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.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Powder Express

"Powder Express," 16" x 20", acrylics on museum quality panel. Yes, this is another painting starring Nita, who we've already established as one of my favorite muses. I took a lot of in process photos, and they are here, for those interested. Lots of thanks to Team Husar Wildlife Photography for permission to paint from their photos. And I do believe that when this piece sells (hint hint!), Ms Nita has earned herself a shipment of dog toys - I'll put Finnigan right on that!

This painting, including s&h inside the US, is $1499. Please send inquiries to me. (Psst - now is the perfect time to start planning for holiday portraits - don't wait, because my calendar fills up FAST!)

Letting Go

There was a point in this painting where I could have chosen to paint every single clump and flake of snow, and every single ripple of feathers. And I did spend some time considering how to get a perfectly smooth, perfectly blue sky.

And then I was smooshing paint around on the bottom of the piece, trying to get soft transitions between the dog's body and the cloud of flakes, and I caught my breath. There was marbeling and texture and loveliness happening. And I asked myself, "Self, what if, instead of going after a literal interpretation of the snow, you chose to reach for something else?"

And Self responded, "Does that mean I can fingerpaint?"

"I don't see why not."

And thus, "Powder Express" came to be.

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

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sun Goddess

"Sun Goddess," 14" x 18", acrylics on museum quality panel, depicting Nita, one of my favorite muses. If any dog wears their heart on their sleeve (and Golden Retrievers tend to do that), it's this one!! In process photos are here, for those interested. And I would be remiss not to give props to Team Husar Wildlife Photography for permission to paint from their photos (I look forward to sharing Chicago with you soon, LH!)

The Sun Goddess is shortly heading south to her new home (a very warm welcome and lots of thanks to my new collector). Meanwhile, I am now accepting a limited number of special projects like this one. Please send inquiries to me

You know I love color, and this composition was perfect for me to revel in it. Pure, unapologetic color.

This piece started out Saturday as a very rough, bright layer, and I worked through the first 90% of it with a painting wedge (basically a long handled spatula). It also rather unconventionally included sandpaper. The paintbrush didn't come into the picture until relatively late.

I paint standing up, and did so the majority of the weekend (including a 9 hour stint Saturday where my feet were absolutely numb by the end). I continued to work a few hours last evening before deciding to sleep on it and take a peek today with fresh eyes.

My eyes liked!! Now to find a suitable muse to try this approach again.

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

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Lorek Byrnison, Toy #23

"Lorek Byrnison," Toy #23, 6" x 6," acrylics on masonite, depicting a Schleich polar bear figurine I've dubbed Lorek, after the polar bear-ish character in The Golden Compass (book). This painting is $75, including shipping inside the US. Purchasing is as simple as asking.
My Fantasy World

I absolutely adore reading, almost as much as I love painting. As a result, my head is full of lively characters, all personalities I bonded with during some marvelous adventure. And it may sound strange, but I consider them friends and confidantes, and do carry on conversations with them in my head. It's quite a party in there on any given day. I guess a true reader will understand.

So Lorek Byrnison is just such a character. He hails from Philip Pullman's trilogy His Dark Materials. He honors promises and values true friendship. He embraces who he is and loves purely. And, to me, he became an emblem of almost religious proportions: moral, honest, dedicated to his cause, with a heart that expanded to love all. I ended up adapting Lorek as my own totem for facing difficult times with character and dignity. (Again, I know this sounds cray-cray to those who don't read, but I never claimed to have a dull imagination).

When I saw this Schleich figurine, it was exactly how I pictured Lorek (I hadn't yet seen the movie adaptation at that point, and frankly, the movie really did not hold a candle to the book), and I bought it for my desk. He's sat here with me for several years, offering his quiet grace (and there was one instance when, on an especially dark day, a polar bear showed up in the oddest of places, and I felt like it was Lorek, teleported to where I needed a reminder that I could do this). 

I've drawn him into my journals many times. But today he told me I needed to paint him on a green ground, sort of the opposite of environments where polar bears usually are found, but as a message of perseverance. I decided I'd better listen.
I'm really happy that I did.

Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork,
All my best, Kim

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


"Kit," 8" x 10", acrylics on museum quality panel, a commissioned pet portrait of a tri-colored long haired Chihuahua. Kit's painting has a home (thank you so very much!), however do not despair - I am now accepting a limited number of special projects like this one. Please send inquiries to me

I know, I know. I've been painting a lot of things other than dogs. And dogs are what the majority of you readers know me for and want to see.

But here's the thing - I love painting them just as much as I did before, they just aren't getting to the easel as often. Because I want to learn better handling of lights and darks, and focus on manipulating edges - both things that aren't always possible when working from photos on a specific likeness.

So yes, I'm mixing it up a bit. Working on the 100 Toys series and doing more totem paintings, spending a lot of time journaling and sketching and reading and thinking and listening.

