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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

And Down the Stretch They Come !!

"And Down the Stretch They Come!!," 7" x 14", painting of a racetrack scene inspired by Saratoga, detail below, done in acrylics on museum quality panel, $549 to the first asking nicely. 

In process views of this painting are available on the studio Facebook page.

Requests may always come to me (and yes I am happy to set up a payment plan and yes I take credit cards and yes return collectors get 10% off all original panel paintings all the time).

I am so happy May is here!!  

Because it's Derby Week, baby!! All horses!!

I spent last night reviewing photos, editing and cropping and trying to figure out what to paint this week. So many choices, not enough days!!

I've got 8 compositions but only 5 painting days, so I'll have to work quickly and productively if I want to do them all.

I cut to the chase this morning, bypassing most of my morning studio routine to get right to work. All day long I heard the thunder of hooves and the roar of the crowd, over which echoes the famous line "...and down the stretch they come!!"

It's going to be a fantastic week!!

I hope you enjoy!!

From Amazon, the book "Belmont Park, A Century of Champions," featuring artwork by Richard Stone Reeves.
Richard Stone Reeves, My First Equine Artist Mentor

I was one of those kids who never stopped drawing horses. And took every opportunity to look at them, whether it was nose plastered to the car window on Sunday drives, scouring the latest Sports Illustrated magazine for photographs of equine athletes, or pouring over every single book in our library that included horse illustrations.

When I was a young adult/teenager, over the course of 6 years, I had a Richard Stone Reeves book continuously checked out.

In high school I wrote him a letter (I'm dating myself, because this was long before email!) asking his advice on becoming an artist.

He told me to never stop drawing. To take every opportunity I had to draw everything I saw - not just horses. And to never stop learning and working to get better at truly seeing the world. That if I couldn't draw well, I could never expect to be a decent painter.

I am so grateful for his advice, as it truly shaped my approach to making art. And I am proud to carry it onwards and share with my own students.

I wish I'd have had the opportunity to meet Mr Reeves, who passed away in 2005. I satisfy myself with enjoying his artwork in person whenever possible and continuing to thumb through my own copies of his books.

Friday, April 27, 2012

May Desktop Calendar

(Yes, I know this photo shows a May calendar where the month starts on a Monday, and that is just wrong. So very wrong. I know that the month starts on a Tuesday, and when you download the file from my website, you'll get a correct calendar. I promise!!)



Have you been enjoying the monthly desktop calendars built from my favorite Painting a Dog a Day pieces? I hope so!! I'm sending May out a little early because next week is Derby Week, and I want to share 5 equine paintings!!

So, they aren't dogs, but I'm hopeful these ladies will bring a smile to your face this month!! This painting is available for purchase, too - it's a highly colorful 9" x 12" for $529.Email me if you are interested!!

To implement the calendar, 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. 

May 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!!! 

I think Spring might be here to stay for a little bit,

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Garden Muses


"Garden Muses," 6" x 12", commissioned double portrait of water spaniels, done in acrylics on museum quality panel, private collection (with many thanks!).

I couldn't get to the easel quickly enough today - there's something about the call of an unfinished painting that lures me into the studio with a powerful pull.

The majority of today's work was done with Augie and Luna's references tucked away. Instead, I imagined them in front of me, the kiss of sunlight on their muzzles, the hum of crickets and peepers in the background.

I've sent this image off to my client and am hoping she's doing cartwheels about now.

Have a fabulous evening!

"Little Spider," a 6" square portrait from last year's Derby Week, currently available to purchase via Mackinac's Little Gallery. Inquiries here.
Derby Week!

Hard to believe that the first Saturday in May is nearly upon us - who's your Derby favorite?

As is tradition in the studio, I shift my focus during Derby Week to equines. Next week, all week, I'll paint only horses - not just racehorses, but mustangs, foals, and horses of a different color (or two).

You can expect the dogs to return to these parts on May 7th.

Meanwhile, rider's up!!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Garden Muses, In Process

In process "Garden Muses," 6" x 12", commissioned double portrait done in acrylics on museum quality panel. Don't you love Luna's eyelashes? What woman wouldn't kill for those?!

I'm currently accepting commissions and even have a couple spots left for delivery by Father's Day - email me if you are interested.

Both Augie and Luna had wonderful lives. My client has the fondest memories of time spent in the garden with them, so it seemed fitting that their portrait be staged in the same place. My goal is to infuse this painting with their two distinctive personalites and the unique flair of a particular location.

(I also love the way the garden growth, which reads as foliage, also reads as abstraction and patterning)

See you tomorrow!!


Thank you to all who sent in suggestions for titles - there had to be about 75 in total!! I narrowed it down to 8, and then brainstormed further from there, and then the collector who purchased this piece asked that I keep the title the same.

Of course I can do that!!

Meanwhile, this painting is signed and finished and will be heading to it's new home next week - thank you so much!

Meanwhile, if you would like to order notecards or reproductions of "Tussle" or any other of my paintings, you can do so here.

