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.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Striped, In Process


In Process, "Striped," from the "Cherished" series and the latest Mona Lisa inspired portrait. Done to celebrate her second birthday (happy, happy day, Mo Bug!), this one is 12" x 16", acrylics on a museum quality panel, and when finished, will sell for $629. Inquiries may come to me.

If you are a Facebook fan, you will have seen many, many, many, many in process views of "Striped" (some of them actually including stripes!) on the studio's Facebook page. I've been working on this one the past three days.

And this painting is kicking my butt.

A great example of a reference photo that required a number of adjustments to translate into an equally stunning painting. And instead of stepping back and mapping out a clear plan once I discovered this, I continued to march forward without much direction.

I have a clearer vision now of where to take this, and I'll have a go at it later tonite.

Meanwhile, wish me well!! Cross your fingers and toes and light a candle. Eating a warm brownie on my behalf wouldn't hurt, either.

Thanks for following along with me and my art journey,



This is my reference photo for "Striped," the painting in process above. It's a horrible photo, but it gave me the basic elements of an outstanding composition. I chose to paint it based on those merits alone.

See, the whole painting is layered stripes - the stripe of the striped quilt (with a folded corner also bearing stripes) with a stripe of a striped kitty overtop.

But once I painted it, I discovered the delicate stripes and lighter quilt (high key) were too much in contrast with the softer, rounded, much darker kitten (low key). I should have just put the painting up and moved to something else, allowing my subconscious to solve it.

I know better than this. I do. But I get seduced by the paint and the process, even when it doesn't work.

Shame on me!


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Halo's Heart

"Halo's Heart," from the "Cherished" series, 9" x 15", one of two portraits I'm creating of this gorgeous long haired German Shepherd puppy. This one is acrylics on a museum quality panel, and she will go to the first one raising their hand for $529. Of course, first dibs on both Halo pieces belong to her Mom, but in the meanwhile inquiries may come to me.

If I still have the painting this fall, Halo will be part of myArtPrize installation in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

In process views of this piece are on the studio's Facebook page.

And now I'm rushing back to my easel - I have another very wet piece happening, and want to keep momentum going for as long as I can!

Thanks for following along with me and my art,

It's Summer Vacation, Baby!!

Which is a big deal to Clover and Lily, pictured above. They get far more priviledges during summer vacation than, say, in the middle of winter when it is a chore to shovel a path out into the yard and chisel the ice off the roof of their hutch.

This week, the girls have been enjoying daily afternoon siestas on the back porch (the same porch that got a fresh look with Van Gogh's Irises, of which you can see a small corner underneath their toes), complete with fresh apple slices and organic greens direct from the garden (which they so generously fertilized!).

They seem to especially love stretching their legs, and reward us with joyous twistey-stretchey jumps and hops - we call them Binkeys. They also play a bunny soccer with Mona's toys (much to Mona's chagrin! she's not so good at sharing, and watches with great interest from the other side of the back door).

(Just in case you are curious, these young ladies came from our animal shelter a few years back. Yes, shelters have far more than cats and dogs - check with yours to see if they can help you find the perfect companion animal for your family!)


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

July Desktop Calendar



You have to give me credit - I bid my time patiently before sneaking Mona into the calendar rotation! This painting was the portrait I created to commemmorate her first birthday. In the next week or two, I'll be painting her 2nd birthday portrait...... not that she's grown in stature. Just attitude. But she IS a cat, after all.....

To implement July's desktop 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. 

Mona 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!!! 


Monday, June 25, 2012

Been Busy


It's been quiet on the studio front, but trust me, lots has been happening. Just a few highlights:
  • The Caped Crusader graduated 8th grade and is officially a high schooler, and, far more importantly now, a high school football player.
  • The Princess completed 5th grade with high honors, and is headed to rule middle school with a kind and gentle heart.
  • Jetted to El Paso, Texas, to witness the baptism of the newest little Kelly, baby Dylan.
  • The Man Child got his first job, working at his favorite place in the whole world. McDonalds.
  • Had a sunset bar-b-q (NO hamburgers!) and counted the stars as they came out.
  • Spent a day at Wet -n- Wild water park. A 114 degree day. But it was a dry heat.
  • Weathered a fierce storm that brought down one of the tallest, most ancient trees in our yard.
  • Picked - and processed - nearly 20 lbs of fresh strawberries.
  • Had a fish fry.
  • Walked barefoot in Paint Creek.
  • Painted Van Gogh's Irises on my back porch floor.
  • Enjoyed the Santini clan - including my niece who flew in from Paris - at the baptism of little Hazel-nut.