Regardless of what I am painting, though, I remain grateful for your time and attention and feedback. Your eyes and your stories make my pieces come all the more alive - thank you for sharing them!!

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

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pooh Bear IV

"Pooh Bear IV," Toy #22, 6" x 6," acrylics on masonite, depicting a tiny plastic Disney Pooh (with a smidge of velcro on his back - he must have been part of a game). This painting is $75, including shipping inside the US. Purchasing is as simple as asking.

SOLD (Thank you SO much!)

Sing Along With Me 

Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
He's a tubby little cubby 
all stuffed with fluff.....

There's a reason he keeps showing up on my easel. Thinking I may also need to re-read The Tao of Pooh

Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork,
All my best, Kim

Friday, August 14, 2015

Dont-Give-a-Care Bear

"Dont-Give-A-Care Bear," 16" x 20", mixed media on museum quality panel, a continuation of my Year of the Spark studies. At first I thought I could part with this one, but really, I can't. So, next best thing, it is uploaded on FineArtAmerica. I think Bear is a fine companion to Under a Van Gogh Sky, and together they would look fantastic in a playroom. Inquiries can always come to me, and thank you so much. 

I thought the Year of the Spark class would renew my passion for painting. I never expected it to push me into entirely new directions. And yet, here I am, creating work I'd not even imagined a few short weeks ago.
These "totem paintings" (so named because the central figure seems imbued with a symbolic presence) were seedlings in the winter, with contours done on clear plastic layered overtop other drawings. A dialogue started between the objects and stories formed that stretched beyond the surface.

I especially love that I can build a storyline from these paintings that is entirely different than anyone else's. Sort of like those Choose Your Own Adventure books.

I am also enjoying the freedom of scale and imagination - each object is painted from life (or memory), then knit together with pattern and color. I can delight in capturing something just as it is, or I can twist the reality and add my own special sauce.

There's more of these in my future, though - they are teaching me a lot! 

Meanwhile, I am booking a few select commissions to carry me into the fall. And finalized details today for my next two workshops - one in Baton Rouge in September, and another in Ann Arbor October. Those will be your final opportunities to paint with me until the New Year.

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

Thursday, August 13, 2015

What's Your Kentucky Derby Story?

We've watched the Kentucky Derby for years.

And for many of us, attending The Kentucky Derby is a bucket list item.
I knew one day I'd make it to the grounds of Churchill Downs, but never thought it would be on Derby Day as a special guest in my capacity as The Official Artist of The Kentucky Derby. 

So it goes to reason that watching from our seats at the finish line was pretty emotional. 

I grew up painting, of course, but I also grew up watching horse racing with my Grandfather. The best part of the springtime classics was comparing notes and debating our picks (and scouring newspapers for grainy photos of horses in training to sketch). He always chose the Arkansas Derby winner, and I went for the underdog, the gray, or the filly. And there was always art inspired by the pagentry.

After Grandpa passed away in 2010 navigating Derby Week felt hollow.

But this year, things were different. I wasn't just another horse racing fan. I was the Official Artist of the Kentucky Derby. Derby Week 2015 was a whirlwind of signing events and southern hospitality. Seeing new sights and meeting new people. Recognizing that for a large majority of those in attendance, The Kentucky Derby was highly personal. It was about family, friends, memories, anniversaries, traditions, things much, much bigger than the race itself. I forged an immediate connection with everyone who shared their Derby story.

Not to say that the race wasn't big. Because this year, as you know, the race was huge. It cemented a new champion and ushered in the end of a 37 year Triple Crown drought. But that wasn't all it did - this year, my own personal Derby story added a chapter. The year I was the official artist, an honor my Grandfather would have surely burst with pride over, The Arkansas Derby champion won. And I felt my Grandfather's embrace at the end of the race. I realized that he has always been with me, even these past 5 years, and that he truly was bursting with pride.

Which leads me to ask, what's YOUR Derby Experience. I want to hear it, because telling stories is what I do for a living. I do it unconventionally, with paint as opposed to words, but I paint moments that connect with your soul. And hearing your stories, connecting with you, provides me with material to create.

Please share your stories - you are welcome to send them via email:

Please peek at the stories I have told - there's numerous ways to see them, on my website or Facebook or my blog or my digital storefront.

Please listen for the stories that are to come - sign up for my daily newsletter and get them delivered to your mailbox (I am currently working through painting 100 toys, and have a larger painting of American Pharoah on Derby Day in process).

Who knows, perhaps one day we can work together to bring one of your stories from my easel to your home. How marvelous would that be?

With great warmth,
Kimberly Kelly Santini

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Under a Van Gogh Sky

"Under a Van Gogh Sky," 16" x 20", mixed media on museum quality panel, an assignment from the online class I'm taking, Year of the Spark. This piece is not for sale (I've gotta keep it!), but I have uploaded it to FineArtAmerica so that if you are in love with it too, you can have a print (or a cell phone case or a tote bag or a duvet cover or a shower curtain or a pillow or a tshirt). Inquiries can always come to me, and thank you so much. 

