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, January 31, 2012

Vintage, In Process


NOT QUITE YET FINISHED - "Vintage," 11" x 14", done in acrylics on a museum quality panel, created using a photo from my personal stash, not currently for sale. However, inquiries may come to me


I was sifting through photos this morning when I came across an old favorite of my daughter with a friend's dog. Dear Ruby has been gone for many years but her memory remains strong, and not just in this household.

I reached a stopping point for the moment (gotta get dinner going), but you can view in process images of "Vintage" on my studio Facebook page.

But my next step will involve redrawing the chair, correcting proportions, getting Ruby's weight properly situated on her butt, and laying down more glazes that will create a stronger sense of space.

I'm not going for an exact likeness - I want to tell a story. A story about two ladies, each weathering the indigities of age with grace and calm. 

And I've gotta get all this done by midnite because I plan to enter this piece in a competition with a deadline of, you guessed it, midnite tonite.

Meanwhile, shoot me an email if you want to commission something special of your own. Because that's what I do. When I'm not procrastinating about other things, that is!

I'm off to fire up the grill!!

Reference Photos

Above is the photo that inspired Ruby's painting "Vintage" - I always loved this chair - the stories it could tell!! And clearly Ruby loved the chair, too.

That's The Princess behind her - she's gotta be about 2 I'm guessing (which makes this photo about 9 years old - oy!). She spent many an day with Ruby and Ruby's Girl.

Good times, right? Isn't that what a painting is supposed to invoke?


Monday, January 30, 2012

February Desktop Calendar




This year I'm gifting monthly desktop calendars built from some of my favorite Painting a Dog a Day pieces. Ideally I'll send them out on the last Monday of the previous month, so keep your eyes peeled!

To implement, simply download the calendar file directly from my website. I've set up a couple different ways to do this, either via the photo album or a direct link.

I am by no means an expert on the variety of operating systems, so I highly recommend that if you don't know how to change your desktop wallpaper, please don't email me for advice. Consult your computer's help files - they will be more concise, more knowledgeable and more responsive than lil' ole' me. 

February is sized to fit a standard screen height of 768 - I realize there are lots of variables that could impact how this file displays on your screen. Let me know if, once you get the file installed, there are display quality issues (keep in mind, too, that options such as "stretching to fit," "tiling" and "cropping" will impact your display, so check those first!).

Meanwhile, enjoy!!! 

And don't forget today is Draw a Dinosaur Day!!

And stay warm,

Friday, January 27, 2012

Spa Fine Art

Image design courtesy of Spa Fine Art, Saratoga Springs, NY.


It is with great pleasure that I welcome Spa Fine Art into the Painting a Dog a Day family. Near historic Saratoge Springs Racetrack in upstate New York, Spa Fine Art is the latest gallery to represent my artwork.

As you may know, I make an annual summer sojourn to Saratoga to collect racing references and enjoy an artists retreat with a number of friends. Spa Fine Art is a favorite stop of ours - after we load up on pastries at Mrs. Londons, we gorge ourselves on the eye candy at the gallery.

Spa will hang a dozen of my paintings now, with plans to add new pieces in the coming months.

I think this will be the perfect partnership to showcase my love of equine paintings in particular, and I look forward to working closely with Spa Fine Art as we begin to share my paintings with a new audience.

You can check Spa out on the web and on Facebook. And if you are in the area, stop by to say hello.

Oh, and don't forget to grab a latte and something decadent a few doors down at Mrs. Londons!

PS I am looking for some creative suggestions for a new piece on my easel - you are invited to chime in!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Go, Dog, Go (Jack), A Gratitude Painting

"Go, Dog, Go! (Jack)," 5" x 11", portrait of a doxie with special needs, done in acrylics on a museum quality panel, $299. Proceeds from the sale of "Go, Dog, Go" will benefit the San Francisco SPCA in California, where Jack is an "employee." Inquiries may come to me


A Dog a Day collector, in cahoots with her daughter who's finishing up verterinary school in California, sent me several folders worth of muses. Photographs of clinic dogs and kitties, as well as pictures of friends' pets.

That's how I met Jack.

