pet portraits and animal paintings

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I have a ridiculously great life, playing with paint in the studio and flexing my time around the needs of my family. Took me a while to work out the balance, but I figured it all out and am loving every second. You can see my artwork at and I'm on twitter (ksantini) and facebook (Kimberly Santini), and the FB studio is Kimberly Kelly Santini.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"A Distinguished Gentleman (Harley)," 14" x 24", commissioned harlequine great dane dog portrait, in acrylic on gallery stretched canvas. The above image is the painting almost completed.

Harley has inspired several paintings already (see "The Red Collar" at He is delightful and handsome and one of the most engaging models I've worked with to date.

I am certain that I will paint him again.

But meanwhile I need to put the finishing touches on the above piece. I see a few tweaks I want to make, and more will crop up in the days to come. I like to live with a painting for a little before I deliver it to the client, and make certain I haven't missed a single detail.

Now it's onto the next portrait - a big red dog. I bet Amos (a de Bordeaux Mastiff) could give Clifford a solid run for his money!

Kimberly Kelly Santini
distinctive pet portraits
& 4-legged paintings
come. sit. stay.
enjoy the art.

Founding member of the Canine Art Guild
the gateway to canine art on the web

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Things have been so busy with the Painting a Dog a Day project, that I've had to slow down on the lifesize and larger portraiture quite a bit this last year. That was a tough decision to make, as I thoroughly enjoy painting at this scale, but I think it was a good one. It's allowed me to focus more so on my skills growth.

Which is a huge plus, because I find when I return to the larger scale, I do so with more and more confidance. This particular piece, one of the most recent to come from the easel, showcases a lot of the newer ideas I've been working on: color harmony, the bounce of light, modelling with color temperature changes instead of just value shifts, and balancing saturation with grays.

This is a gallery stretched canvas, 38" x 20," built on 3" deep stretchers. The empty canvas alone had quite a serious presence, as it sat heavily on the wall in my studio, waiting for the first layers of paint.

My clients supplied me with a number of strong photographs, with the composition being pulled mainly from one photo. But there was tweaking to do in order to allow equal "space" to all three horses. Lighting was adjusted, shoulders and bodies were shifted, and I took a few creative liberties (can you find them?!).

They are pleased with the painting, as am I.

Hope you enjoy it as well.
Now I get to tackle a mastiff's head and shoulders. Not quite at this scale, but it promises to be a good workout nonetheless.

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