How the pARTy Works

On a given day an image will be shared, along with the subsequent artwork painted by the pARTy hosts.

Participants are then invited to create art from the referenced image, Anything goes, but the artwork must have been started and finished within a 24 hour period.

In the fairness of allowing all an equal opportunity to participate, artists will have a window of time to complete their pARTy entry, again keeping in mind said entry must have actually been created within a 24 hour window.

NEW: pARTy submissions must be emailed to by the pARTy deadline so that they can be uploaded to the blog. You may also register for the pARTy forum and post your work there, but when doing so, please register in your own name and send us an email so that we can process your registration - otherwise we will assume it is just spam!

We regret that entries not meeting these requirements cannot be shared on the pARTy blog.

If you are posting pARTy artwork to your own website, please give credit to the individual photographer providing the photo. It would be great if you also mentioned The Virtual pARTy as well. We thank you in advance for this courtesy.

Thanks for joining us! And happy creating - Linda & Kim

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

August pARTy Image

Here is your image.

You may modify it however suits your working methods, but please, wherever you post your resulting work, give credit to the photographer Linda Shantz (

Artwork is due Saturday, August 22nd. You have one 24 hour period to complete your artwork, and all jpgs must be submitted via the pARTy forum.

More complete rules and details appear in the header of this blog and on the pARTy forum.

Happy creating!! Kim

Friday, August 14, 2009

Potential New pARTy Participants ~ Please Read!

Just to add to Kim's announcement, anyone who is registering for the first time on the Forum, please be sure to provide me with your email address for purposes of confirmation. I've been receiving a lot of spam registrations which I will not process, so if you don't give me some way of confirming you are indeed a real person, I won't approve the registration. If you've tried to register in the last couple of days and haven't been approved, please take a moment and drop me a line and I'll make sure your registration gets completed!

Thanks! Looking forward to you all playing along with us next week!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August's Virtual pARTy


The next Virtual pARTy will be held August 19th through the 22nd. This window of time is to allow participants the opportunity to allocate a 24 hour period for completing a piece of art inspired by the reference photo chosen by pARTy host Linda Shantz.

Linda will be choosing something from her recent trip to Saratoga Race Course opening weekend.

New pARTy participants are encouraged to visit the pARTy forum and register prior to submitting their artwork. If you've registered for a previous pARTy, there is no need to do so a second time.

pARTy followers may also check out the pARTy forum to see who's RSVPed and their corresponding artwork.

Stay tuned. Image to come shortly!
Happy creating!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Decorations Are Up! Come Take A Look!

Our participants this time around have been joining in on a forum we've set up for the pARTy. This is your invitation to come over and see what's going on! We've had some great work posted so far - check out pARTy Central to see them, and you can also learn a little about our Participating Artists in another section.

If you'd like to comment, you'll have to register. Artists and non-artists are welcome to join. Here's the link:

The Virtual pARTy Forum

There's still one more day left to play, so check back! Or if you're an artist and still want to take part, dive on in!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July pARTy!!

It's that time again! The July pARTy has begun. You have between now and midnight July 4th 2009 (EST) to create and submit your artwork using the above photo. Keep in mind you have only 24 hours allocated to cover the creation process.

New this time around is the pARTy forum, a place where you can introduce yourself, read up on pARTy rules, download a higher resolution file of the reference and ultimately submit your pARTy image for sharing with the public. Please take a moment to register on the forum and say a quick hello - it is Linda's and my hope that this will add tremendously to the pARTy experience.

Should you publish your pARTy entry somewhere, please give credit to the reference photo photographer. The July pARTy's photographer is Kimberly Kelly Santini ( 

Thanks so much - happy creating! Kim

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Belmont pARTy "Field"!

We had great participation for our first pARTy. I know there were others who were unable to take part this time, for one reason or another, so I hope you'll join us next time! If any of you decide to do this on your own time, please feel free to email me the image and I'll try to get it up on the blog here. We are trying to keep some sort of structure, but well, it's more about the fun and less about that, so we can be flexible until things really get rolling!

Thanks again to our photographer, Juliet Harrison, for donating the reference image, and to all of our participating artists. And stay tuned for the next pARTy announcement!

Now, without further ado (and in no particular order!) here we go! Just a quick note to the artists - if I have made any errors, please let me know so that I can correct them.

Donna Pooley ~ 11 x 15 Watercolour

Sheila Wedegis ~ 20 x 7 Oil

Delia Pacheco ~ 4 x 6 Acrylic

Debbie Flood ~ 5 x 7 Watercolour

Elizabeth McCrindle ~ 7 x 5 Acrylic

Sheona Hamilton-Grant ~ 14 x 18 Graphite

Catherin McMillan ~ 6 x 8.5 Pastel

Sue Kroll ~ 5 x 7 Watercolour

Linda Massey ~ 16 x 20 Oil

The Chase

I'm a bit late posting my own pARTy painting, and I'll be following immediately with all our wonderful participants! I loved seeing Kim's take on the reference.