He came into rescue with a previous back injury that left his hind end paralyzed - his family was undergoing difficulties and could no longer keep him. He went into an emergency foster home, but that home's resident dog had other plans. She bonded with Jack, as did everyone else, and he became a fixture.

Jack leads a very active life, and his wheelchair does not slow him down in the least. His Mom says that he even goes faster than daschundly possible on occasion.

And he always has his tennis ball close at hand.

The best news? that Jack is regaining function in his back legs and sometimes stands up on all fours to eat!

Cheers to all those foster homes that take in special needs animals like Jack!!


PS You can see all the Gratitude Paintings to date here.


Finnigan contemplates various angles in preparation for setting up a dinosaur live drawing session on Monday

Draw a Dinosaur Day!!

You read it right - on Monday, January 30th, it's Draw a Dinosaur Day.

At some point a person decides if they can or cannot draw. Those who think they cannot give it up and rarely attempt to doodle anything but smiley faces and tic-tac-toe boards. For the rest of their lives.

How sad it that?

So on Monday, regardless of whether you think you can or cannot draw, I challenge you to try your hand at a dinosaur. 

And then load it up onto the officialDraw a Dinosaur website.

And then YOU can turn around and challenge your family members, friends, and co-workers to do the same.

Drawing is supposed to be fun, contemplatative and an escape from reality. See if you can't capture a little bit of that on Monday!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mo, A Painted Sketch

"Mo," approximately 4" x 5" on an 8" x 10" sheet of multimedia artists board, a commissioned portrait, done in acrylics, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may come to me


I have a limited number of painted sketch spaces available - let me know if you are interested in commissioning one.

Prices for the painted sketches start at $99 for an image roughly sized 4" x 5" on an 8" x 10" paper. The price increases with the overall size, level of complexity in the portrait and density of detail.

Send me a couple photos and we can work out a great little painting for you - or for someone you love (Shadow's portrait is going to make a certain someone very, very happy!!)

Now a break for ballet class and a basketball game, then dinner and a glass of wine, before returning to the studio this evening,



The 2011 Dog a Day Valentine Giveaway painting "You Will Be Mine," a 6" x 8" panel in a private collection.

Get Outta the Way - Valentine's Day is Coming and I Want YOU to Be Mine......
Starting NEXT MONDAY (no early birds, please!!) send 2-3 clear, non-flash copyright free photos of your pet to me, using the subject line of "Valentine." Be creative in your photos - I will be looking for artistic merit, not just cuteness!!

JPG files (the photos you submit) should be at least 5" wide on the longest side and at 100dpi.

Entries must be received by midnight EST on Friday, February 10th, 2012.

One entry (2-3 photos of same pet = one entry) per household, please.

I will do my best to acknowledge receipt of all entries - last year there were over 90 pets submitted, so I anticipate a crowd! (View last year's finalists.)

All photos will be reviewed, but only those submitted using the above guidelines will be considered, so please take the time and make my job easier by following directions!

On Monday, February 13th, I will share the finalists' photos on the studio Facebook page, and on Tuesday (Valentine's Day) I will reveal this year's Dog a Day Valentine.

The winning image will be chosen by me exclusively based on design elements apparent/inspired by the photographs. 

The Dog a Day Valentine painting will be sized according to the composition, but at the very smallest will be a 5"x7" museum quality panel - this is a guaranteed prize of at least $289.

Winner will be responsible for shipping costs.

Please also keep in mind that by submitting your photos you are (1) guaranteeing that you own the copyright to the photos in question (meaning you took them yourself) and (2) granting me permission to use your photos/pet's likeness in a future painting. You have no obligation to purchase future paintings your photos or pet inspire, but you will have first right of refusal.

Now go, off with you, and take some amazing photos!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Shadow, A Painted Sketch

"Shadow," approximately 4" x 5" on an 8" x 10" sheet of multimedia artists board, a commissioned portrait, done in acrylics, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may come to me



I have a limited number of painted sketch spaces available - let me know if you are interested in commissioning one.

Prices for the painted sketches start at $99 for an image roughly sized 4" x 5" on an 8" x 10" paper. The price increases with the overall size, level of complexity in the portrait and density of detail.