Good times - and I hope you and yours have been enjoying them too!

For those of you new to Painting a Dog a Day, in the summer months, I tend to paint during the late nites, so as to have day time hours with the kids. Now, with one curled up with a book, another on a sleepover, and a third at a friend's house, I am able to step into the studio and throw some paint around.

Let's see if I can remember how it's done!

Thanks for following along with me and my art,
P S July's desktop calendar will come tomorrow - I didn't forget!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

You're Running Out of Time ~~ AirMail Journaling

The welcome postcards for my summer workshop AirMail Journaling will be mailed tomorrow. The cards include a tune-up exercise to get participants primed and ready to go.

What's AirMail Journaling?
  • 5 art journal lessons mailed to your home (or an address of your choosing) - lessons include directions, prompts, ephemera and materials, along with sample images 
  • we start the week of June 25th and will continue through the end of August - the lessons will be mailed every two weeks
  • there's also a private, online classroom where participants can share their images and have a dialogue about processes/ideas

So, how much for all this wicked sweet journaling goodness?

Only $30. 

I kid you not. Only $30 (within the US - additional fees for international addresses apply). Simply paypal funds and I'll get off a materials list and class outline.

What will we be doing? I'll give you a glimpse:
  • self portraits with experimental lettering
  • mail and index card art
  • working with silhouettes
  • layers, layers and more layers and even more layers
  • various drawing approaches
  • working from life
  • rubbings
  • embellishments

Can you stand it?

Sign up now - email for more info.

Thanks for following along with me and my art,
P S End of school year: one half day. Start of vacation:  one half day and a hair.

What is art, or creative, journaling? It's taking a blank book (or page) and dumping your feelings onto it, using whatever sorts of marks and materials you desire, text optional. My grownUPs class meets on the third Thursday of each month - the above sample is a demonstration of what I call "Reality Doodling," making a doodle inspired by an actual object.


I'm off tomorrow for a whirlwind visit with my new godson.

Behave while I'm gone, will you?

I will check email occasionally, and may respond if the baby is asleep and I haven't had too much sangria (and I speak from experience in saying that, yes, you can have too much sangria).

I'm returning to town just in time to teach next week's grownUPs Journaling class (at Little Monsters Toy Store from 6-8pm).

I am REALLY excited about this new lesson I've prepared - it's tactile and patterned and a riot of gooey delicious color.

RSVP if you wanna come!!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Quincy Sunshine

"Quincy Sunshine," nearly 7" x 8" (just a little shy of 8"), portrait of a puppy, done in acrylics on a museum quality panel, $379 to the first one raising their hand. Inquiries may come to me.

Quincy is a yellow lab-golden retriever cross, bred and raised within PAWS to be a service dog. He was career changed due to health issues, which meant - hooray! - he could return to the family who raised him.

Career changed doesn't mean couch potato, though. Quincy is a certified therapy dog, visiting hospitals, libraries and nursing homes in his area. He also competes in dock diving, flyball and agility.

This painting is headed to an online exhibition - let's see if Quincy can't also take the art world by storm!!

In process views of "Quincy Sunshine" are on the studio's Facebook page.

Thanks for following along with me and my art,
P S End of school year: 1.5 days and counting. Start of vacation: 1.51 days and counting.


I've taken very few breaks in the last few years.

Those with active kids know how difficult it can be to schedule any sort of get-away between school and other commitments.

And those who run their own businesses know that a vacation turns to punishment upon returning because a week's worth of tasks are piled up on top of what needs to be accomplished. Yesterday.