Busy Work

Every job has it, right? yes, even mine. Today was spent tidying up, doing paperwork for a couple show entries, building a box for another piece heading out to a show, prepping a lesson plan for next week's grownUPs journaling class, and trying to clear off my desk.

After some progress was made on the above, I pulled out the homework for Year of the Spark, and rewarded myself with some serious one-on-one unicorn time.

The assignment was to work large, starting with several charcoal drawings (blind contour, non dominant hand, etc), then working with a large brush and a light heart, making childlike marks. My uni started out simple, but I hit a zone, and when I came out of it, he was quite a bit more complex. But still pretty darned delightful. (I am especially pleased that I used techniques learned from Stanka Kordic, Lisa Kennedy and Ingrid Dijkers, all of whom I've studied with this year)

I felt so good about the unicorn that I decided to take another stab at the assignment. "Don't-Give-a-Care Bear" is currently on my easel, and should be finished later tonite. I think I'll be able to part with the bear, so if you are interested, shoot me a note.


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

Monday, August 10, 2015

Gordon and Susan, Toy #21 of 100 Toys by Kimberly Kelly Santini

"Gordon and Susan," Toy #21, 6" x 6," acrylics on masonite. Remember these two from Sesame Street? I loved their calm, loving characters. They always brought me peace. This painting is $75, including shipping inside the US. Purchasing is as simple as asking.

I'm dating myself, but I grew up with this show. As the oldest of 5, I had lots of opportunities to continue to enjoy it beyond my preschool years. And I didn't mind it a bit - the personalities, whether muppet or human, were loved like family.

So when I found Gordon and Susan's characters as Fisher Price Little People figurines, I had to have them. Even though I never played with these specific toys, the memories the figures stirred up were still there.

Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork,
All my best, Kim

Friday, August 07, 2015

T Rex, Toy #20 of 100 Toys by Kimberly Kelly Santini

"T Rex," Toy #19, 6" x 6," acrylics on masonite. This painting features a Schleich plastic dinosaur, freshly grown in our Dinosaur Garden. This painting is $75, including shipping inside the US. Purchasing is as simple as asking.


Yes, you read that right. We have a dinosaur garden. It's a perennial one, self sows/reseeds every year underneath some giant hostas and magical foxgloves. It is home to Grandpa Toad (he's a very happy, very large toad) and his descendants, along with a collection of tiny dinosaurs and dragons that co-exist quite nicely.

Kids always ask where we got our dinosaur garden. But it came with our house, so I'm not sure where to tell them to get one of their own. But I have heard, if you make a comfy dinosaur nest, you might entice one to move in and start up his/her own commune.

Please note, there is a difference between making a dinosaur nest and a warm bed for feral cats. Make sure you google directions for the right sort of nest!!

Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork,
All my best, Kim

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Recent Paintings, Available for Purchase

I'm always painting, or so it seems! The following paintings are recently available for purchase directly from my studio. These original works, unless noted, are acrylic on museum quality panel. All prices include s&h within the US. (A more comprehensive list of unsold originals can be seen here)

BONUS - Multiple paintings can typically be shipped together, returning collectors receive 10% off purchases (excluding paintings on paper or masonite), and I do accept payment plans (6 month plan with art shipped upon completion of payments). 

Thanks so much for your interest in my artwork! 
Warmly, Kim

"Domino," 7-1/2" x 12", $449. Inquire directly to me.

"Bouquet IV," one of several floral paintings available, each created under the instruction of Lisa Daria Kennedy, 6" x 6", acrylics on masonite, $75. Inquire directly to me. You can view additional florals here.

"Mum's Kitten," 10" x 16", $579. Inquire directly to me.

"Cookie Monster," Toy #6 of 100, 6" x 6", acrylics on masonite, $75. This summer brought on a new series of 100 toys, each affordably priced. I am about 1/4 of the way through the project, and have created a smile worthy collection. Inquire directly to me.

August Desktop Calendar

You can 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 not an expert on operating systems, so if you don't know how to change your desktop wallpaper, please don't email me - I will indubitably steer you wrong. Your computer's help files 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!).

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


Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Cowboy's Ride, Toy #19 of 100 Toys

"Cowboy's Ride," Toy #19, 6" x 6," acrylics on masonite. This painting features a small plastic horse - perhaps from some sort of game? He bears no stamp or manufacture's id. His painting is $75, including shipping inside the US. Purchasing is as simple as asking.
The Party's Over....

Re-entry is tough.

I came home last night, and started on laundry and other neglected tasks (like email!). By midday today, suitcases were unpacked and all put away. Sigh. 

Already looking forward to next year!

And figuring out when I can sit and edit my photos from New York. And what sorts of paintings they will inspire.

And also thinking about September, and Leslie Saeta's 30 paintings in 30 days pledge. Care to join us?

Thanks, as always, for following along with my artwork,
All my best, Kim


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