Send me a couple photos and we can work out a great little painting for you - or for someone you love (Shadow's portrait is going to make a certain someone very, very happy!!)

Now I'm off to the post office to get a few other paintings on their way home,


Gray is Available!

My client made her decision, choosing the landscape version of Stanley the kitty for her home.

Which means that this dear little painting is now available!! Add "Gray" to your collection for $299 (preferred collectors' price is $270).

First come, first served - just let me know!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sweet Poo Dreams


"Sweet Poo Dreams," 6" x 8", done in acrylics on a museum quality panel, starring my a very special dog (read below), $329. Proceeds from the sale of this painting will be donated to the Vizsla Welfare Foundation. Inquiries may come to me



I've known this wonderful young lady, officially Red River's Southern Harmony, aka "Potter" or "Poo," since she was a wee little pup, and I've watched her grow up into a marvelous hunting companion and dear friend.

Well, virtually speaking, that is!

While I've not actually met Poo, I did paint her mother many years ago, thus starting my friendship with Red River Vizslas (BTW, an AKC Breeder of Merit, how cool is that!!). Since then I've painted many a dog in the Red River family, so Poo's been well overdue her moment in the spotlight. 

Just look at what this wonderful girl has accomplished so far - Poo is a dual champion in both show and field, an Amateur Field Champion, a Junior Hunter, and has earned a Versatility Certificate.

She is also a soon-to-be-mom. Poo's due around Valentine's Day...... (hmm, I wonder how long before I get to paint them.....)

You can learn more about Vizslas at the Red River website.

You can see a couple in process images of Poo's painting on my studio Facebook page.

And you can shoot me an email if you want to purchase this painting or commission something special of your own. Because that's what I do.

Happy Monday!!

More From
Kiki Kelly

My childhood friend has added more multi media images to her FineArtAmerica storefront. 

These pieces would truly brighten up a room - or someone's mailbox. Take a peek and chase some of the winter duldrums away.

Thank you so very much for supporting artists and their dream.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Blue Sneak


"Blue Sneak," from the Gratuitude Painting series, 5" x 11", done in acrylics on a museum quality panel, starring my own little sneak, Mona Lisa, $329. Proceeds from the sale of this painting will be donated to the Oakland Pet Adoption Center in Auburn Hills, Michigan, where Mo-Bug hailed from. Inquiries may come to me



Today I couldn't get started on anything until I did a little bit of cleaning in the studio - it's been awhile since the dust bunnies had been herded into another room of the house!

While I was sorting through piles and finding homes, I discovered a stash of scraps from previous cut-down panels.

One of them called out to me, begging for an image. 

I couldn't say no.

Hence the title, "Blue Sneak." This panel snuck onto my easel unplanned. Just like it's subject sneaks up onto my taboret and flips dirty brushes out of the water cup. And just like she then streaks off to make mischief elsewhere.

In process images are on my Facebook page!

Next week, I promise there will be dogs painted!! and maybe a horse or a cow, I haven't quite made up my mind.....

Happy weekend!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Gray (Stanley's Profile)


"Gray (Stanley's Profile)," 6" square, done in acrylics on a museum quality panel, one of two paintings starring this sweet little muse (the other one was shared yesterday). Inquiries may come to me.


I wanted to point out that while the nature of my subject matter dictates that I primarily work from reference photos, I make certain to also use artistic liberties to create a piece that is entirely new.

For instance, the background in the photo for "Gray" was dark and flat like the picture in the sidebar. Softening that background allows the viewer to notice all the other edges inside the painting, not just the profile edge. It also turns the eye into the focal point (since the eye now contains the largest area of the darkes dark).

I also relied on my visual memory to add details to the painting that were not present in the photograph. Hints of color inside the iris, a wash of pink underneath the lighter fur to warm up and refer to Stanley's skin, and a richer array of middle tones to five the fur density and interest, just to name a few.

In my book, there's far more to using reference photos than being able to copy them, hair for hair.

Off to a journalling class!

PS My client has a couple days to make up her mind, so if you are interested in either of the Stanley paintings (yesterday's or today's) please let me know and I'll keep you in the loop. Thanks!!

What Makes a Good Reference Photo?
Part II

I shared a few tips yesterday, and want to continue that thread today.

