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, September 28, 2012

Gone Fishing


"Gone Fishing," 12" square, done in acrylic on museum quality panel, depicting a dog (chocolate lab perhaps?) in water. In process pics of this painting are on the studio Facebook wall.

"Gone Fishing" will go home with the first to ask nicely - he's $599, or $539 if you are a collector- inquiries may come to me.

I'm having so much fun painting dogs and water - but pretty soon it'll be too cold for me to shoot my own references. That said, I'm always open to considering photos any Painting a Dog a Day fans have taken of their own dogs - you can email them to me directly. Submitting photos does not mean that you are obligated to make any sort of purchase, either - you are just feeding my muse, free of charge!!

Happy Weekend!
Kim, who's going to bundle up and cheer on the Dragons at tonite's Homecoming Game after she feeds her face

PS I'm accepting commissioned portraits for the holidays - let's begin planning your project now, before my calendar is full! email me
Share the Dog a Day love and forward this email to a friend - with my thanks, of course!

Thursday, September 27, 2012



"Scully," 6" x 18", commissioned pet portrait, done in acrylic on museum quality panel, private collection (THANK YOU!). 

There's nothing more difficult than painting a beloved pet who's passed away for a collector who is still in mourning. And there's nothing more joyful than hearing from that same client when they've added a new family member and are ready for a new portrait.

Such is the story of Scully's project. He joined his family in the shadow of Molly's memory, but quickly forged his own way. And won everyone's hearts in the meanwhile.

I mean, seriously. Look at that face. It's no surprise, eh?

Kim, who's off to cheer a certain football team Scully style, with full abandon and a silly grin on her face

PS I'm accepting commissioned portraits for the holidays - let's begin planning your project now, before my calendar is full! email me
Share the Dog a Day love and forward this email to a friend - with my thanks, of course!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012



"Dandy," 6" x 12", acrylic on museum quality panel, depicting a lively Yorkshire Terrier, $369. This painting would be a fantastic gift for a Yorkie Mom or a wonderful donation for a fundraiser. I imagine he will find a home quickly, so if you are interested in purchasing, pleaseemail me.

I messed up big time when I started Dandy - photos and documentation of one of my most common (and frustrating mistakes) are over on the studio's Facebook page.

You know, there's gorgeous artwork on the walls of galleries and museums, but don't forget that this is the censored version of artists' production. The next time you look at a finished painting, remember that there were many other pieces that went straight from the easel to the trash.

Kim, who's off to empty her trash bin

Share the Dog a Day love and forward this email to a friend - with my thanks, of course!

2013 Workshop Schedule

"Getting Fresh" is a course focused on color mixing and expressive brushwork. It is intended for the artist who wants to interject their art with fresh color and looser mark making. In some cases, the workshop will also include discussions on marketing and studio practices. 

I'll be bringing "Getting Fresh" to the following cities in 2013 - please visit my website for more specific details on each. 

Feb 15-17, Lake Orion, MI
March 14-17, Baton Rouge, LA
August 8-11, Traverse City, MI
September 11-13, St Louis, MO


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sleeping Beauty


"Sleeping Beauty," a Cherished painting and the latest piece inspired by Mona Lisa, 10" x 20", acrylic on museum quality panel. This piece will be entered in a portrait exhibition and available next month for $799 exquisitely framed - if you are interested in purchasing, please email me.

I've worked on "Sleeping Beauty" over the last couple days, and there are lots of photos over on the studio's Facebook page.

The reference photos for this painting were taken a couple years, back, within days of Mona's adoption. This was her first visit to the studio, where, after a cursory inspection of the room, she promptly found the warmest spot - my recently vacated desk chair - and oriented herself toward the sun. In reality Mona was about 2 lbs at the time - in this particular portrait, her head alone measures 5" - there's quite a difference in scale!

Kim, who's already a couple paintings ahead in her mind, working out compositions and color schemes and trying to improve with each one
Share the Dog a Day love and forward this email to a friend - with my thanks, of course!
2013 Workshop Schedule

"Getting Fresh" is a course focused on color mixing and expressive brushwork. It is intended for the artist who wants to interject their art with fresh color and looser mark making. In some cases, the workshop will also include discussions on marketing and studio practices. 