As I contemplated what I was going to do with the reference image, I thought I was going to go larger, about 11 x 14. Then I spotted a small piece of heavy linen I'd taped to a board some time ago - all toned and ready - and it was just the right proportions for what I wanted to do. It was a challenge to work this small - 3 x 7.25 inches. This particular linen is a very loose weave, so it was comparatively rough, but it readily grabbed the paint – which was handy for my limited time frame! Friday was a busy day, and I didn't have a lot of time to paint!

It was a lot of fun seeing the pARTy images come in - I had a private screening, so to speak! Now, to reveal them to the rest of you!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Gallop I and Gallop II

FROM TOP:   "Gallop I (Gray)" and "Gallop II (Dark Bay)," from the 2009 Belmont pARTy, both 6" x 12", equine paintings in acrylic on canvasboard, $249 each or $479 for both. Inquiries may come to me.
Today's pARTy reference photo was provided by equine photographer Juliet Harrison. I'd like to thank Juliet for sharing her imagery with us on our first open invitation pARTy. Juliet's photography portfolio is wonderful, her book exquisite eye candy, and she also provides reference photos for artists.
The reference photo (which you can see here), from Saratoga, depicts two Thoroughbreds in full gallop, complete with jockeys and the track scene as a backdrop. Initially I planned on painting each horse on his own panel, with the gray one pulling away and the dark horse digging in. Somewhere along the line, however, I began liking the idea of them running free, and never added the jockeys, rail, or background sheds. I'm debating still whether I should leave the dirt/track surface in the foreground or carry the grass to the lower edge of the canvas.
The idea of diptych's has always fascinated me. I've done it on a couple other occasions (Pounce is one), and really enjoy the challenge painting companion pieces provides. It's even more challenging to get those works completed within the course of a day that also included delivering artwork to a gallery and the end-of-school-year carnival.
I haven't seen Linda Shantz's painting yet, nor any of the Belmont pARTy participants. I understand Linda would like to have them all posted by Monday. You can review all the artwork on the Virtual pARTy blog.
Meanwhile, here's to a safe trip and a good race.
Enjoy your weekend!
Kim Santini

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Belmont pARTy!!

It's that time again - but this Virtual pARTy has a twist. All of you are invited!

The above image is our reference photo, kindly provided by equine photographer Juliet Harrison. We ask that you kindly provide her credit should you choose to publish your resulting pARTy artwork.

If you right click on the image and open it in a new window, you should have a high enough resolution file to download and work from.

Should you need a higher resolution image still, please contact Juliet directly or Kim.

pARTy rules are at the header of this page. Painting time starts tomorrow - we wish you well!!

Happy creating! Kim and Linda

Friday, May 15, 2009

Eye on the Prize

I think the first challenge with this image was the biggest one, for me. I do a lot of racehorse paintings, and I'd recently done a very similar image to this one, so I wanted to take something different from the reference. Add to that, I had a potentially crazy day today, with the vet scheduled to come out to check a couple of mares for breeding, and the likelihood of having to make arrangements for said breedings. That meant coming up with something I could realistically complete today. It's that old saying, about working smarter, rather than working harder! The crop was the first way to do that.

Next - I indulged myself by working on a 10 x 16 piece of stretched Artfix portrait linen, a very luxurious surface that works really well for alla prima in oils. The limited palette I often use went out the window for this one. Above, you see the result! It wasn't until about 8pm that I decided it was all going to work out. It was a bit of a relief, with the way my day was going when I started!

The painting will be available for sale, once dry ~ $750.00 plus shipping. If you're interested, feel free to drop me an email. Now, to clean my brushes - I used an awful lot of them today!

The Second Jewel: Preakness pARTy!

Two weeks sure flies by between races, doesn't it? We're at it again for the Preakness Stakes! Will The Bird defy his naysayers and take the next leg, or will Rachel show the boys how it's done? Or...will somebody else jump up and steal the show?

Here's our image for this pARTy, taken by photographer Juliet Harrison last summer at Saratoga. I think you'll find this time Kim and I took very different approaches to this challenge!

Warming Up

I cropped the photo a bit - one, to eliminate the sliver of negative space near the lower hind, and two, to accent the forward motion of the horse and the relationship with the jockey. My original intent was to include all of the jockey, but I couldn't find my proportional wheel and chose the wrong size board.  I do like the energy that's still caught, despite the jockey's  decapitation - but in many instances the painting would be ruined due to lack of proper planning. I just lucked out today.

So I began with a wash of ultramarine blue, bleeding to a pthalo blue red at the bottom. The ultra is a cooler blue, and the pthalo a warmer one. Cooler colors = distance, and I wanted that balance from the get go.

Then I started roughly blocking in the shape of the horse and jockey. I'm not worried about nit-pickey details, just rough forms, and beginning to establish values. It's not important to even have the right colors down now, because so many more layers will go overtop.

I modified the tree line from the reference photo. I needed a diagonal to sort of intercept the trajectory of the horse. Too many horizontals can overwhelm an object that is moving in that same direction, so I wanted to break it up.

