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, October 31, 2012

Puppy

"Puppy"," 6" x 8", portrait of The Man Child, done in acrylics on panel, part of my - well, part of his - personal collection.
 
 

Our first Halloween in Michigan (after moving from Southern California), I made toasty costumes for the boys, worried they would get chilled while out trick or treating. That year it was unseasonably warm, and they wanted to go commando underneath their little furry suits. We compromised - new plaid boxer shorts peeked out the open backs of their puppy costumes as they scooted out the door on Halloween night.

 
It's hard to believe that the little boy I remember sent off his college applications last night. That he will turn 18 in just a few more weeks. That soon he will be out in the real world, touching lives, playing his music, and building a future.

 
Proudly,
Kim, who will be tucking red plaid boxers and the hood to a beloved puppy dog costume in with The Man Child's college gear
 
 


 

Practice, Practice, Practice


For years I've been working on my knowledge of human anatomy - I don't share much of what I do because I am my own worst critic and the vast majority of my attempts to draw/paint human portraits are garbage.

 
No one magically learns how to make art overnite - what you see on the walls of any gallery or museum or even on blogs/websites are the results of a lifetime of learning. 

 
So I continue to practice, drawing from models regularly, studying human portraiture, and trying to stop making garbage.

 
This painting isn't perfect, but it represents a serious step forward for me, and on those merits alone, I am thrilled. And sharing.

 
And I will return to the drawing board, literally, and keep at it.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Toby

 
 
 

"Toby"," 8" x 10", commissioned dog portrait of a Sheltie, private collection (THANK YOU!)!!
 

In process pics of Toby can be found on the studio Facebook page, along with links to other things I deem interesting. Stuff like other artists, beautiful artwork, exhibitions, books, process specific, the business of art, inspirations and music.

 
Inquiries about getting a portrait similar to Toby's starring your own companion can come to me - I am nearly booked full for the holidays, but I am happy to put together a personalized gift certificate!

 
Fondly,
Kim, who's delighted to have power and internet and kids who went to school today, and is praying for all those who are not as fortunate. No kidding, peeps, I hope you are all safe and warm and dry and not at risk for losing any of those things.
 
 

Monday, October 29, 2012

November Desktop Calendar

 
 

Wow! How did another month whip by? Thanksgiving is just around the corner, I can't believe it!

 
Here is your November calendar boy, Percy. He'll do anything for a nibble of turkey......

 
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, stay warm and those of you who are in the path of Sandy, please stay safe!! 
Kim
 
 

Friday, October 26, 2012

One Fish, Two Fish


"One Fish, Two Fish," 12" square, painting of a mixed breed dog and koi, done in acrylics on a museum quality panel, $599 to the first one asking nicely.

SOLD.
This is the piece I worked on at Wednesday evening's live paint event at Merge Gallery. I started and finished within the span of a few hours, all while mingling with the attendees and other artists.

I know I may get some flack here. "It ONLY took you a few hours?!" While the execution perhaps seems minimal as far as investment of time, the work and learning leading up that equals 40+ years of study and persistence.

No one is born simply knowing how to paint - they spend a lifetime refining an interest or an inclination. It's incredibly hard work, just like trigonometry. Or world economics. Or running a marathon.

I break a sweat, too, in the studio - over stuff like color harmony and balanced compositions and turning light into something tangible.

Thanks again to the staff at Merge for hosting!!

Fondly,
Kim, who's thinking of big, fire-breathing, Dragon football players tonite - GO DRAGONS!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Manic

"Manic," 10" square, painting of a chocolate lab playing in water, done in acrylics on a museum quality panel, $539 to the first one asking nicely.
 
SALE PENDING (thank you!)


The inspiration photo for "Manic" came from those submitted for my "Cherish" paintings. Funny how last winter dogs and water were not even on my radar. And now I can't get enough of them!

 
This is the piece I blocked in and started on Tuesday. In process pics are on the studio's Facebook page.

 
There's also in process pics of another dog and water piece, "One Fish, Two Fish," which I started and completed during a four hour live painting session last night at Merge Gallery. I'll highlight "One Fish, Two Fish" in tomorrow's blog post.

 
Warm thanks to the staff at Merge for hosting a spectacular and inspiring night of creating, and to all the kind folks who stopped by and said hello while we played with paints. I, for one, look forward to doing it again.

 
Fondly,
Kim, who's still looking for more water dog muses - drop me a line if you know of any!
 