I'll be bringing "Getting Fresh" to the following cities in 2013 - please visit my website for specific details on each. 

Feb 15-17, Lake Orion, MI
March 14-17, Baton Rouge, LA
August 8-11, Traverse City, MI
September 11-13, St Louis, MO


Monday, September 24, 2012

October Desktop Calendar


Every month, I travel back in time one year, choose a fav painting, and make a calendar page. Just like last month, October's choice was more difficult than usual, as I had several favorites (you can peek at all of October 2011 - and each of the over 1400 Painting a Dog a Day faces -here).

So I chose this glamor girl because she represented my newfound confidence with mixing blues. Plus I love the composition and complimentary color palette. And her glorious profile, too.

Anyway, to implement this month's desktop calendar, simply download the 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. 

I've sized this to fit a standard screen height of 768 - I realize there are lots of variables that could impact how the 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 the onset of fall - I can't believe we are already in October!!! 
Share the Dog a Day love and forward this email to a friend - with my thanks, of course!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Perfect Nap


"The Perfect Nap," 6" x 8", commissioned portrait, acrylic on museum quality panel. I think this one is sold, but drop me a line if you are interested, and I'll keep you in the loop. In process images of Ben's portrait can be found onthe studio's Facebook page.

Ben's eyes are clouded with cataracs, his face has faded to gray, and his hearing has beome either selective or non-existent. Regardless, he's always enjoyed a good nap, and now seems to relish them even more. It seemed perfect to paint him nestled on the couch, belly up,  in his favorite position.

Enjoy your weekend,
Kim, who's planning on kicking back Ben style and enjoying a weekend that preceeds no looming deadlines

Thursday, September 20, 2012



"Teddy," 8" x 10", commissioned portrait of a golden retriever, acrylic on museum quality panel, private collection (THANK YOU!). In process images of Teddy's portrait can be found on the studio's Facebook page.

However, I can paint another golden retriever - or a different kind of dog (or cat or horse or bunny or whatever) altogether - email me and we can talk specifically about YOUR project.

Teddy was a cherished family member for 12 years. I'm hoping this painting will bring a small piece of her back to where she belongs.

Kim, who's brain is still buzzing from her grownUPs Journaling Class - I LOVE my Thursday evening group!!



Elizabeth St Hilaire Nelson and yours truly at the MVP Metro Club in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in front of part of our ArtPrize 2012 installation.

Elizabeth flew in (from FL) on Monday, and the Santini's welcomed her with a great honking of snotty noses and a generous sized bottle of antibacterial hand wash.

There was literally no turning back!!

Tuesday morning (yesterday) she and I headed to Grand Rapids (that is, after running a lunch to the busstop at the nth hour and delivering a forgotten flute to a school office). It was time to hang our ArtPrize works.

And hang them we did, filling the lobby of the MVP Metro Club with color and life. You can see a complete photo montage on the studio Facebook page, including a link to Elizabeth's photo album.

If you find yourself hitting ArtPrize, please stop by and allow yourself to be wowed by our work (and the work of the other 1,698 artists participating). 

Huge thanks are due to those Painting a Dog a Day fans who eagerly nominated their pets for my "Cherished" paintings - while I couldn't take each of the pieces with me to the show, I had (and will continue to have) a great time creating and sharing them with you all.

Kim, who is feeling pampered - tonite, Elizabeth is cooking Morrocan Chicken and Fruited Barley and a cake that is a secret family recipe. I could get used to this.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Eating Bon Bons


From May 2012, "Sweet Spot I," 8" square, a little portrait of my studio muse Mona Lisa which is still awaiting a home of it's own - she can be yours for $399. Inquiries may always come to me.

The glamorous part of my job is painting (it's even amazing to paint in my jammies, that's how marvelous painting is!).  Painting is also the most fun bit of my work day. I am so very lucky to be able to support my family with my passion.

However, don't buy the misconception that artists sit in their studios and paint paint paint, our work sells itself, and we kick back to eat BonBons and watch the paint dry. 

