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Showing posts from June, 2007
"From Behind (Great Dane Study),” 4” x 6”, harlequin great dane dog painting in acrylic on canvasboard, $50. Inquiries to . SOLD. A few years back I followed this young great dane around a dog event, shooting pictures of him from every possible angle. I loved the lines of his 1/2 grown body, and the way he loped around. I tried to capture a sense of that in this study from behind – but now I’m wishing I had painted it larger, so that I could have lost myself inside the violets and lavenders in his markings (even though that’s NOT what this painting is about). Perhaps next time – I’ll put these photos back into the “inspiration pile,” and you’ll see this guy again. On another note, after much deliberation, I’ve decided to take a week’s vacation from the dog-a-days. We have a dear friend coming to stay with us for a bit, along with a big shin-dig we’re hosting for the 4th of July. And at the tail end of the week, my husband and I will celebrate our 16
“Goin’ for a Swim,” 4” x 8”, yellow Labrador retriever portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, $60. Inquiries to . SOLD. This seemed like an appropriate image for another beautiful summer day. The oranges and blues are nice compliments to each other, and even though their values are very low (meaning they have lots of white in them), they still sing. There’s something about placing compliments side-by-side that elevates a painting to the next level. I’ve known about color compliments forever, but I am finally starting to understand how I can best use them in my work. For so long I was trying to trap the most color possible into a canvas, and now I’m able to appreciate the weeding of color, and have gained a solid understanding of neutrals and grays in conjunction with well-placed and saturated color. Thanks, as always, for looking. And for sharing these paintings with your friends and family, Kim Kimberly Kelly Santini distin
“Rapt (Shadow),” from the Larger than Life series, 16”x22”, acrylic black lab mixed breed pet portrait on gallery wrapped canvas, $699. Inquiries to . SOLD. This is Shadow, who went missing on Sunday night. He belongs to a friend of mine, and has been a fixture in our community for many years. Errant fireworks scared the silly old guy into running off, and his family is busy searching for him. (If you happen to be in the Lake Orion/Oakland County area and have seen Shadow, please call 248-391-0867 or 248-391-6817) I’m confidant that he is safe (somewhere!) and awaiting discovery, but meanwhile, couldn’t help myself from posting his portrait as today’s dog a day painting . He’s constantly on my mind, and probably will remain so, until he finds his way back home. Hug your four legged guys while you can! Thanks, as always, for looking. And for sharing these paintings with friends and family, Kim Kimberly Kelly Santini dis
“Rembrandt,” 4” x 6”, mixed breed acrylic pet portrait on canvasboard, private collection. A special thanks, too, to the Schalk family for their second dog-a-day commission. (All morning long I was asking myself why I didn’t give my dog a great name like Rembrandt. The name truly fits this guy, too, with all those curls and feathering mirroring the brushwork of his namesake.) My Rembrandt is full of layers of richly colored violets and blues. He had dark skin from which grew merled waves of fur (merled fur is a dark undercoat punctuated by white hairs, much like liver coloring one might see on a pointer), which created a smokey effect around his muzzle. I used the brushwork to model the loose, curly fur, and allowed color shifts and highlights to build the shape of his skull. This is one painting that really is best appreciated in person – the density of the glazes simply does not translate well to the computer. Commissioning your own dog-a-day painting is simple – send digital images
“Schnauzer Study (Max),” 6” x 8”, schnauzer portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (thank you!). It has literally been years since I last painted a schnauzer. I remember Gretel, a schnauzer from my childhood, as a streak of violet and silver, her moustache and ears flopping as she streaked across her yard. And then there was Schnaufer, one of my first commissioned portraits and the most solid schnauzer I’ve seen to date, who’s coat seemed pure silver with eyes of molten copper. Funny how certain images stay with you, isn’t it? Their silky little mugs are so much fun, though – all the lavenders and blues and pinks contrast well with the deep set dark eyes. And when clipped, their fringes accent their features and make for terribly playful subject matter. So here is today’s dog, a schnauzer who used to live down the street from me. Our paths crossed again in the last few months, and I was asked if I could paint Max. Of course I said yes, while trying to contain my excitem