 
 
 
Highlights of the Last Week


1 mid-day trip to urgent care followed by another to the emergency room
1 ankle surgery
1 grownUPs journal class
1 football game
1 weekend spent with family celebrating my Grandparents' lives
1 dance company sleepover
1 marching band competition
1 date night with My Better Half
1 late night grocering trip (which, by the way, is perfect for staying under budget!)
1 15th birthday party feast
1 live painting demonstration
1 evening trip to urgent care followed by an ambulance ride and night spent at the hospital
1 spanking new neon pink cast


...and some incredible news about my artwork that I just can't share quite yet

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Getting Started

My easel, prepped with a 10" square panel carrying a blue underpainting.

 
I am often asked about my easel board when it's included in photos like the one above. This is an 18" x 24" piece of masonite I've been using for years - I duct tape my panels to it, and anchor the masonite into the easel trays.

 
This allows me greater freedom with my brushwork, especially near the top and bottom edges of my panel. It also provides sturdier support for a variety of panel sizes, more so than merely locking them into the trays provides. This means I can use aggressive brushwork and not worry about the panel shifting or, worse, falling to the floor. I can also tape multiple smaller panels up at once, and work on a series of pieces simultaneously.

 
I write inspirational phrases on the board and they are slowly buried under layers of marks - the most recent was added last week, courtesy of Lisa Daria Kennedy, a daily painter I greatly admire: "Through routine comes Inspiration."

 
The white print out partially obscured beneath that is another mentor artist, Richard Schmid's, painting checklist. It reads:
 

     Why I Paint This Subject
 
     Due to a wonderful display of color?
     Due to dramatic values?
     Intrigued by the drawing - shapes and subtle forms?
     An interesting design of subject with the relationship
        of mass and line?

 
Fondly,
Kim, who's excited to get going on this piece and play with two new-to-her-palette blues and try out a new-to-her-layout of colors
 
 
 

 
 
 
Happy Birthday to my Favorite Superhero

15 years ago My Better Half and I were gifted with the care and upbringing of a child overflowing with boundless joy and a belly laugh worthy of someone 200xs his size.

 
This little pea has grown into the most extraordinary young man, and I could not be prouder than when I hear him call me "Mom."

 
Happy birthday, Caped Crusader! Here's to a wonderful year!!
 

 
Oh Yeah, I Almost Forgot...

Recent events have been a distraction - I've sorely neglected promotional duties for tomorrow evening's live paint event.


I will join a handful of other artists painting live at Merge Gallery(Oxford, Michigan) from 5-9pm. I plan on starting - and finishing - a large water dog piece.


Please come by and visit - and cast your vote for your favorite artist!! 

 

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Circle, Finished

"The Circle," 15" x 18," a commissioned portrait of four family members, done in acrylics on a museum quality panel, headed to a private collection (THANK YOU!). Inquiries may come to me.
 
In process photos, many of them, are on the studio's Facebook page - be sure to scroll back, because I've been working on this one since last week.
 
 

This weekend I wrapped myself in family and gave thanks for my Grandparents. The perfect prescription for healing.

 
This morning all three kids got off to school - although The Caped Crusader slept in and joined his classmates a little later in the day. Which means I got in a couple of uninterrupted hours at the easel and started a ginormous pot of ham soup simmering, and that was an excellent prescription as well.

 
Fondly,
Kim, who's looking at her calendar and realizing there's not much more room for holiday commissions - you'de better speak up now or it'll be a gift certificate (which really isn't bad at all, because the recipient gets to participate in the portrait process themselves)!!
 
 

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Circle, In Process

This is a larger painting, 15" x 18," titled "The Circle" and very much in process, pieced together from numerous photos and depicting a family of four canines. This is a commissioned painting, and as such, it already has a home - but I'm happy to create something similar for you. Inquiries may come to me.
 
In process photos, many of them, are on the studio's Facebook page.
 
 

I could talk about the circle of life and creativity and inspiration, but honestly, I am exhausted.
 

This weekend we lay my grandparents to rest alongside each other in the family plot. And celebrate a mass in the church they were married in 72 years ago.

 
And I'm holding firm to the idea that Rome wasn't built in a day.

 
Nor were bones magically reknit together. Or houses cleaned stem to stern in the blink of an eye. Or all sorts of other hurts mended instantly.

 
Fondly,
Kim, who really should stop worrying about surface things because it's what inside that really matters. Even if the inside includes dust bunnies and moldy grout in the tub.
 
 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Authenticity, Part IV

grownUPs journaler Toni demonstrating her understanding of contour drawing and exploring the use of positive and negative space, from this evenings art journaling workshop.
 
 

Things are settling down in the Santini household. There were no broken bones today and dinner was homemade spaghetti and meatballs. All three kids were smiley (although one's smiles were, admittedly, vicodin induced), homework completed, and animals fed and walked without complaint.