Here's a handful of just a few studio tasks I complete, in addition to painting:

Inventory management - of paintings and materials
Marketing strategies - development and implementation
Web design 
Materials design
Client communication
Budgeting and paying bills/taxes/etc
Continuing education - ensuring my own personal growth
Teaching - mentoring, leading, and encouraging others in creative endeavors
Volunteering - with various groups, sharing my talent and helping others discover theirs
IT Dept - keeping my equipment in working order, updating software, researching and implementing new technology
Shipping - packing and sending purchases out into the world
Exhibitions and demos - planning and preparing for opportunities to share completed works and my painting process
Research - explore a variety of business practices, exhibition opportunities and educational options
Archivist - photograph and catalog all work

For those contemplating quitting day jobs to become artists, be prepared to spend 80-90% of your time doing the above tasks, and the remainder creating.

Otherwise hold onto that paycheck. You might get more painting time carved out of off hours!

Kim, who spent the majority of today on the majority of above tasks

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Stick It, Finished


"Stick It," 6" x 13", acrylic on museum quality panel, depicting two dogs (a black lab and a golden retriever) and a stick, $539. In process pics are on the studio Facebook page. Meanwhile, inquiries may come to me.

I did think that this one was going to get trashed**- as I painted and made adjustments, the dogs' faces just kept getting bigger and bigger, and things got out of control.

But, somehow, I managed to reel it in and keep them contained on this little board. And while the resulting close crop was unintended, it makes you feel as though they are right there in the water with you, right in your face. And I sorta like that.

Kim, who is ready to for the best stress relief ever - cheering on The Caped Crusader's football team. Go Dragons!!****

**For the record, I DO paint over at least one piece every week. I happen to learn best by messing up. And thankfully, I mess up a lot, so I learn a lot, too.

****I didn't get this sent out prior to dashing to the game, but the dragons did what they do best - WIN - and I still have remnants of a voice. And 400+photos to sift through.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Stick It, In Process


IN PROCESS:  "Stick It," 6" x 13", acrylic on museum quality panel, depicting two labs, $539 (when finished). In process pics are on the studio Facebook page. Meanwhile, inquiries may come to me.

I ran out of potato chips today, so moved onto oreos. Double Stuffs, which really in my opinion, are the only kind of oreos.

I'd like to finish this one tomorrow, and THEN, I'll pick up the commission mantle again.

Kim, who's grumbley belly is now wondering what's in the freezer......

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Silly Goose


"Silly Goose," 10" square, acrylic on museum quality panel, depicting a chocolate lab splashing in the lake, $539. In process pics are on the studio Facebook page. Meanwhile, imquiries may come to me.

I really should have worked on a commission today. I'm pretty far behind (and my apologies to those of you who are oh so patiently waiting).

But some days I just can't do them, no matter how high they are stacked. Or how many chips I eat. And between last nite and this afternoon, I consumed an entire bag. Kid you not.

Some days I gotta paint just for me. 

Kim, who needs to get better at making time for her own muse without feeling guilty as heck. But eating that bag of chips compounded the guilt 1000 times over.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Grandma Kelly


There's no doubt I got my love of horses from my Grandma Kelly.

And my work ethic, too, I think - she raised 8 children without any appliances - or a single complaint, for that matter. She could - and did - do anything and everything. And she did it well.

Grandma taught me some of the most important things in life. Like identifying the precise moment when to flip a pancake. And how to get beat, and beat thoroughly, at rummy.

My cousin Mike said it best. "Her heart always made room for one more."

She will be missed.

Kim, who's heart is feeling bruised, but who's heart aspires to also always have room for more

Friday, September 07, 2012

Trouble xs 8


"Trouble xs 8," 7" x 16", is the final painting heading to ArtPrize. This piece is done in acrylics on panel, and will be available for purchase once the exhibition opens September 19th. Inquiries may come to me.

This is a rework of an earlier painting, "Great Expectations." While I loved the piece at the time I finished it, there were passages that just didn't quite work for me. So I set the piece aside to try and tackle later.

Here's a detail of the newly finished piece - it now boasts a more harmonious background, plenty of daubed color and gestural marks, and big ole paws and floppy ears.

Hoping everyone has a fantastic weekend! Ours will be full of more football, marching band, dance, and a little yardwork.

