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.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

From Behind, In Process

IN PROCESS: Above, detail of one of eight equines in "From Behind," pictured in it's entirety below. This panel is 36" x 11", depicting Thoroughbred racehorses on the track, done in acrylic on a museum quality panel. Inquiries may come to me.

Above, the inspiration photo which I took at Saratoga Racetrack several summers ago (Please do not copy or create your own artwork from this photo). I'm moving horses about and have given the lead ones a bit more space to run into, which helps balance out their momentum. I'm also simplifying the background so that the focus stays in the foreground on that far left horse, right where I want it.


This is a very large (especially by Dog a Day standards) 36" wide painting.

You can see the early stages of the piece, including the fabulous Quinacridone Red Light and Ultramarine Violet underpainting, on the studio's Facebook page.

I'll continue uploading images of the painting to Facebook as it progresses. This one most likely will take a couple days to complete, given it's size and complexity. Feel free to post questions over there, and we can get a dialogue happening that other artists and fans might appreciate.

It'll be good practice for me, as I'm doing a live paint demonstration next week and haven't talked about my process out loud for a bit.

Now, off to field a few emails before returning to the easel - feel free to share this image (or any of my artwork) with your friends and family (and thank you for asking first!!),

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sweetpea, A Painted Sketch

"Sweetpea," nearly 5" x 4" roughly centered on an 8" x 10" paper, a commissioned sketch done in paint, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may come to me.


Sweetpea is a doll, isn't she?

She's a rescued chihuahua-doxie mix with quite the personality. She skitters in lieu of walking and is rather clumsy, yet endearing. She can launch herself onto the couch after lapping the family room to get up speed. And she loves drive by face slurps.

And soaking up a little sunshine, too.

I'm looking forward to hearing the reaction from Sweetpea's Dad when he opens his birthday gift,


The Princess has some sort of virus and has been hanging with me in the studio instead of going to school.

Today we worked together on Carla Sonheim's Silly5 Class, an online workshop that tied up today but I hadn't even had a chance to start (and you can still sign up and participate, so have at it!).

We sipped tea and got all giggley over making blind contour drawings and making up silly vocabulary words (chapoosa = breakfast burrito).

Sick days weren't this much fun when I was a kid.

Monday, February 27, 2012

March Desktop Calendar




Have you been enjoying the monthly desktop calendars built from my favorite Painting a Dog a Day pieces? I hope so!!

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, don't email me for advice. Instead consult your computer's help files - they will be more concise, more knowledgeable and more responsive than I could ever hope to be. 

March 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!!! 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Beauty Rest

"Beauty Rest," 11" x 14", portrait of a mixed breed rescue, done in acrylic on a museum quality panel, not currently for sale. Inquiries may come to me.

You saw a detail of this one in process only yesterday, so I know that you recognize and remember Daisy, one of the Dog a Day Valentine's Giveaway finalists.

In process pics of Daisy's special portrait - including yesterday's morning painting session and my late night rendezvous in the studio, are on the studio Facebook page.

I have big plans for this painting, and cannot wait to share it with viewers.

Enjoy the weekend and thanks so much for supporting my artwork -

What Daisy
Taught Me

I am not a patient painter. I want to get right to work, the good stuff, and have it done 10 minutes ago.

That's why fast drying acrylics are a good match for me. And probably also why my style has evolved to include drawing marks amid wide swaths of paint.

But yesterday I learned to slow down and make better plans before jumping in.

You see, I started this painting without a clear idea of what pattern to put on the couch (the reference photo had a solid and neutral slipcover). And that meant I waffled about, making poor background decisions, and really mucking things up.

I took a break and forced myself to choose between stripes or floral. I looked at different patterns and color combinations, and thought carefully about what each might convey regarding Daisy's personality.

And when I returned to the easel, I painted giant blue and lilac blooms with conviction.

As complicated as the floral pattern looks, it was far easier to paint than the layers I set down (and painted overtop of) earlier in the day.

Once I found my direction, the path was clear. I need to slow down and make sure I know where I'm headed before picking up the brushes.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Beauty Rest, In Process

IN PROCESS: Detail of "Beauty Rest," 11" x 14", portrait of a mixed breed rescue, done in acrylic on a museum quality panel, not currently for sale. Inquiries may come to me.


This is Daisy, one of the Dog a Day Valentine's Giveaway finalists.

Her painting is a big one by Dog a Day standards, at 11" x 14", but I wanted her portrait to carry an oversized dose of personality and color - it has to reflect her, after all! And this is just one tiny corner of the whole panel. 

In process pics of Daisy's portrait are on the studio Facebook page - if you take a peek, you can see how I structured a multi-valued underpainting to roughly match up with the composition, and the photos will take you through my drawing process (done with a paintbrush into wet paint), the initial block in (where I start to establish values and patterning across the panel), and additional layers of marks.