On top, "Charlotte," 12" x 14", beagle-mix pet portrait in process, private collection. On bottom, working title "Cat Nap," 16" x 20" cattle dog/blue heeler pet portrait, work in process. Inquiries to . It’s been one of those days where, despite accomplishing a tremendous amount, I do not have a finished piece to show you. I started out working on Charlotte’s 12x14 portrait (the beagle mix), knowing that if I put another layer of glaze down, I could use the drying time to work on another piece. Which is what I did. Then, because today is “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” I thought I would paint Finnigan (my cattle dog). But instead of choosing something new, I went back into an older 16 x 20 sized piece (see April 2nd). SIDE NOTE: By the way, this painting did get juried into the Masterpiece Arts show, which ended in May. However, I continued to be bothered by the background and how flat Finni seemed to be, and could
ARTIST'S NOTE Sept 25th, 2007: This painting has been framed in a beautiful gilt and detailed molding, that perfectly compliments the range of color. It was juried into the 2007 Southwestern Michigan Portrait Exhibition, where my body of work (including 2 other dog-a-day entries) earned third place. “Westie Pup (Sophie),” 5” x 7”, west highland puppy pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, not for sale. When my niece recently returned from working the winter tour with a Grand Prix equestrian farm she came home with this little sweetheart. I’m not sure who got more attention – Tiffany, who had been gone for 4 months, or this bouncy little pup. When I sat down to paint Sophie, I was reminded of my first lesson with a well respected portrait painter. She had set up a still life, entirely comprised of white objects, and we spent more time discussing the color that was bouncing around amidst all the white than we did actually painting. There was no audible dialogue today when I painte
“Black Lab Mix,” 6” x 6” square, $60. Inquiries to . SOLD. Painting black dogs is a lot of fun, because they aren’t really black at all. This guy had a lot of green and purple in him. The other trick to painting a black dog that looks alive is to pay careful attention to the values and contrast. If they are too soft, the dog will appear gray. Too harsh, and the dog will look like a cartoon. The other problem that I have when painting darker animals is with my technique, which includes a lot of dry brushing with a stiff bristle brush. If I am not careful enough, the brush will rub too much of the lower glazes out, and I lose the darker values. This is especially apparent when I’m painting something that falls at the darker end of the value scale. So, yes, I did do that, multiple times today. And I could still go in and lay some brighter highlights across the crown of his head and down that right side, but the painting is pretty wet, and I find myself run
“Buffy (Long Haired Tortie Study),” 4” x 5”, feline portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (thank you!). When clients send over a stack of reference photos for a commissioned dog-a-day painting, usually one or two of the images (sometimes more than that, if I’m lucky!) scream “Paint me!” That simplifies the process completely – I allow that particular image to steer the size of the finished piece, and use bits from the other photographs to add details here and there. But sometimes I’m not so lucky, and the client can only scrape together a photo or two. With Buffy here, all I had to work from was one tiny 2” high photo, in which her face was less than 1/4” high. To further complicate matters, the photograph was taken with a flash, which practically wiped out what detail was left in the tiny image. I was comfortable taking this on only because Buffy looked so much like a tortie that owned me not so long ago. Despite my confidence, I did almost chuck this painting twice.
“Blue,” 5” x 7”, acrylic mixed breed portrait (definately some corgi in there!) on canvasboard, private collection (thank you!). It’s always a little disconcerting when I am asked to paint a dog with two different colored eyes. Especially when the only photos I have to work from have possessed “red eyes.” But sometimes that’s all the client may have (darned those point and shoot cameras! If you really want a nice photo of your dog (or anything, for that matter), turn off the flash and use natural lighting whenever possible!!). Anyways, back on track. The values that result from one dark and one light eye always seem to make the painting seem off balance. So this time I compensated by placing the lighter eye closer to the middle of the canvas than the darker one. It turned the blue eye into the focal point, which seemed fitting, given this dog’s name. Again, lots of loose brushwork, yummy glazes, and gooey paint all working together to convey Blue’s steady gaze. Thanks, as always, for l
“Cairn Terrier Study,” 6” x 8”, terrier portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, $80. Inquiries to . SOLD. There’s a little cairn like this one that frequents our local bark park. He struts through there as though he owns the place, and even the behemoths leave this little guy alone. Attitude clearly is everything. This painting is deceptively simple looking. I started with an initial layer of pale blue, green and orange, and slowly built up the paint over the course of several hours, staggering the brushwork to match the wirey fur, and occasionally going back into particular areas with a stiff, dry brush, rubbing the edges out. It has a fresh and spontaneous feel, despite the layers and the effort. And easy confidence, just like the little guy I see on our walks. Thanks, as always, for looking. And for sharing these paintings with friends and family! Enjoy the weekend and Father’s Day, Kim Kimberly Kelly Santini distinctive
