacation. There was a bit of running about, getting everyone situated with their various activities. They all tumbled into bed with tired, smiley faces. We're off to a great start!
And I'm back into my summer routine of working late into the night. My biggest problem? determining the appropriate volume for my music..... if I use my ipod and earbuds, I end up belting songs out into the silence of the house. If I use itunes and the computer, the music wafts up the stairs - also not the best choice if I'm listening to something not entirely kid friendly (and the new Eminem cd is not something I want my 8 year old knowing all the lyrics to).
Tomorrow is the first of my series of summertime classes on creative (or art) journalling for kids. I'm all set with crayon muffins (crayon bits melted in muffin tins for multi-colored strokes), various types of markers (have you tried the opaque ones that cover just about anything? or Crayola's overwriters?), gel pens in 100 different colors, and my collection of alphabet stamps. The first page of our journals will be self-portraits, whether they are word based or an image. I'm excited to introduce this group of new students to the power of visual expression.
Which reminds me that I should share some of my recent journal pages with you. I've been playing with stamping (carving my own and using found items), collage, and layering pattern. I'll try to get to that later this week.
Thanks, as always, for looking at, and sharing my artwork.
See you tomorrow, 
PS I'm creating new paintings for an exhibition focused on automobiles, and would love references of your dog riding shotgun. Jpgs can be sent to - I'll acknowledge receipt of everything. Thanks in advance!

Friday, June 12, 2009


"Spunk," 6" x 8", commissioned pet portrait, acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!).
This painting will be a surprise gift from a group of girlfriends who have been sneaking around taking pictures of this little dog for the last couple months.  Her dog is her little shadow, and what a fitting gift his portrait will be. She has absolutely no idea about this (nor does she know about Painting a Dog a Day, although she has seen my paintings before and loved them). It's way too much fun working in secret like this.
If you would like to commission a portrait for a special occasion, let me know. We can book a particular day and cc the Painting a Dog a Day note to the recipient or we can do it all on the sly. We can also put together a beautiful gift certificate so that the recipient can share in the painting process. 
Thanks as always for looking at and sharing my paintings.
Have a great weekend! I'm off to bed - it's been a looooong week!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Cairn Heaven

FROM LEFT:  "Cairn Laughter (Jeff)," 6" square and "A Morning Stroll (Jeff)," 5" x 7", each painting a portrait of the million-dollar Cairn Terrier Jeff (so called because of his many vet visits). My client chose "Cairn Laughter," and a regular Dog a Day reader purchased "A Morning Stroll" shortly afterwards. Did you know you too can have preferential purchasing by subscribing to the Painting a Dog a Day newsgroup? Just train your email to fetch the daily paintings, and you'll receive them in your inbox several hours before they get posted to the blog.

As always, inquiries may come to me.
True Cairn fans can order a limited edition giclee (digital print) of "Cairn Kisses," the Dog a Day painting from May 12th, 2009. I picked the giclees up at the end of last week and they are beautiful - there's only 25 of them, and when they are gone, they are gone! (Thank you to those who are patiently waiting for me to ship yours - they will go out this coming Monday).
The trick with painting wirey and furry dogs is paying attention to the edges. If I were trying to paint every single strand of hair, I'd go crazy. So instead I mass in the bunches of fur, matching my brushwork to the direction of the fur, and starting from the underside/lowest layers and moving upwards to the top wisps.
And if you mix your paints so that subsequent pools of color are pulled from prior ones, you can get some gorgeous harmonies happening. (I use a Masterson wet palette which allows me a couple hours of wet time with acrylic paints on the palette, so I can at least mix my colors the same way I might mix or work a palette of oil paint).
If you have a minute, check out the Third Dog Blog Carnival, of which Painting a Dog a Day is a part. There's a host of neat canine related sites all under one tent.
Thanks as always for looking at and sharing my paintings with your friends and family.
See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


"Bacchus," 6" square, commissioned pet portrait of a Boxer, acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!).
Bacchus is brother to yesterday's Loki and to Ajax, whom you will get to meet in the days to come. Bacchus is a dear guy with a soulful expression (just look at those eyes) and delightful coloring (I think a snippet of literally every color in the rainbow is in this painting).
Inquiries on how to get your own Dog-a-Day commission (including gift certificates for Father's Day gift giving), questions about ordering my book highlighting the first year of Dog-a-Day paintings (the second volume will be out later this summer), and any other questions may always come to me.
Thanks, as always, for looking at and sharing my paintings with your friends and family.
Have a great evening,

