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30 Dogs 30 Days - Blue

This is Blue, and he joined our family last last summer. This little guy owns me completely. We're not entirely certain of Blue's story, since he's a rescue, but he's found his forever home with us.

It didn't take long after Blue moved into our home for him to make himself home on my easel, too. He's been painted numerous times, and will be painted numerous more, I dare say.

Over the years I've discovered that there's so much more to painting a portrait than capturing a likeness. Truly wonderful portraits don't just fill a spot on the wall - they step into our hearts. When I add elements of emotion to a portrait, the piece elevates into a conversation between the subject and the viewer. It's as if the painting is alive, even if it's not painted photo representationally. Particularly if it's not, perhaps. Blue's portrait above is an example of the marriage of likeness and emotive content - it transcends either to become something bigger.

I ask those of you who are artists - how might you infuse your work with emotional content? what elements can you introduce - non local color, gesture, symbols, text, edge manipulation, pattern, value shifts - my list could go on. Take an older painting (it's only paint!) and play with some of your ideas. See how you can transform your original likeness into something else altogether.

Warmly, Kim


  1. Kim, I want to thank you for inspiring me years ago, first, to design monthly downloadable calendars featuring my feline artwork, and later my nature and wildlife artwork. At the time I'd also just begun my daily cat sketches, and living with a house of five black cats I started having fun with local and non-representational color, moving toward abstracts sometimes in pencil and ink. I studied your paintings each day in 2012-2013 and on, and developed a body of innovative feline artwork that I have used in shows and in merchandise I create, imprinting my art onto it somehow. That loosened up my commissioned work and while typically, most people want a standard portrait, a clear memory, now and then they want me to play and I love it. I still study your work pretty much each day.

    1. Bernadette - thank you for this sweet note! I loved seeing your pics - was it via Twitter that we first connected?! I remember painting one of them, too. You have a giant heart, and that shows in your artwork. Keep painting girl - the world needs you!! <3


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