And let me tell you, I'll have to come up with some paintings to call "Co-Op," "Hot Potato," "Fracas," and "On the Ball," just to name a few!!



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Still In Process

This painting needs a title - help me!!

The working title is "Tussle," but I'm not such a fan of that anymore. There is more of a genial sharing happening here, and I'd like the title to reflect that. Suggestions may come to me.

By the way, this is a 12" x 16" piece, and you can see in process pics on the studio's Facebook page.

A little bit ago the manufacturer of the paints I use, Golden, challenged their artists to allocate one entire day just to painting. To turn off the phone and the computer and ignore the stack of papers on the desk and just play with paint.

Well, being the OCD control freak that I am, I cleared my calendar and actually planned for an all-day paint last week.

And ended up with a sick child at home.

For 5 days.

So I wasn't about to fall into that trap again!!

I grabbed what I could today - 6 hours at the easel - which wasn't bad considering I also had to pick my car up from the shop, run two carpools, and take one child suit shopping (prom. sigh.). And while it wasn't enough time to finish this painting (which I started in March as a demo piece), it was enough to make me feel as though I accomplished quite a bit.

I'll sign this one tomorrow, and get another onto the easel as well.

Hoping the near future allows you to schedule a day packed with the thing you love to do the most,

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Fresh Palette

This afternoon I set up a fresh palette. Doing this always makes me feel like it is Christmas morning, all fresh with possibility and suprises.

I've talked about my setup and working with a limited palette before. But the last time I did so was in February of 2011 - since then, I've made some new discoveries and thought a few merited sharing.

I work with a Masterson Stay-Wet palette using a mix of Golden Heavy Body and Open Acrylics(*). I set my palette up the same way each time I paint, and can generally get 4 or 5 days of painting accomplished prior to having to set up anew.

During this time I will occasionally mist the surface with a spray bottle (of water). I also have a designated spot (between the Light Green and Quin Crimson on the lower right) where I place one small drop of essential oil on the palette sponge, to counteract any mildewy odor from the palette or paints as they age.

And what started out as limited palette experiment with 10 colors and white has now expanded to include 22 colors and white. A complete list is included below.

I have chosen to limit the open acrylics (highlighted with an *) included on my palette for a couple reasons. One, they are water thirsty by nature, and slowly puddle and creap across the surface. And two, I am an impatient painter and often need to work overtop a dry surface. I have found that using too high a concentration of the opens keeps my surface too wet for too long, resulting in mud.

I am still challenged (or feeling thusly) with my ability to properly see and mix greens. In an effort to build a greater variety of them, I introduced three tubes of green to my layout earlier this year.

I still don't use black. I have found many wonderfully rich and dense mixtures using the colors primarily on the upper and lower right edges of my palette - I prefer these combinations for the shadowed areas of my compositions.

And while I have a pool of white paint on my palette, I use that mostly to tint the yellows, pinks, blues and violets. I use those tinted mixtures to create my higher keyed values - I rarely use white straight from the tube for my lightest lights and I rarely use white straight up for mixing those lightest lights. To me, adding white seems to suck the color right out of the paint, the result looking dull and chalky.

Ok, off the computer and back to the easel! Thanks for reading along and happy color mixing to those of you that indulge!!

My Colors
Starting with the white in the upper left corner and moving clockwise, my colors are as follows:
Titanium White
Light Ultramarine Blue
Light Turquoise (Pthalo)
Manganese Blue Hue
Cobalt Blue
Anthraquinone Blue
Pthalo Blue (Green Shade)*
Dioxazine Purple*
Light Violet
Terra Verte hue
Green Gold
Light Green (Yellow Shade)
Quinacridone Crimson
Cadmium Red Dark
Cadmium Red Medium*
Cadmium Red Light
Cadmium Orange
Quinacridone Red Light
Medium Magenta
Light Magenta
Cadmium Yellow Dark
Cadmium Yellow Medium*
Hansa Yellow Light*

Friday, April 20, 2012

Teddy and Comfort Zones


"Teddy," 8" square, portrait of a stuffed bear (buy the painting, get the bear too!), $199, inquiries may come to me

Today I broke routine and painted from life, using a well loved treasure The Princess and I rescued from the stuffed animal bin at the Salvation Army.

We are creatures of habit. We love routines. Routines get us moving and make us happy and comfortable because we know what we are capable of and what to expect in return. But routines can also create a false sense of security. They can deceive us. They can hold us back. We all have that little voice in our heads that reminds us “Why try things differently when the status quo has been good enough all along?”

Because if we don't step out of our comfort zone, break that routine and give something new a try, we are seriously shortchanging ourselves. We limit our opportunity to learn, we allow fear of the unknown to rule decision making, and we firmly root ourself in present circumstances.

10 years ago I was a painter, specializing in lifesized or larger animal portraits. As you might imagine, these paintings took a month or more to finish. And as two or three pieces left the studio, dozens more were brewing in my head. I wanted to paint some of my ideas, but couldn't justify compromising commissioned projects to do so, nor could I turn down paying projects to explore unproven concepts and experiment with my materials.