 
And then Mom got to escape to one of her happy places.

 
That being grownUP journaling classes.

 
We meet on the 3rd Thursday of each month for a couple hours in the evening. And tonite I savored every moment of our togetherness.

 
Our group was intimate (I'm not judging those who opted to stay home and watch the Tigers dominate the Yankees!) and all the more special for it.

 
We focused on edges, quality of line, and positive and negative spaces. I demonstrated a couple different drawing techniques, and using a variety of fall-related props and mark making tools, we settled in to make some art.

 
You can see photos of the workshop on my Facebook page. Special props to Judy, Toni, Audra and Candi for allowing me to break away and just create!!

 
Kim, who's head is spinning at the speed with which this week flew by, or maybe it's the tall glass of wine, or perhaps a little bit of both
 
 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Authenticity, Part III

The Wonder Woman cons were quivering again today, as I sat by while The Caped Crusader got a new ankle.
 

 
There's nothing like a crisis involving one of your kids to cause a total re-evaluation of what seemed important, like, 5 minutes ago.

 
The Caped Crusader's ankle was shattered at football practice yesterday afternoon, probably just as I hit "send" and got my newsletter into your inboxes. This was followed by a very long and late night at ER, coordinating emergency carpools for the other two kids, keeping My Better Half (stranded 1-1/2 hours away with a flat tire) up to date, and the piece-de-resistance, serving cold cerael for dinner.

 
The Caped Crusader will be fine, a la Steve Austin style (and the other two also survived their sub par dinner), but ultimately his demonstration of courage and tenacity in the face of an abrupt end to his beloved football season - and his mobility for the next 5 weeks - well, it gave me pause.

 
Lots of them, as that seems to be the ER routine.
 

But that's ok. Because sitting still and just being, even when the just being is painful, is a necessary part of the human experience.

 
And right now I am so grateful to be able to feel emotions, even if they are terror and uncertainty, because that means I am here, now, with my kids and Better Half.
 

Fondly,
Kim, who delights in happy endings and homemade chocolate chip cookies, which conveniently, are both on hand tonite
 
 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Authenticity, Part II

At this stage, anything's possible...... a view from behing my easel, all set up and ready for this afternoon's painting session.
 
 

Let me start of with a warm and sincere "thank you" to those who emailed and messaged their support afteryesterday's little confession.

 
I am the poster child for rabid optimism. Which means that this dilemma seems impossible for me to wrap my head around and embrace.

 
What? no glittery rainbow? no dancing unicorns?

 
Nope. At least not today.

 
Some of the most profound discoveries come from difficult places. That doesn't mean I have to like it or even pretend it isn't happening, that I'm in an uncomfortable spot and not sure how to move on.

 
Apparently the plight of being lost in the creative wilderness is one shared by many. It surprises me there isn't a wild party happening in here, but maybe I've not wandered about for long enough.....

 
Let me go on record - I assure you I'm not packing up my brushes. Nor will I make any sort of hasty retreat. Or paint cows every day.

 
This month marks the beginning of my 7th year as a daily painter and blogger. This is a commitment that has enriched my life immeasurably, and I know it is also what will carry me through to the next phase.

 
So thank you AGAIN for supporting me. Warm chocolate chip cookies for everyone - I'm moving to the easel (you can follow along with the quad-portrait I'm starting this afternoon over on Facebook).

 
Fondly,
Kim, who is still quivering in her Wonder Woman cons but feeling empowered by all the superheros in the Painting a Dog a Day community
 
 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Authenticity


"Longhorn," 6" x 16", acrylic on museum quality panel, depicting some sort of long horned cattle (I clearly do not know my bovine breds!!), a new subject matter for me! $299 to the first one asking nicely.

It's getting to be a struggle to work at my easel and feel like my dailies are fresh and valuable. I'm nearing completion of 1400 Painting a Dog a Day paintings, and I suspect the walls are closing in on me.

It's not that I want to change what I'm doing - I am passionate about my job - but I do want to change what I'm doing.

I have been thinking a lot about authenticity. I can ignore the niggling voices in my head and slip more challenging paintings (like the dogs and water pieces or paintings of cows) into my rotation and not say a word.

But part of the whole Painting a Dog a Day project has been sharing the struggles (and victories) along the way. And while I have always been honest about many things (like throwing out/painting over unsuccessful paintings), I haven't confronted my recent and serious lack of motivation.

I'm not clear that what I want to paint (which is all still very much muddled in my head and unarticulated) is something I can complete in one day. But I do very much want to continue to stand at my easel daily.

