Saturday, February 05, 2011

Artist Spot Light: "Mixing Color and Family: Artist Kim Santini"

Mixing Color and Family: Artist Kim Santini

Balto, 8x10, from October 2010
The first time I saw the work of Kimberly Santini was the Poster for the AKC Eukanuba National Championship dog show. Her palette of colors was warm and inviting, she nailed the expression of every dog she painted and she pulls off the combination of impressionism and strong color skills that could only be achieved by some very extensive study in basic realism. She is one of the growing number of globally known artists that have taken on the Painting a day challenge. She is now in her 5th year of painting a dog a day.

“I have a BFA Degree in Fine Art and one in Art History.” She told me. Like so many of us artists, she had been programmed to believe that if there were not large blocks of time to lock yourself away in a studio that art just wasn’t going to happen. “I just felt if I couldn’t carve out the time, I couldn’t do it.”

Then non- art career opportunities and children took over and there were no longer large blocks of time in her busy schedule. As her children became older and went off to school she was left with her youngest daughter and a long afternoon when she slept. “I just really needed something to do during nap time. So I pulled out my acrylic paints and began to paint in the afternoons.”
According to Kim a relative saw the resulting painting and wanted a portrait, and then showed it to a friend. And so the business began to grow. However, Kim credits the encouragment of her husband with her success in stepping out into being a fulltime artist. " I have the best husband in the world. He really saw the potential in me." She told me that he has been her biggest encouragement and fan.

Tiny Kitten, Big Dreams (Mona Lisa),
5x7, from November 2010

“I was painting big. I painted life size or larger canvases of dogs and horses. Some took months to finish”

Her studio space became the center of activity of her home. “The computer is in the studio “ She told me, and her children are in an out all the time, doing homework, telling her about their day and even on occasion painting with her. “I realized with family and work I would never be able to carve out large blocks of time to paint”
She adjusted her time to fit the schedule her family needed. She said having her studio in the center of the home makes her accessible all the time. “When the kids were younger they were really involved in making things. I wanted to make creation part of their lives."  Kim insists there was always something happening to encourage them to create and imagine.

When she began painting a dog a day she realized that she would have to adjust her way of making art. The first thing was to paint small. “No more of those larger than life paintings” The process challenged her style and her efficiency as a painter. “I have a very strong foundation in the basics” she shared, “I spent many hours as a young person studying muscle structure of horses and dogs. I tried to capture the way the legs and feet held the weight so that even if you don’t see the entire body, the muscles will look right; like they are flexed to suggest the way they are standing."

Drip Dry, 9x12, from September 2010.

Kim says it was important for her to embrace the flexibility of her life style and her painting. “I want to let the viewer bring their experience to the painting, so it is not just an image to them. I am painting for every day Americans."

Her portrait work is long in expressions, deep in its ability to suggest correct draftsmanship, while giving the impression of capturing a moment in time. “I want the people who see my work, to receive the impression of the animal, and have it provoke memories, or trigger them to feel the love that had been.”

You can see more of Kim Santini’s work:
 Her blog:
And visit her page on Facebook : Kimberly Kelly Santini