“Molly (Yorkshire Terrier),” 4” x 5”, pet portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (thank you!). I didn’t feel fair sitting down to paint Molly just a little bit ago. It’s been a full day, and I am beyond tired. Started with a final house purge (had to get all the non-essentials out and to the salvation army before my kids brought lockers and cubbys full of goodies back in), then squeezed in end of school year class parties with tearful goodbyes to some of the best teachers on earth, followed by celebrating the onset of summer at the beach (how could I say no? They’ve been trapped in classrooms for the last 9 months). I would have loved to have crawled into bed after tucking mine in. But I still had today’s dog to paint (and a host of wet towels and swimsuits to deal with, too). So, even though it felt like Molly was getting the short end of the stick because I was so tired, I set up my palette, put on some soothing music, and got to it. And she pretty much painted hersel
“Fluffy,” 5x7, Maltese dog portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection. Here is what Fluffy’s young owner, Jacalyn (a budding artist herself!), had to say when I asked her to write a few words: “Fluffy is my little friend, I love her very much. She is a Maltese….. Wherever I go she follows me. She is always there for me when I am sad….. She is not like any other dog….. Oh, and she loves to lick.” I don’t think I could have written anything even close to that sort of a tribute! Thank you to Jacalyn and Fluffy’s family for commissioning, this little portrait. And thank YOU for your time in following the Painting a Dog a Day project . As always, feel free to share this email, the blog ( ), or the website ( ) with friends and family, Kim Kimberly Kelly Santini distinctive pet portraits & 4-legged paintings come. sit. stay. enjoy the
On top, “Fax,” 8” x 16”, acrylic on gallery stretched canvas. On bottom, “Fax,” 4x8, acrylic on canvasboard, dog a day painting. Both paintings in a private collection.. In addition to the smaller paintings on canvasboard (which I refer to as my dog-a-day paintings), I also complete stretched canvases in a variety of sizes. I wanted to show you this newly finished stretched canvas as a means of comparison, because I had painted Fax as a dog-a-day back in February. The dog-a-day pieces are very spontaneous, and intimate. They have a tender quality and looser brushwork, and are typically inspired by one particular photograph. The stretched canvases are more detailed, careful renderings, not just of a specific likeness, but of the animal’s nature. These paintings are a collaboration between myself and the animal’s person, and often pull in elements from multiple photographs. I think you can get a sense of the difference between the two types by comparing both my likenesses here. It’s impo
“Jewel,” 5x7, mixed breed dog portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, private collection (thank you!!). Jewel lived a life packed with love, and you can tell by the contentment oozing from her grin. I enjoyed painting her face, with her dark rimmed eyes and faded mask. The contrasts were fun to work up, and while they may appear flat on your monitor, this painting sings with blues and violets and apricots. Commissioning your own dog-a-day pet portrait can’t get any easier (or at least I’d like to think of it that way – please let me know how I might improve things!). You simply send your photos (digital ones to , printed photos to 346 N Anderson, Lake Orion, MI 48362), and wait your turn. I acknowledge receipt of materials and provide an anticipated window of time (usually a week’s span) where I’ll create your painting. Thanks as always for looking. And for sharing these paintings with your friends and family, Kim Kimberly Kelly Santini http://www.turtledo
“Tabby Cat Wink,” 6’ x 8”, feline portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, $80. Proceeds from the sale of this painting will benefit 2nd Chances Pit Bull Rescue in Charlotte, Michigan. Inquiries to . SOLD. This piece was inspired by Felicity, a sweet gray tabby with orange points, available for adoption. So much color in her fur, and such a coy gaze. 2nd Chances Pit Bull Rescue takes in more than just pit bulls and pit bull mixes. They have a variety of breeds, and a smattering of cats. Right now they have 5 different kitties available for adoption, Felicity being one of them. Contact Debbie at 2nd Chances to arrange an appointment to meet Felicity or any of her other furrball friends -!%20(Id%20) . You can also see the other animals available for adoption from the rescue at their website: . The rescue is full, and cannot accept a
“Pit Bull Puppy Study (Dana),” 6” x 12”, pit bull portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, $80. Proceeds from the sale of this painting will go to support the 2nd Chances Pit Bull Rescue in Charlotte, Michigan. Inquiries to . SOLD. For whatever reason, I am always most comfortable working lifesize. Maybe that’s because as I go through my days I find myself dissecting what I see into brushstrokes and swathes of color. Dana ended up pretty close to lifesize in this painting, which led nicely to my being able to capture the life and sweetness in her gaze. Animal control contacted 2nd Chances because they saw what a truly nice dog Dana was. The rescue took her in, and has enjoyed getting to know this wonderful dog. Dana LOVES people and vice versa. She is the epitome of what a typical pit bull is - very sweet, affectionate, people oriented, happy, with a wiggly butt always in motion. She loves to cuddle, and is nicely sized at around 45 pounds. She is housebroken