But it's not every day that I get the opportunity to visit my brother and his wife and their sweet baby boy all the way in Texas. Which is what I'll be doing come Friday, y'all.

I will check email occasionally, from pool side, or perhaps while the baby is sleeping (unless I'm cradling him, in which case, sssshhhhh!), so don't panic if it takes me a bit to respond. Purchases and shipment details will be arranged the following week. And my brushes can patiently wait for me to return as well.

Meanwhile, squeeze your little - and big ones - and enjoy the cusp of summertime.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sadie Belle, A Painted Sketch

"Sadie Belle," a commissioned portrait of a mixed breed dog, image roughly 5" x 6" on an 8" x 10" paper, done in acrylics, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may come to me.

Sadie found her family via the SPCA - they thought they wanted a lab mix, but she didn't have to work hard at all to get them to change their minds and open their hearts to a border collie-terrier mix.

This portrait is another gift (do you detect a trend here?). Yes I accept commissions, can work something up in secret, or deliver a gift certificate all on the sly. Email mefor the deets.

Thanks for supporting me and my dream of being a working artist,
P S End of school year: 2.5 days and counting. Start of vacation: 2.51 days and counting.

Elizabeth St Hilaire Nelson's "Clarissa Crab," used with permission

Take a Workshop
with Me

Yup, that's right - come learn alongside me. I'm going to be sitting front and center in Elizabeth St Hilaire Nelson's "Paper Paintings" collage workshop at ArtCenter Traverse City this coming August.

You've seen her work everywhere - she's won awards left and right and upside down (I stopped counting the number of times I've seen her in The Artists Magazine). And I've heard rumors that she is a "riot."

Elizabeth builds her art from hand painted papers collaged overtop a colorful underpainting on wood. This is a process she has evolved over the years into a distinctive method, a method that can be taken in a number of different directions with our own personal style and media.

It's a guaranteed good time - what's not to love about painting and collaging and built in entertainment?

More info is here.

See you there!!

Monday, June 11, 2012



"Gus," a commissioned portrait of a bull dog, 8" x 10," done in acrylics on a museum quality panel, private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may come to me.

You gotta love a man who gifts his bride a pet portrait. Talk about starting things off proper!

If you know this man, or this bride, or this dog, please keep this a secret - Gus's portrait will be waiting for them to return from their honeymoon.

And you know, I can do this sort of thing for you, too. But I can't read your mind - you've gotta first send me an email.

Thanks, as always, for supporting and following along with my artwork!

P S End of school year: 3.5 days and counting. Start of vacation: 3.51 days and counting.

"Untitled," 1981, photo courtesy of Christies
Jean-Michel Basquiat

How I wish I were in NYC this week, so as to get a peek at Basquiat's "Untitled" (pictured above) before it travels to London for auction at Christies. Whether or not you like the piece (it's predicted to break Basquiat's previous auction record, with an estimate of $20million), there's no denying it's importance, and Basquiat's influence, in defining contemporary art history.

My favorite job in "The Real World" happened to me fresh out of college, working at a fine art auction house. You never knew what would come in the door on any given day - a genuine Tiffany floor lamp, a two-sided Picasso drawing, a Dale Chihuly bowl, a Grandma Moses painting.

I learned to ask questions and listen to more than the answers given, consult experts, and open my mind up to the glory of the artists' vision. Whether or not I would choose to live with it, whether or not I was able to afford it, whether or not I could even connect with the work, each piece carried it's own redeeming qualities.

And what I wouldn't give to be a Christies employee today, taking my breaks in front of a contemporary masterpiece and soaking up a little Basquiat-ian influence.
I would love to hear your thoughts on which artists inspire you and why. Please leave a comment!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Annie, A Painted Sketch


"Annie," a painted sketch, approximately 4" square on an 8" x 10" archival board, done in acrylics, depicting a mixed breed dog, private collection (THANK YOU!).

Little Annie is blind and battling heart failure, so her family treats every day as a gift. She enjoys a posh, quality life, though, and is always ready to bestow - or receive - some loving.

Thanks, as always, for supporting and following along with my artwork!