You'll even see where I messed up and lost my sense of direction with respect to the chair. I regrouped, but ran out of time to finish the piece before needing to punch in for my chauffeur job.

I'll be back in the studio tonite a big mug of hot chocolate in hand (most likely with a dollop of an adult beverage), and see if I can finish it.

Meanwhile, there's a poll on Facebook - should the chair be striped (one of my favorites!) or floral (as a nod to Daisy's namesake)?

I always love hearing your thoughts - and look forward to sharing a finished painting with you soon -

Stay warm and safe if you are in the path of this new winter storm - we're due to have some thundersnow later tonite ourselves!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Twilight, A Painted Sketch ~~ Kimberly Kelly Santini

"Twilight," 5" x 8", portrait of a well-loved Beagle, done in acrylic on a museum quality panel, not currently for sale but reproductions available soon. Inquiries may come to me.


I've painted the rescued and elderly Jessie before, and when I recently put a call out for senior muses, her Mom reminded me that I had photos on hand in their file.

I immediately remembered the photos, especially the one where Jessie's shadow stretched out before her like a lifetime of memories.

And that is what I painted today, using a series of glazes to build up a background that just glows with color and soft light.

This painting is headed to an exhibition, the Canine Art Guild's show featuring "Old Friends." I need one more muse to complete my entries - do you have any ideas?email me!

Thanks for supporting my artwork!!

My New Favorite

Even in the early stages, this painting stole my heart. Partly for the color and harmony, partly for the composition, partly for the story it told.

It's a dangerous thing, connecting emotionally with an image in process, because it can tinge my decision making and work against me. When I fall in love with an in-process piece, I resist making changes in order to salvage a particularly lush passage. Or out of fear I can't pull it off.

Don't laugh. I have an entire shelf full of unfinished paintings that have done just that. 

One day I'll have enough knowledge and muster the courage to tackle them.

One day.

But today I'm just delighted to have created "Twilight."

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Got Milk II


"Got Milk II," 5" x 12", Gypsy Vanner mare and foal painting done in acrylic on a museum quality panel, for sale via gallery representation. Inquiries may come to me.


Another piece that is hopefully heading to a new gallery.

Tomorrow, I promise, I'll return to the dogs!!

And to a regular routine - The Monkeys (aka kids) have been home the last couple days on a mid-winter's break. Who's idea is this whole "mid-winter break" thing? Don't The Powers That Be know that there's work to be done?  Work that doesn't happen when there's bickering, front doors left open, extra monkeys in the house, the TV going full blast, blah blah blah blah blah.

In process pics of "Got Milk II" are on the studio's facebook page.

Now to get a good night's sleep so that I can be extra efficient in getting everyone on the bus with a full belly in the morning (insert evil laugh) -

Kiki Kelly Dances

Kiki brought her bag of tricks to the Dance Convention last weekend. She sat in the ballrooms during class while the kids danced their hearts out, doodling her own designs to the beat.

Here's her latest piece, titled "Vivaldi."

Reproductions and notecards can be ordered off FineArtAmerica.

Thanks so much for supporting the dreams of working artists.

Monday, February 20, 2012


"Pink," 6" x 12", pastural scene done in acrylic on a museum quality panel, for sale via gallery representation. Inquiries may come to me.


I am working on a collection of paintings that I hope to be sending next month to a new gallery - a space that's new to me and new to it's community. The contracts are not yet signed, so I'll hold off on sharing details until everything is finalized, but rest assured that I will shout this news from the mountaintops when all is official.

Meanwhile, I'm researching the area and putting together some new work for them to review along with a half dozen or so favorites from my archives.

"Pink" is part of this grouping and could be shipped out soon, if the gallery owner agrees that Pink'll be a good fit with the artists' she's representing. 

In other news, I survived the weekend's Dance Convention very nicely, thank you. And earned myself an invitation into a ballet class for regular life drawing. Starting Wednesday.

I best go sharpen my pencils! 

Reference Photo

Above is the reference photo that inspired "Pink." Warm thank you to SS for sending this photo over and granting me permission to paint it! 

The changes I made were small, but they resulted in big shifts - tilting the horizontal lines/planes, pulling the far horse in a little closer, bringing my value range in tighter, paying attention to local color reflections, and eliminating the fence lines and barn.

And while I absolutely adored the peace signs on the blanket, ultimately they were too busy to be included successfully given the final scale.

It's worth noting that the above photo is not included so that others may paint from it. The photo is copyrighted (and unless noted specifically, all the images I share are copyrighted). Artists must first obtain permission from the photographer - even if they are making changes to the photo like I did above!

Don't get caught up in copyright shenanigans - it's not worth the damage to your reputation or the loss of creative energy.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Hello Kitty (Dexter)

"Hello Kitty," 6" square, commissioned portrait of an orange tabby cat, done in acrylic on a museum quality panel, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may come to me.

Dexter's a wonderful, cuddly cat who can't get enough of snuggling. Given that he also loves to sleep in the crook of someone's arm, this seemed like an appropriate pose for his portrait.