After much anxiety, I decided to carve an hour out each day just for my own muse. It was terrifying, the idea of working on a piece for only an hour, especially when I spent weeks on the larger paintings. I gave myself permission to fail - but just as importantly I held myself accountable by building a blog and sharing my ups and downs. My daily painting project began, and within a few short months it literally changed my world.

Over the course of the next six years, what started out as creating daily paintings purely for me became
…....accepting daily commissions which became
… regular sales and branding Painting a Dog a Day which became
…....partnering with animal welfare groups, supporting fundraising efforts through the sale of my art, which became
…....premium press and publicity which became
…....raising the bar and studying my craft which became
…....painting exhibition pieces winning honors which became
…....accolades earning teaching credentials which became
…....desire to articulate which became
…....writing multiple books which became
…....a backbone of workshops which became
…....visibility to galleries and representation which became
...... whatever tomorrow brings.

Of course, there were lots of pitfalls along the way, like in real life. It's not been all fun and games – it's actually been harder work than anything I could have imagined. But it's also far more rewarding.

And none of this would have happened without stepping outside my comfort zone one day and challenging myself to paint something within the window of an hour.

What are you afraid of? Break that routine and see what magic you can create for yourself!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Cleo, Double Take

Above, "Contented (Cleo)," from the "Cherished" series, 7" x 11", portrait of Cleopatra the Tabby of the Nile, acrylic on museum quality panel, $469, inquiries may come to me

Below, On Top, "Jen's Cleo," also from the "Cherished" series, 4" x 7", starring the same Cleopatra, acrylic on museum quality panel, collection of Jen. 

Below, On Bottom, the photograph inspiring the above two paintings.

In process views of each painting can be seen on the studio's Facebook page.


I used to do this all the time - work on two paintings of different sizes simultaneously.

Not sure why I haven't done so recently - it's a great exercise. Provided your marks are the same in scale from panel to panel, it helps your eye to simplify forms (an exercise in painting loosely). It also trains and tests your drawing skills while honing color mixing abilities.

I also like to use this as an exploration point for trying out various splashes of random color. The larger painting provides an opportunity for a greater variety of color, and the smaller painting demands more harmony.

I'll have to do this exercise again!



Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Princess One & Princess Two


"Princess One & Princess Two," 12" square, commissioned portrait of royalty, acrylic on museum quality panel, private collection (THANK YOU!), inquiries may come to me


Tomorrow my princess returns to school after 5 days of serious couch warming.

I am looking forward to tackling something extraordinary at the easel. No worries about emptying the throwup bowl or popsicle breaks or switching out the DVDs in the player or hitting the whole house with a fine layer of Lysol.

That is, as long as no one else comes down with this.....

Pray for me!

Kiss (Baci)


"Kiss (Baci)," 5" square, from the "Cherished" series, acrylic on museum quality panel, $239, inquiries may come to me


I would say that the "Cherished" series is off to an excellent start.

I'm looking for a few more muses - details on how to submit your companion animal are on the blog.

And now to get my butt in gear and submit that exhibition proposal so that we are official and stuff with contracts and all.

And then I can share the exciting news with you!!

Best stop wasting time, then, eh?

Just a little taste of what we'll be doing
in the adult journalling class this week,
 using doodles culled from the garden and 
water based media.
grownUPs Journalling

It's the 3rd Thursday this week, which means the grownUP journallers will be meeting at Little Monsters in downtown Lake Orion. Class is from 6-8pm and we'll be learning some doodle sketching techniques using watermedia and working from life. Email me for more information!


Monday, April 16, 2012


"Hagen," 5" x 7", acrylic on museum quality panel, depicting a German Shepherd, private collection (THANK YOU!!).

While Hagen's painting already has a home, I would be happy to create something special just for your - email me! Sketches start at $99 and paintings on panel, like this guy's, at $209.

Hagen was born in Germany, and returned there for training. He failed training, though, because he didn't understand biting. Hagen is extra special in that he is a certified, non-biting GSD.

How cool is that?

I met Hagen this last February, when he was a finalist for the Painting a Dog a Day Valentine's Giveaway. You can see the reference photo that inspired his painting to the left, and the other finalists (many of whom I've already painted) here.

Thanks, as always, for looking at my artwork and sharing it with your friends,

Please Do Forward to a Friend!

Thanks so much for sharing the Painting a Dog a Day love.

grownUPs Journalling

It's the 3rd Thursday this week, which means the grownUP journallers will be meeting at Little Monsters in downtown Lake Orion. Class is from 6-8pm and we'll be learning some doodle sketching techniques using watermedia and working from life. Email me for more information!

Casting Call!!

I am still looking for muses to star in my new series of paintings "Cherished."

Details available here.



Similar Dog-a-Day Paintings

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin

All the Dog-a-Days Ever......