Enjoy your weekend -

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Westen, A Painted Sketch

"Westen," a painted sketch, approximately 4" x 6" on an 8" x 10" archival board, done in acrylics, depicting a mixed breed red merle dog, private collection (THANK YOU!).

I sketched out a second portrait today, but didn't get to her and am quickly running out of steam. Tomorrow, after a morning appointment and a quick trip to the Apple Store, the bank, and the post office.

It seems like my painting time is slowly shrinking. And the kids are in school for one more week before it - POOF! - really disappears.

Thanks, as always, for supporting and following along with my artwork!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Runt, In Process


Detail of "Runt," in process - you can see my struggles with this little one on the studio's Facebook page. Poor "Runt" is a perfect example of not having a solid painting concept when I picked up my brushes.

That, and my palette was starting to dry out, but I still had a mess of paint laid out I didn't want to waste. So my lack of a plan was further complicated by forcing goo-ey paint to move more than it wanted to.

See? Even I have rough days and make mistakes.

After 1343 paintings.

You think I'd've learned something by now!!

I will save this painting, but after I take a break and can approach her with a fresh eye. Meanwhile, tomorrow I'm going to work on a commissioned piece. With a solid gameplan.

Thanks, as always, for supporting and following along with my artwork!


Over the weekend, The Princess and I completed a 7 foot long mural that will be inset into our home's front porch ceiling. We both are fans of Van Gogh, and his Starry, Starry Night seemed like the perfect inspiration.

And now I'm thinking that the back porch floor needs a fresh coat of paint. Irises, anyone?


Monday, June 04, 2012



"Joy," fresh off the easel, another from the "Cherished" series, 6" square, acrylic on museum quality panel, depicting a Chinese Crested Powder Puff, Zephyr (aka Fleef, Fweet and Fleefles). Isn't she the most expressive thing you have ever seen?

Zephyr's Mom gets first dibs, but should she pass, the painting will be offered to the next taker. "Joy" can be yours for $299 to new collectors, or $269 to repeat offenders. Inquiries may come to me.

Several in process views of this Muppet, err, princess, are on the studio's Facebook page. Take a peek and comment or ask questions about my process or the ingenue herself - I'll get you answers asap!

And please don't forget that inquiries, including how you can get a portrait of your own dog, can always come to me

It's too late to arrange for Father's Day delivery of a painting, BUT it's not too late to coordinate a gift certificate, and let Dad take part in the process. Which, honestly, I think is the most fun.

Next, that is, to the reveal!!

Thanks, as always, for supporting and following along with my artwork!

"Peonies," a spread from my journal demonstrating Reality Doodling, a technique for quickly capturing the essence of an object. This will be one of the topics covered in this summer's AirMail Journal Workshop
This Week

Wednesday evening I'm honored to be the first presenter for the Orion Art Center's new lecture series "Art Biz." I'll talk a bit about the studio practices I've used to build my business the past 10 years. We have limited space, so interested attendees should contact Lauren at the OAC.

Sunday afternoon I'm leading the final session in our Spring journaling workshop for children. I have a couple open seats - if you are interested in sending your child or have questions about the program, let me know.

Enrollment is ongoing for my summer workshop AirMail Journaling. Class will start the week of June 25th - Additional information, including how to sign up is on the blog.

And for those who have asked, yes grownUPs Journaling classes will continue to meet on Third Thursdays throughout the summer! PleaseRSVP for these sessions so that I bring enough materials for all attendees.

Thanks so much for supporting my artwork!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Sibling Rivalry

"Sibling Rivalry," the newest installation in the "Cherished" series, 10" x 18", acrylic on museum quality panel, depicting a pair of chocolate labs wrestling over a frisbee, only $629 to the first taker.

Check out the detail of the dogs' faces down below.

Lots of in process views of this painting are updated on thestudio's Facebook page. You are invited to take a peek and comment or ask questions about my process.

And inquiries, including how you can get a portrait of your own dog, can always come to me!!! Thank you!!


This painting was inspired by a series of photos taken at Frankenmuth, Michigan's Dog Bowl last weekend. So many dogs, so many painting ideas, and today I got to indulge in one of them!!

Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork!

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