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, December 31, 2014

Rejuicing



My digital painting inspired by Claude Monet's "Water Lily Pond, Green Harmony." The Monet is currently on loan from the Musee d'Orsay (Paris) and on display at the Detroit Institute of Art through this Sunday. My piece was done on an iPad using ArtRage and a Sensu Brush & Stylus.

I occupied the bench in front of this painting for about 90 minutes. First I listened to people's reactions - they were talking about the painting's place in history (I heard a great variety of stories!) and taking selfies (non flash photos were allowed in the darkened space). Whenever the gallery emptied, I had a quiet conversation with the piece - from across the room and from within inches. Eventually I pulled out my iPad and began sketching. It was cathartic and enlightening.

Today I immersed myself in the Impressionists, first hand. I visited the DIA and hung out with some of the biggest names from the turn of the century - Monet, Manet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, Matisse, Toulouse Lautrec, Vuillard, Bonnard, Renior, Cassatt, Morisot, Degas, Metcalf, Sargent, Redon, Dewing. It was some esteemed company well worth shaving my legs for! (view pics of some of my favs)

Impressionism as a movement is wildly popular today, and perhaps that is because it is, to the modern eye, easy to digest. Beautiful colors, riotous brushwork, everyday sort of models. However, at the time these pieces were created, they were condemned by scholars and critics for being crude and altogether common. It is a testament to the artists' vision that they continued creating and exploring despite the cold reception and biting reviews.

Besides the fact that the work is indeed beautiful, here's why I appreciate Impressionism:

These artists rejected traditional academic art, art that was heavily steeped in realism, symbolism, religious/literary themes and formulaic compositions. Impressionist artists chose a new direction steered by emotion, gesture, the modern world/common man and experimentation. 

And light. Paintings became about light instead of about the subject matter, about an experience, a transient moment.

It's one thing to sit down and paint an apple. It's altogether something else, though, to give that apple a kiss of the evening's sun in a nest of dappled branches, and make the viewer reach into the foliage.

That's what I admire about the Impressionists. They painted more than objects - they invited us to step into their paintings and experience them firsthand.

Which I did today. And I'm feeling all the better for it.

Here's to a New Year full of continued beauty and inspiration, Kim

Monday, December 22, 2014

This is December?


The Caped Crusader (in orange) with his Second Mom and her "boys," as she called them. She loved these kids fiercely, and they stood by her side until the end.

This isn't how things were meant to play out.

December was supposed to be my gift to myself. Lots of unstructured studio time so that I could pursue and paint new ideas. Nothing but painting strictly for me and my galleries and a couple choice exhibitions. 

But that's not what the universe had in mind.

I've been mourning the loss of an absolutely remarkable woman (The Caped Crusader's Second Mom, who passed away from ALS at the beginning of the month), trying to pull off two birthday celebrations in the midst of her funeral details, caring for sick kids (one of whom ended up in the ER Friday morning), and unexpectedly car shopping (in the midst of all this, my van was totaled, but what really matters is that all involved are physically ok). And there's all this other horrible heartache and tragedy in our world, too. It's not just my own little bubble that's suffering.

A wise friend told me we're coloring with all the dark crayons in the box right now. I know there are lots of beautiful colors in my box just waiting. But this time of year, when my heart is not feeling much joy, and it's in such opposition to how I usually embrace the holidays, well, I'm struggling to allow myself permission to accept what I'm feeling despite what society says I should be doing. To be authentic even when it's contrary.

I caught myself subconsciously painting in my head earlier this evening, as I watched the light play on a young lady's face. I used to do that, paint in my head, nonstop. It was kind of a sickness I couldn't turn off, but it's been gone for awhile now. I suppose It'll come back when it's ready. But I welcomed tonight's mental painting with open arms - I'll take it as a sign of progress.

And meanwhile I ask for your patience with my absence - perhaps take it upon yourself to throw a little more holiday cheer out than usual, to make up for my lackluster spirits. I don't doubt that you, too, know someone who is struggling to enjoy their own holiday. 

And hug those you love - we are losing so many for such stupid reasons. Celebrate your families and friends and count those blessings.

