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30 Dogs 30 Days - Puppy Butt

Puppy Butt, pictured above, is one of my all time favorite Dog a Day paintings because it provided a critical Ah-Ha moment. It's a little piece, 6" square, that hammered in a big lesson. He sold right away, but you can order reproductions and other items through my FineArtAmerica storefront.

I remember painting it - keep in mind that after more than 1300 Dog a Day paintings, I don't recall actively creating too many of them. I remember being excited to start, so excited that I jumped right in, sweeping the background in with a wide brush I hadn't bothered to clean or wipe off. My color became grayed out and muted color. I cursed myself for being lazy (it's my greatest painting vice), but then I said, hey, lazy girl, you might have just done something pretty cool.

Laying the background colors down with a dirty brush mucked them up (I work in layers, and paint the entire background first before putting the dog/foreground shape in). They were grayed out, and not as pretty and bright like when mixed on the palette. Which actually was a cool thing, because those mucked up colors immediately receded into the background, building a sense of depth/space in the painting from the very beginning. This was my first conscious realization of something I had known all along - that gray color recedes and bold color moves forward.

You can read everything that is written about painting and you can study with the greats, but for me learning mostly boils down to showing up and doing the work. What if I did this? what happens when I do that?

That's why I am a huge advocate of daily practice. Picking up your tools, even if it's just 10 minutes a day, is the best thing you can do to grow your skills. I would not be the painter I am today were it not for 18+ years of showing up, brush in hand.

So do yourself a favor. Commit a small window of time to creating every day. Pianists weren't born knowing how to play Liszt, nor were painters born with an innate understanding of color.

And stay tuned, because I have some exciting news in the coming weeks about this painter sharing bits of what she has learned over the years.

Warmly, Kim

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