Growing Up ~~ Painting a Dog a Day by Kimberly Kelly Santini

FROM TOP: "Little Boy," 6" x 8", Raymar panel, and "Young Man," 6" square, Ampersand Gessobord. Both portraits depicting a yellow lab service dog pup, both pieces done in Golden Open Acrylics.

One for my client (once they choose) and one for another lucky soul. Inquiries may always come to me.

I could not decide how best to paint Rusty for his foster parents, who are raising him on behalf of Power Paws, an assistance dog organization. My clients will ensure that Rusty grows up well socialized and with excellent manners, before turning him over to Power Paws for task specific training. Rusty's training will be designed specifically to provide a disabled person greater independence.

We all know how hard it is to raise a puppy. Can you imagine doing this, knowing the dog was in your home for just a short time? Now granted, the dog IS moving on to a greater job, but nevertheless it takes very special families to foster service dogs.

And my clients are no exception - they are long time collectors turned friends who travelled with Rusty to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary this past summer just to meet up with me!

So the pressure was on - should I paint Rusty as a puppy, which he was for the majority of his time with my clients, or should I paint Rusty as a young man, ready to move forward and make a tremendous difference in someone's world?

I waffled, even after chocolate. So I painted him both ways and asked my clients to choose.

Not fair, I know - but now there are two versions of this sweet boy's face. Two versions that will brighten up two homes, while the real Rusty moves onto a third.

Thanks for looking at, and sharing, my artwork with your friends and family -

Collecting Art

You know the feeling when you see a piece of art that touches your soul for the very first time? You catch your breath - is it really that perfect? - and you step in closer to get a more detailed look. Your breathing slows, your smile widens, and your eyes caress the surface of the piece.

You reach a point where you simply cannot get enough. With each new discovery inside the painting (or sculpture or whatever), another connection is made, and you fall further in love with the piece.

You try to imagine where you would display the art in your house or apartment. It's gotta be a special spot where you can enjoy it every day.

Once you picture it in place, nothing else will do. You imagine the joy and clarity your days would gain were you to live with that piece of art. You look forward to sharing it with your friends and family, who will fall in love with the brilliance of your choice.

At this point there's no turning back. You have to own it.

Perhaps more so because I am an artist, I fall hard for art. Really hard, like teenager in love for the first time hard.

Lots of people ask why I bother purchasing, when I could just make something similar myself.
But that's not the point. I suppose if I felt the need, I could hole up and make a copy of, say, one of Katie Upton's paintings (which I WILL own one day, I promise). But what I created would not be the same - it would be a derivative of her idea, her talent, and her desire.

And if I (and others) stopped buying original art, how would the artists who breathe so much beauty into our worlds be able to continue to do so?

So I squirrel a little bit of money away and I fantasize about who I'll purchase next.

Enjoy my latest acquisition, "Fiddle Head Ferns" byElizabeth St Hilaire Nelson. I coveted this one from the moment I first saw it many months ago and visualized it hanging in my kitchen.

And now it's there for real, not just in my imagination.

I'm off to make some pasta and sip a glass of wine with my ferns.

Art is a highly affordable way to bring personality and uniqueness to your home, and it makes for an especially thoughtful gift. I encourage those interested to visit Etsy and learn for themselves exactly how inexpensively one can begin their own collection of art.

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