And know that, even if you aren't feeling "ho ho ho" ish (yes, that's a word, I just said so), that's ok too. As that same wise friend told me, Christmas is SUPPOSED to be every day of the year. So pick up the pieces and celebrate whenever you feel ready to.

Warmly, Kim

Friday, December 12, 2014

Hot to Trot - Finished!


The finished version, still damp to the touch! "Hot to Trot," 12" x 12", acrylics on a Raymar panel, depicting Marzipan, a Barbie Fairytale plastic horse. "Hot to Trot" is available for $599 - inquiries may come to me. Please and thank you!

Fridays start with yoga class. I've missed it for various reasons for over a month. My instructor had taken to calling me the "Yoga Dropout," it was that bad! I practice at home, but nobody pushes me as hard as her, so getting back on my mat this morning was a wonderful gift to myself. By the end of the class, my head was clear and my muscles all stretched out and quivery.

Yoga was followed up by a massage. The past few weeks have been riddled with stress and I needed to work out the tension I'd been carrying in my back and shoulders. Easy fix - lavender butter, quiet music, and a little snooze. My brain slipped into slo-mo and my muscles were even more quivery by the end of it all.

Then I got to step into the studio to put the finishing touches on Hot to Trot. The painting flowed easier - not sure if it was in part due to my r&r from the morning, but I'm super happy with how this painting has turned out. It is pretty exciting to think about exploring light and shadows with future still lifes - I love facing a challenge!


Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork!
Happy holidays!
Warmly, Kim

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hot to Trot


In process detail of "Hot to Trot," 12" x 12", acrylics on a Raymar panel, depicting Marzipan, a Barbie Fairytale plastic horse. "Hot to Trot" is available for $599 - inquiries may come to me. Please and thank you!

Continuing exploring some of the possibilities I discovered in the workshop earlier this week, I played with more plastic ponies today. It took me a good hour before I settled on Marzipan - particularly because her pink plastic really glowed when lit from behind, and she cast a wonderfully colorful shadow. 

Also, her delicate feathery mane and tail provided an opportunity to try and paint an ethereal texture. And some intriguing edge work, too.

There's in process photos here, and a photo of the setup here. And tomorrow I hope to have a finished painting to show off!

Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork!
Happy holidays!
Warmly, Kim

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Conversations about Halation


"Conversations II," 8" x 10", acrylics on a Raymar panel, depicting two My Little Ponys. This composition has inspired a new series of toy pieces - I am excited to create them! Conversations II is available for $469 - inquiries may come to me. Please and thank you!

Today's Lesson

ha-la-tion - he effect of light spreading and bouncing, pulling reflected color into surrounding objects.


Today I focused on this, paying attention to the temperature of the light and how it bounced about, creating color drenched shadows and licks of brightness.

As always, Vianna provided a multitude of lightbulb moments. Ideas are still percolating, and I can't wait to try some new things out in my own space.

Tomorrow!

Meanwhile, there's a photo essay on the three day workshop on my FB page.

If you are interested in painting with Vianna Szabo, take a peek at her teaching calendar - hands down, she is the best I've had the pleasure of studying with.

Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork!
Happy holidays!
Warmly, Kim

Tuesday, December 09, 2014


"Corpse," 8" x 10", acrylics on a Raymar panel, depicting a vintage porcelain doll from perhaps the 1940s (??). Study done in class, intended for learning purposes, but decidedly pleased with the end result. This one can be yours for $469 (I'll have a better scan of the painting later in the week) - inquire to me. Please and thank you!


While everyone else is painting fruit and pottery, I'm the one in the corner with a tub of dolls and parts, happily pushing paint.

I always was the proverbial Purple Cow.

Today we learned that the best still life paintings contain:
  • A design concept superseding the objects painted
  • A whole that is much larger than the sum of the parts
  • Light elevating the setup
We talked about the storytelling aspect of a still life, it's symbolic content (whether that's planned or accidental), and how it might read over time (transcendence). We also drew a parallel between a good book and a good painting - each tells you just enough, and your brain fills in the rest.

I laid this one out with the above in mind. And when I titled her "Corpse" I swear I was thinking of the yoga corpse pose and not a murder scene.

I guess I should be grateful the group is eating lunch with me, eh?

Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork!
Happy holidays!
Warmly, Kim

Monday, December 08, 2014

Conversations


"Conversations," 10" x 12", acrylics on a Raymar panel, depicting a collection of vintage doll heads, complete with sleepy  and not-so-sleepy-eyes. Study done in class, intended for learning purposes only.

I'm stepping outside my comfort zone, learning about lighting and still life setup, along with a little paint pushing, from none other than colorist Vianna Szabo.


Here's today's lightbulbs:

Nothing created in a workshop is intended for a wall. Or an exhibition. Perfect example: I am not terribly pleased with today's painting, but I am delighted with all it taught me. (That little magical spot between all three heads? it makes me giddy!)

Design is of primary significance. The idea should come before the object(s) is/are even placed. (Me thinks this is the difference between a portrait of an object and a still life).

Value takes precedence before color. A big challenge for me. Huge.

The strongest paintings have the fewest values. Thusly one should reduce their concept to a simple 2-toned thumbnail prior to picking up the paintbrush.

Oreo cookies are the best analogies for identifying abutting forms (traditional oreos, chocolate creme ones, and vanillas). And all this talk during class about nothing but Oreo cookies makes my tumbley grumbley.

Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork!
Happy holidays!
Warmly, Kim

Friday, December 05, 2014

Forthright

"Forthright," 5" x 7", acrylics on an Ampersand gessobord, portrait of a vintage doll, or rather, a vintage doll head. With sleepy eyes. Or are they not-so-sleepy-eyes when they are glued open?Anyway, let me know if you would like a painting featuring a favorite childhood toy (and yes, there's still time to get a gift certificate by the holidays).

R 14

That's what's stamped on the back of this little one's head. She has the most mesmerizing eyes. Coupled with her ratty hair, which at one time appears to have been very fashionably coiffed (I can't imagine dread locks were all the rage in the 50s), she's an interesting face to gaze into.

If you can forget for a moment that that's all she is. A head, balanced on a glass vial.

I bet she was someone's treasured friend many years ago. I'm happy to be her caretaker now. 

Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork!
Happy holidays!
Warmly, Kim

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Striped and Soft


"Striped and Soft," 10" x 10", acrylics on a Raymar panel, commissioned portrait of a big boned tabby cat, private collection (thank you!). Let me know if you would like one of these portraits starring your pet (and yes, there's still time to get a gift certificate by the holidays).

A fellow artist used the term "homeschooling" the other day when referring to her own studies. She was spending free time copying master paintings and doing focused work of her own direction. I loved the idea so much that I've coined that phrase for myself.

This is my final holiday commission (or at least the last one I can share), which means that the rest of December is time for me to paint just what I want to. I have obligations (gallery inventory and some pieces for exhibitions), but everything that hits my easel will do so for a distinct learning purpose.

I'm gonna be homeschooled!

Except for the few days next week when I take a still life workshop with non other than Vianna Szabo, the very source of this delightful new homeschooling concept, and a teacher extraordinaire. She's promised to teach me more about still life setups and creative lighting, and I'm bringing a tote of dolls and toys to class for us all to use.

I did a little warm up after finishing Ms Stripey, and I just may continue to push some paint around tonite while the wind howls, since a certain Princess getting braces will keep me out of the studio a good chunk of tomorrow.

Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork!
Happy holidays!
Warmly, Kim

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Riley


"Riley," 5" x 7", acrylics on a Raymar panel, commissioned portrait of a pointer, private collection (thank you!). Let me know if you would like one of these portraits starring your pet (and yes, I offer gift certificates which can be delivered in time for holiday gift giving).


It's December, which seems wrong. It should still be, like, August. Not sure where the days went, but they did - and the holidays are upon us!

I have 2-1/2 remaining holiday commissions to paint, but don't despair - if you didn't reach out to me in time, we can still do a gift certificate. There is nothing more appreciated than a custom portrait, which start at $399 - inquire via email.

Meanwhile, I am making plans to create new works for my galleries. And I have a couple of exhibitions in mind. You'll see horse racing scenes, more still lifes starring toy horses and ponies, and some vintage doll paintings, along with my regular mix of animals. 

And apparently I also have press to talk to, something or other about The Kentucky Derby Art (imagine that last sentence typed in a font named "Sarcasm & Joy").

Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork!
Happy holidays!
Warmly, Kim
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