Thursday, July 17, 2008

Big Dream in Multi-colored Animal Portrait Wrapper

Excerpt of interview of Kim Santini for Votre Vray Creative women project by Mel. Edwards.

For Kimberly Kelly Santini, it is all about community, connections and canines. Okay, all animals are dear to her, but Kim certainly knows her puppies! In October 2006, Kim of set out to try something new. Instead of her over-sized animal portraits and being identified by a company name dedicated to her beloved rescued feline, she was going to try out new techniques on a smaller scale with a set subject: dogs. She decided that creating five new paintings, about 4 inches square, per week would do the trick. She also attached her vision of promoting canine rescue and love to her art. Kim laughs that she thought she’d do it for a year, but now she admits she had enough material and ideas to keep her going through September 2009! The work from this project can be followed at When asked if she ever veered away from dogs, she admitted that the subscribers can handle a little variation, but in the end, mutts to purebreds are what it’s all about. “Before this project, about 80% of my portrait work was of dogs, and Dog-a-day had a nice ring to it. I also wanted to try new things instead of working on just one portrait for weeks, so this met my needs.”

Frustrated artists, who think you must have huge blocks of time to do your art, think again. “I used to be guilty of the mindset of needing at least 8 hours to work on a piece, and then realized it was a rule I was making for myself. It took a little while to get there, but now I know better.” During the school year Kim gets up to six hours per day of uninterrupted time to paint, but summers whittle her minutes down to about two hours a day when her children are at the Boys and Girls club, or late nights once the kids begin to settle in the for the evening. Still, she has no regrets and her kids are used to it.

In fact, when she isn’t in the studio and puts on make-up because she wants to add a bit of personal sparkle, her kids ask, “Are we going somewhere?” Kim laughs again and says, “They know that when I’m in the groove, I’ve got my good music going, the right shoes on and chocolate on hand, I’m going to paint. Lipstick days are pretty out of the ordinary for me.”

What keeps her going besides music, good shoes and chocolate? Peer support. “Find a single mentor or a group of people knowledgeable of your medium. It is key to have someone you can ask, ‘What do I do if…’ and someone who you can share your work with.” Some supporting groups on the ‘net have been very helpful to her including:, the, and

Kim also suggests that artists be open to new ideas, always wanting to expand their capacity for earning and fulfilling their own dreams. I asked her what her Big Dream was, and true to color, Kim said, “Mel, I have it. I don’t think it gets much better than this.”

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