The animal does not have to be looking at the camera. Have a friend dangle a treat just outside the picture frame, and snap some shots.

Butt shots are entirely ok. Wagging tails or dogs trotting off translate to nice paintings.

Photograph black dogs in the shade on a sunny day - give it a try and you'll be delighted at the results!!.

Photos taken outside in the early morning and late evening have extra drama.

Don't place the animal between you and a light source unless you WANT a silhouetted shot.

And remember to turn off your flash!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012



"Stanley," 4" x 8", done in acrylics on a museum quality panel, one of two paintings starring this sweet little muse. Inquiries may come to me.


I was commissioned to paint Stanley here, and I had the best sort of problem. That being that my reference photos were TOO good (this is a rare problem, but one that I absolutely love to encounter).

The photos were SO VERY good that I couldn't choose just one to paint. 

I tried. I worked from my client's favorite one, creating the portrait above. And yet I wasn't ready to put my brushes down.

So I decided to start another. And shot an email off to my client that she would have a decision to make. And picked up my brushes a second time.

And I nearly got it finished. Took a break for ballet class. Then a basketball game. Then a band concert. Then dinner. Then a glass of wine. Then some chocolate.

And then reality kicked in full force.

Things will just have to wait until tomorrow.

It's a good thing Stanley's patient.

Although, I could make it a late nite.......

What Makes a Good Reference Photo?

Well, first off, the animal needs to be in focus. You would think this is obvious, and yet.....

And the animal needs to be larger than thumbnail size. Honest, I can't pull facial details out of a 1" wide image - I've tried!

Turn the flash off on your camera. Flashbulbs scare animals and wash out details like hair growth patterns, irises and actual fur coloring.

Experiment with different angles. Shoot from their eye level, the floor, directly above.

Take advantage of natural lighting. Doorwalls and windows at a 90 degree angle to the dog provide a wonderful source of illumination.

Take a look online at some professional pet photographers. Do a little research. 

Just depress the shutter button and move around your dog - then review what you've taken. You will be surprised!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

DInnertime (Duchess), A Gratitude Painting


"Dinnertime (Duchess)," A Gratitude Painting, 6" x 8", done in acrylics on a museum quality panel, $329 to the first buyer to ask "pretty please." As with all other Gratitude Paintings, proceeds from the sale of Duchess's portrait will benefit animal welfare groups - please continue reading for more details.


Duchess hailed from the no-kill group Animal Aid Societyin Virginia, a group I got to know through a Dog a Day collector.

She was a long term resident - and a favoriite- at the shelter. She survived two surgeries (to reduce her hip pain) before developing an inoperable tumor near her heart. She was buried at the shelter.

This is how the volunteers remember her - Duchess loved to carry her food bowl around. It is my honor to add her painting to the Gratitude Project and my portfolio.

The Gratitude Project, for those of you who are new to Painting a Dog a Day, is a series of paintings starring once homeless pets. Proceeds from the sales of these pieces are donated back to the host groups.

You are invited to view - and shop from - the Gratitude Series here. And I welcome introductions to groups you have personally worked with and can endorse.

I encourage support of your own local shelters and rescues through donations of linens, pet toys, cleaning products and old newspapers. Some groups need help with maintaining their websites or photographing the animals available for adoption or grooming/bathing those in their care. There's so many ways to make a difference, and I know they will love hearing from you!

Now I'm off to rustle up some dinner for my own family!!
Thanks for following along,


My little studio muse Mona Lisa was once homeless herself.


I kid you not - I get daily requests to donate art. I would love to help everyone out, but were I to give to all who asked, it would take me years just to create the paintings.

I do, however, think that giving back is a huge priority. That is why philanthropy is a big part of my business plan.

  • I donate 10% of my gross sales to animal welfare.
  • My family and I volunteer at our local animal shelter.
  • I volunteer within my community and local schools.
  • I provide free consulting to a number of local groups I've had a long relationship with.
  • I have a select number of animal rescues I partner with on special programs.

So thank you for thinking highly enough of my work that you would like to include it in your fundraiser. However, I will respectfully decline participating and wish you the best of luck!

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