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Loki's Bunny

"Loki's Bunny," 8" square, commissioned dog portrait of a Boxer, acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may always come to me, including requests about getting your own special Dog-a-Day painting.
A good portrait is more than a mere physical likeness. I have the choice assignment of painting a family of Boxer's in the coming weeks, and my goal is for you to KNOW these dogs through their portraits when I'm done. Not just to recognize them, but to be able to visualize them romping through the yard.
I've gotten a nice start here with Loki, and am very excited to keep the ball rolling.
If you've been following my articles on Art Career Expert, you might want to know that Part II of "I Want to Be an Artist" is published. My next article will be about competitively pricing your artwork. There's information on how to subscribe to the Art Career Expert newsletters on the site.
Thanks as always for following along with my paintings. You are always welcome to forward them to your friends - I appreciate the endorsement!
See you tomorrow,
PS Thank you to my returning client who snapped up yesterday's Golden Retriever Study. He'll be joining a wonderful collection of artwork in California. Did you know that if you already own one of my paintings, you automatically get 10% off future purchases? Feel free to break in that discount at my etsy store.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Golden Retriever Study

"Golden Retriever Study," 4" x 5", acrylic on canvasboard, mounted in a custom gold carved frame, $249. I could also take this painting out of the frame and sell it naked for $184. Inquiries may come to me.

This is an older painting, from before the Dog-a-Days started. I kept him for myself to enjoy for a bit (I was - and continue to be - partial to all the colors of the rainbow in this face), then splurged on a great frame and shared him through various exhibitions and events. I'm ready to let him go now, but only to a good home. Is it yours?
The artwork created at the Belmont pARTy was published online early this morning - you can view the pieces at the Virtual pARTy blog. There's also information on how you can participate the next time around.
Thanks as always for sharing my paintings with your friends and family,
See you tomorrow,

Friday, June 05, 2009

Gallop I and II, the Belmont pARTy

FROM TOP:  FROM LEFT:  "Gallop I (Gray)" and "Gallop II (Dark Bay)," from the 2009 Belmont pARTy, both 6" x 12", equine paintings in acrylic on canvasboard. Inquiries may come to me.
Today's pARTy reference photo was provided by equine photographer Juliet Harrison. I'd like to thank Juliet for sharing her imagery with us on our first open invitation pARTy.
The reference photo (which you can see here), from Saratoga, depicts two Thoroughbreds in full gallop, complete with jockeys and the track scene as a backdrop. Initially I planned on painting each horse on his own panel, with the gray one pulling away and the dark horse digging in. Somewhere along the line, however, I began liking the idea of them running free, and never added the jockeys, rail, or background sheds. I'm debating still whether I should leave the dirt/track surface in the foreground or carry the grass to the lower edge of the canvas.
The idea of diptych's has always fascinated me. I've done it on a couple other occasions (Pounce is one), and really enjoy the challenge painting companion pieces provides. It's even more challenging to get those works completed within the course of a day that also included delivering artwork to a gallery and the end-of-school-year carnival.
I haven't seen Linda Shantz's painting yet, nor any of the Belmont pARTy participants. I understand Linda would like to have them all posted by Monday. You can review all the artwork on the Virtual pARTy blog.
Meanwhile, here's to a safe trip and a good race.
Enjoy your weekend!
Kim Santini

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Zoey, a Dear Llasa Apso

"Zoey," 5" x 7", acrylic on canvasboard, commissioned portrait of a Llasa Apso, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may come to me.
I love all the energy in the brushwork defining Zoey's fur. Her coloring made it even more fun to lay the marks down.
It felt good to paint today, the first in almost a full week that I've been back at the easel. I took a handful of sick days, and am just now starting to feel like myself again. I am not a good patient, and I also realized how much I had taken my health for granted. I'll be more appreciative of it from here on out!
Tomorrow is another pARTy, this one in celebration of the Belmont Stakes, the third leg of the US Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. And, this time around, there is an open invitation to join us. Information on how to pARTy, including the reference photo, is available on the pARTy blog. But hurry - artwork must be completed and submitted by midnight Saturday.
Thanks, as always, for looking at and sharing my paintings with your friends and family.

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