I need to find a way to continue to push my own artistic boundaries and to continue to make art that is exciting and fulfilling.

So I am trying to embrace this juncture, but feeling very vulnerable and as a consequence, terrified. If I don't venture out, I fear my muse will shrivel up altogether. And yet, if I venture out, what will I do? more cows?

It's a leap of faith, and I'll eventually leap. Unless someone wants to push me first. Or leap with me.

Any takers? 

Kim, who is quivering in her Wonder Woman converse

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bella, A Painted Sketch

 
 
 

"Bella"," image approximately 5" x 6", roughly centered on a 9" x 12" paper, commissioned portrait of a boxer, private collection (THANK YOU!)!!

 
These sketchier portraits are an excellent learning tool, much like contour drawings or gesture studies. But after the end of this year (2012) they will no longer be available as commissions, so if you want one, let's talk now.

 
Kim, who is ready to cheer on the Lake Orion varsity football team AND be wowed by the Marching Band's halftime performance - go Dragons!!
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Gettin' Jiggy, Finito!!

 
 
 

"Gettin' Jiggy"," 11" x 16", portrait of a mixed breed dog playing in shallow waters, done in acrylic on museum quality panel, $609 to the first one asking nicely. Check out the detail of Jiggy's face below!!

 
This was my assignment - to create a painting using only color temperature - not value differences - to define depth of field. I started the piece yesterday - posted an in-process image to my blog, and multiple jpgs to the studio Facebook page.
 

It was absurdly difficult, and I know I can get better at this, but in the meanwhile, can you see me doing cartwheels?

 
Kim, who enjoys celebrating little victories
 
 
 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Gettin' Jiggy, In Process

 
 
 

IN PROCESS:  "Gettin' Jiggy"," 11" x 16", portrait of a mixed breed dog playing in shallow waters, done in acrylic on museum quality panel, $609 (when finished, which should be tomorrow). Is this one yours? I can make it happen - just let me know!

 
I went to a painting demonstration last nite , and as a consequence spent today working more slowly, carefully considering each brushmark and analyzing color decisions. 

 
The dog's local color (orange-yellow) + reflected color (yellow) + light temperature (yellow) = lots of yellow, and yet I want to add pinks and oranges and buffs in there too. But yellow is good, especially Indian Yellow, which I've used about a half tube of in this painting so far.

 
And then if the light is warm, like the noon sun, shadows are cooler. Which means more blue in the shadows, but only a cooler blue - none of those cyans and turquoise's I've been loving lately. But my water's yellow, and in theory that's my local color and then the dog's reflected color (orange yellow) gets factored in, so do two warmer yellows overrule that cool shadow rule? I'm auditioning that splash of phtalo blue there under her paw..... I think it does need to be cooler, like a prussian blue perhaps.....

 
I feel as though I know nothing about painting.

 
Which is good. Because that's when the breakthroughs happen!

 
Kim, who is pretty confused right now but still thinks playing artist is far better than a desk job
 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Driftwood

 
 
 

"Driftwood," 12" x 16", portrait of a black lab mix, done in acrylic on museum quality panel, $629. This painting needs a home - if you think yours is the right fit, just let me know!

 
In process pics of "Driftwood" are on my studio Facebook page inside the Mobile Uploads folder - I worked on this one over the course of two days, so scroll all the way back to see it from the very beginning.

 
Continuing the debate between balancing commissioned with non-commissioned works - yes, the former pays the bills, but the latter enables the former. It's an interesting Catch 22.

 
Enjoy,
Kim, who is very excited to play with her own ideas in addition to playing with the remaining commission scheduled for this week

 
PS  Warm thanks to those of you offering yesterday's painting "Smile" a home - my client loved the piece, so it's spoken for. However, I happen to know how you might be able to get something similar starring your own dog.....
 
 

Monday, October 08, 2012

Smile

 
 
 

"Smile," 8" x 10", commissioned portrait of a yellow lab, done in acrylic on museum quality panel. This painting has a home (or rather, I hope so - I haven't yet heard back from my client!), but I am happy to create something similar for you - just let me know!

 
In process pics of "Smile" are on my studio Facebook page. Along with a link to a gorgeous piece done by one of my mentors, Vianna Szabo.

 
Last Friday I asked Facebook followers if I should paint for myself or work on a commissioned piece. There was a variety of advice, but Vianna's seemed to be the most sage. "(paint for your)self! That way you will paint a better commission when the time comes. Trust me I know...."

 
Enjoy,
Kim, who has a couple days this week blocked out to paint for herself

 
PS Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!!
 
 
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