Kim, who is still grinning ear to ear after last nite's game (see below)

Mom Brag


I've never been a huge sports fan (excluding a lifetime love of horse racing), despite growing up with four brothers. However, let me tell you, once my kids got on the field, it became a different story.

The Caped Crusader's passion is football, and this is the year he's been waiting for. He made the high school freshman team. Is playing on the turf. Under the lights. With concessions. And cheerleaders. And he's loving it.

Last night was their home game opener. The team played so well together, demonstrating solid sportsmanship and character. And The Crusader snagged an interception, running downfield for a TD!

No cape necessary.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Art Journaling

This is detail from an in-process page inside my Gratitude Journal (the entire spread is pictured at the left). Done mostly in acrylic paint, it includes a word ticket given me by a student. At our last grownUPs Journal class, participants were given three word tickets. They labeled objects with their tickets, and I was tagged "Fortunately." One of the best gifts ever - thank you Toni!!

I've been a daily painter since 2006. That's a LOT of paintings to come across my easel. And a LOT of pressure to stay fresh, every day (we're not talking showering, kiddos!).

One of the creative habits I picked up shortly after making my daily painting pledge was that of art journaling. The idea behind art, or creative, journaling is that it is part sketchbook part diary part science lab with art materials. Anything goes!

I thought it would be healthy for me to have a place to work out frustrations or anxieties and be able to make marks without any necessary purpose. What I didn't realize is exactly HOW beneficial it actually is - journaling is a key element to managing stress and staying in tune with my heart.

As the years progressed, I offered journal classes locally, first to children, then most recently to adults. This summer I expanded more, leading an international group of journalers through my first online workshop. Next month I'm teaching four weekly sessions through my local community center.

And although I'm teaching, I'm also still learning. My students teach me so much with each class, and I actively take courses with other artists. I even have a traveling journal survival kit. Journaling has become a passion!

What's your creative outlet? I'd love to hear about it!

Kim, who's studio has turned into a science lab for art materials - there's no bubbling volcano, but I do have puddles of homemade alcohol inks and pipettes lying about

Learn More


You don't have to be an artist in order to be an art journaler. I kid you not - you just need some basic motor skills, like holding a pencil and manipulating scissors and a glue stick. Here's some more info to get you started:




Do a google search, and see what else you can discover!

I also run workshops for classrooms, homeschool children, youth groups, parties, or other creatives.

Feel free to email me for class info - children's classes are on Sunday afternoons, grownUPs meet the 3rd Thursday of each month, and community classes are seasonal, during the days on Wednesdays.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

ArtPrize & "Cherish"


I cannot believe it's nearly here!

ArtPrize opens in a matter of weeks, and the final preparations have begun. Elizabeth St Hilaire Nelson and I are delivering our work to the MVP Metro Club in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan on September 19th.

My "Cherish" series will compliment her "Noah's Ark" pieces, along with a pairing of koi and bunnies that we created in our own style specifically for ArtPrize. (Pictured above is my "Flopsy Bunny," a 9" x 12" portrait on panel, which will be joined in Grand Rapids by Elizabeth's "Flopsy.")

There will be over 1500 artists showing their work within a 3 square mile area of Grand Rapids. In addition to juried prizes, the viewing public will choose award winners via texted votes, a la American Idol style. It promises to be exciting and inspiring for both artists and visitors.

For more information, visit the ArtPrize website. And stay tuned to my newsletters and blog for details specific to our installation.

Kim, who is trying to dot all the "i"s and cross all the "t"s related to ArtPrize without losing - or at least misplacing - her head


My idea was simple: I wanted to paint the bond we share with our pets. Not just their likenesses, which I did already pretty much every day as part of my regular portraiture. No, this time I wanted paintings that transcended mere likenesses and became something else - a moment in time or a particular shared emotion - that was universal.

While the initial idea was to create these paintings specifically for ArtPrize, along the way I discovered far more muses and content than I had time to adequately explore. So yes, the series will continue. And yes, you can still submit your companion animal more info on that is here).

You can view my muses here - be sure to page through the photos, because the captions on those whom I've already painted will contain links to their portraits.

And thank you, as always, for supporting my ideas, my art, and my livlihood.


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