“Tortoiseshell Study,” 4” x 6”, acrylic feline portrait on canvasboard. Proceeds from the sale of this painting will go to the Friends of Michigan Animal Rescue in Bellevue, Michigan. Inquiries to . SOLD. Lindsey, the model for this painting, came into the Friends of Michigan Animal Rescue 2 years ago with a litter of kittens. Her kittens have been placed, but shy Lindsey remains. Her turquoise eyes can often be seen watching the action from afar. I used the color of her eyes as a starting point for the rest of the painting. There’s always riotous color going on in the coat of a tortoiseshell, and I pushed the envelope even further with this painting (which you are viewing larger than life - it’s only 4” across). This piece is a little gem, and will look lovely framed up and tucked into a special place – maybe a little girl’s bedroom, or a powder room, or tucked among titles on a bookshelf. Meanwhile, if you are interested in learning more about Lindsey
“Pinkie,” 4” x 5”, pit bull puppy portrait in acrylic on canvasboard, $50. Proceeds from the sale of this painting will go to Pinkie’s host shelter, the Ingham County Animal Shelter. Inquiries to . Pinkie’s story is an all too familiar one. At only 6 weeks, tiny and emaciated, she found herself in the Ingham County Animal Shelter. To complicate her frail health and the fact that she was a pit bull (a breed often misunderstood by the general public), it also was discovered that she was deaf. This puppy’s life took a happy turn because of Ingham County Animal Shelter’s fostering program. The shelter actively recruits foster homes, allowing foster families to care for shelter animals in a nurturing and friendly environment (their homes). This is a win-win situation – overtaxed shelters have a little more breathing room, the animals are well cared for in a home environment, and caregivers get a more accurate idea of each personality, with the animals ultimat
“Sleepy Marmalade,” 11” x 14”, acrylic feline portrait on canvasboard, $199. Proceeds from the sale of this portrait will go to the Friends of Michigan Animal Rescue in Bellevue, Michigan. Inquiries to . When I was painting this cat, I found myself returning to a method I used in my college days – that of randomly placing daubs of color, allowing them to dictate pattern, lines, and shapes separate from the subject matter (yes, I used to paint abstractly). The surface of this painting has much going on – layers of glazes, texture scratched in with paint rubbed overtop, and unexpected yummy color. It’s a small step in the direction I would ultimately like to see my larger paintings travel. This piece is rather unorthodox, but never the less still good natured. Returning to our subject matter here, though, don’t we all know a cat like this? A big ole’ purr factory, with an uncanny ability to hone in on the coziest spot in the house? Such is the story of Dia

Welcome to June 2007 Shelter & Rescue Week

It doesn’t seem possible that a month has already flown by – seems like the inaugural (May) Shelter & Rescue Week was just a few days ago. Here’s how this week will work: Each day this week, the Painting a Dog a Day project will profile an adoptable animal from a Michigan shelter or rescue. (This happens the first full week of each month). Proceeds from the painting sales during this week will be returned to the host shelters and rescues. Additionally, during the month a shelter or rescue is featured, families having adopted previously from that shelter or rescue and commissioning their own dog-a-day painting will accrue another donation to their respective shelter or rescue. Organizations participating in June 2007 are the Friends of Michigan Animal Rescue in Bellevue, the 2nd Chances Pit Bull Rescue in Ingham County, and the Ingham County Animal Shelter. I also have an ongoing relationship with the South Eastern Michigan chapter of PAWS with a Cause (they will not be profiled
“Untitled Kitten,” 6” square, seal point kitten portrait in casein on hardboard. I often talk about the things that I am studying – the human form, landscape, color temperature, you name it. Well today I decided to show you one of my “lessons.” This is a little 6” square painting done in casein on hardboard. Casein is a milk derivative paint with some unique qualities. For one, it’s opaque, so there is no transparency to the layers of color. This is a big challenge to someone who is used to building on what’s already been laid down. Casein also dries practically 2 seconds after it hits the surface. So there is no pushing or pulling the paint around – once it’s down, it’s down. Again, another challenge to someone who likes to let loose brushwork steer the direction of her paintings. However, casein lends itself to a quiet and thoughtful painting session, almost like meditation. And I can use a small watercolor palette to mix colors. Once they dry on the palette, they can be revived with