Psst - this painting is a birthday gift for Dexter's Dad, so if you know his family, please help us keep the secret.

Psst again - if you want to gift something as amazing as a pet portrait, shoot me a note. I'm fairly certain we can work something out!!

Now I'm off for a dance convention with The Princess this weekend, sketchbook in tow. While she's studying with a variety of dance instructors, I'll be sketching the dancers.

That's a combined 16 hours of life drawing come Sunday.

Pray for me (life drawing was never my strong suit!!) -


Big Daddy,
Bonus Painting

I've been having fun at the easel - here's a bonus painting that I did late yesterday afternoon. The sun was shining and Adele was serenading me, and I just couldn't put my brushes away (thanks to My Better Half who indulged me by cooking dinner, too!).

"Big Daddy" is a 4" x 6" museum quality panel, and you can add it to your collection for $239. There's only one Big Daddy, though, so when he's gone, he's gone.

Email me if you are interested!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Quackers

"The Quackers," 4" x 11", done in acrylic on a museum quality panel, not for sale. Inquiries may come to me.


A girlfriend sent a distraught email yesterday - it appeared that a neighbor's dog had delivered an untimely death to her children's pet ducks.

My heart broke.

The Quackers were incubated in their home and hand raised by her four children. They were more than just egg layers or grub eaters - they were family members and a vehicle for teaching some incredible life lessons.

But this particular life lesson could have been skipped entirely.

RIP, Quackers. 

I hope this painting arrives in time for a certain someone's birthday. I wrote on the back, "Hold tight to your memories and The Quackers will always be close."

Thinking of those who have lost loved ones today,

In news at the exact opposite end of the spectrum, Ms Poo (painted last month) brought 7 pups into the world on Valentine's Day.

There's no pics up on the website yet, but I'm certain they will come.

Congratulations to Red River Vizslas and their connections - I'm looking forward to watching the Allstars grow up!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Shake That (Violet)

Introducing your Painting a Dog a Day Valentine's Giveaway Winner, Violet: "Shake That," 8" x 10", portrait of a lab mix, done in acrylic on a museum quality panel, my Valentine's Day gift to Violet's family. Inquiries may come to me.


I hadn't yet made up my mind as to which of the 14 finalists would be my Valentine muse when I punched out yesterday.

Then I dreamt that Violet was with me. All nite, she kept showing up in the most random places, rubbing her wet body against my legs and shaking her thing. Although I was dreaming, I could feel the cold water and sandy grit (and no, the kitten wasn't sneezing on me!). 

This morning a good tooth brushing took care of the wet dog smell, and after a buge mug of tea to warm my bones I decided she needed to be on my easel (I didn't want to be chased by her all nite again!!).

I think things turned out very well. I hope that Violet's family agrees!!

In process images of Violet's painting are on the studio Facebook page.

Happy Heart Day,

Here's the reference photo of Violet that inspired her painting above.

See some changes? they are intentional - the horizon line got slanted to counterbalance her body's lean to the right. I also dropped it to intersect with her face, thus reinforcing the focal point. I pulled her tail away and to the side to eliminate that circular negative space above her head that was distracting.

As is usually the case after I scan a painting, I see some changes I'd like to make - like removing the violet in the water, so that Violet the dog takes front and center a bit more. That will be easy enough to do with some glazes later tonite.

But meanwhile, keep in mind that using a photo as a reference does not mean that you have to bring every single element in the photo into your painting. Be smart and pick and choose only those things that will make your piece stronger.


Monday, February 13, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!



Thanks to everyone who played along with the Painting a Dog a Day Valentine's Giveaway by sending me photos of their dog, cats, horses and llamas!! This year we had 42 families enter and narrowing the choices down was very difficult. I suppose if this is the toughest my job ever gets, I have it darned easy, right?

But meanwhile, the finalists are up!! you can view the top entries in this year's Painting a Dog a Day Valentine's Giveaway on the studio's Facebook page, right here.**

I chose images that made me ache to paint them - some may seem obvious for their sense of humor or dramatic lighting, others perhaps only I can see the potential - but the common thread in all these references is that they touched my creative core.

So one of these photos will be the inspiration for tomorrow's Valentine's Day painting.

And that painting will shortly be winging it's way to the muses' home - this is the annual occasion where I gift a painting to one lucky fan!

Who do you think it will be? Log into Facebook and leave a comment on your favorite image. I will not be swayed by popular choice, although it will be fun to read which images are your favorites and why!

Here's to a fabulous week!!

**My apologies in advance for the large copyright notices I placed on the finalists' photos. Too many people claim ignorance of copyright law and are pirating photos found on Facebook and the internet, using them for their own purposes. As these photos were subimted specifically for Dog a Day portrait consideration and not the general public's use, I wanted to make certain that even though I shared them via Facebook, I also protected each photographer's copyright with a watermark. Thanks so much for your understanding!

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