Now I'm adding broader strokes of color - more realistic or correct in both tint/hue/value - and paying closer attention to details and proper drawing. I do a lot of relational measuring at this stage - I'll compare the head's length (usually the first thing I firm up drawing wise) to the rider's forearms to the thigh to the neck - and just continue on building their relationships based on size.

I'm trying to build up the entire surface of the canvas simultaneously at this point. I don't want to end up with a halo-effect background (you know those ones where you can tell the background was corrected/finished after the foreground/middle of the painting). I am continuing to model the shapes and make drawing adjustments, too - like I noticed the horse's head was too small. Notice also that I've only indicated the placement of the bridle and reins - they will be the last pieces to get painted, so as to allow for smooth and loose brushwork underneath.

I'm also setting the reference photo aside mostly by now, and trying to imagine the scene in front of me. What is my time of day and how does that impact the sunlight? How will the light glance off spots? what other colors will collect in the shadows? I squint at my painting from across the studio - does it have the proper sense of depth? 

I step back and use my thumb/hand to block out different areas of the painting from across the room. Does it all work well together? that's what I'm trying to determine.

The biggest test is if the shapes balance each other out. This is a totally different concern than questioning if the subject looks like the reference - I'm studying instead the relationship of the forms in the painting, and looking for adjustments that will make for a better composition. I'm never so concerned with creating an exact replica of the photograph - we already have a nice photo, so why try to recreate it? I am using the photo as a starting point to create a moment in paint that is tangible. For instance, I made the horse's face the brightest point in the painting because the piece is about him (not the jockey's pants or the blanket number, which were equally bright in the photograph).

I continue to lay down paint, working from a large brush to a smaller one in the final layers. I also am mixing my colors using the same palette - pulling from pools mixed in a prior layer. This retains harmony throughout the painting and makes it easier to go back and touch up or modify previous marks.

And now the piece is done. Working title "#3 Warming Up," 8" x 16", acrylic on canvasboard, $529. Inquiries may come to me.

Thanks for following along with today's Preakness pARTy,
Here's to a safe trip for all,

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Announcing the Preakness pARTy

On Friday May 15th Linda and I will each paint from the same reference photo.

Juliet Harrison has chosen the image for us again, this time from one of her racing shots.

Here's the premise - we each have a day to complete our painting, cropping, altering, or modifying the reference photo in any way we choose.

The finished paintings will be shared on this blog. I plan to photograph mine as I progress, and will build a little mini-art lesson to go along with it.

Thanks for following along!
Kim Santini

Friday, May 1, 2009

Wait Right There!

Well, I said I'd be done by 8pm, and it was shortly after that when I finished the Derby pARTy painting. Took a little longer for me to make it here! I made myself wait to look at Kim's painting, because I knew she'd be done much earlier than I. I found it interesting how we chose different sides of the canvas, and picked a similar size to work with! Once again, this is 16 x 12 oil on canvas, available for $565.00 (plus shipping). If you're interested, just email me. A portion of the sale will go to LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement, which finds new homes for retired racehorses.

I take in-progress shots of my work by habit now - it's just part of how I work through things. I'll include a couple of them below. You saw the first stage - after that I worked a bit more on establishing some basic tones before I started with the colour. I often work from a limited palette of Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red Medium, Yellow Ochre and Titanium White; for this painting I also used a bit of Naples Yellow, and some Unbleached Titanium. I work backwards sometimes from how you're "supposed" to work in oils; I got the filly well on her way before I started blocking any colour into the background. After that, I went back into her and worked up the detail a bit, and the last thing I did was add more colour and contrast to the background to give the painting a bit of drama.

I thought *I* had a bit of an advantage, as this is one of my photos, and I know this Thoroughbred filly very well, raising her from birth to about 18 months. Her name is Clever Peaks, and from day one she was very friendly and inquisitive. If she saw people approach the fence, she'd come right over, so this was a very familiar site to me!

Preakness pARTy? Absolutely!

Snowy Greetings

"Snowy Greetings," 12" square, chestnut Thoroughbred filly portrait, acrylic on canvasboard, $529 to the first taker. This is a tough piece to photograph - with the amped contrast and saturated complimentary colors, my camera didn't know what to do.  I may try to scan portions of the painting and piece it together in photoshop, but meanwhile inquiries may come to me.

My apologies - I didn't think to take progress shots of my painting. Well, I did, but was promptly distracted by the puddles of paint, and never had a chance to follow-up on that thought.

How did this piece come together? Well I started out with a violet underpainting (the compliment of orange), and pretty much had the drifts and swaths of snow painted in the first pass. It was lots of wet-on-wet brushwork, with the darkest violet concentrated in the space where the filly now is.

Then I sketched in her rough shape, and working from general to specific, gradually laid down smaller and smaller layers of paint.

I'm excited to see Linda's version. She is at a distinct disadvantage because she's got actual stalls to muck - I only have to ignore the sunshine illuminating all the dust bunnies in the studio.

Good times, though! Are you up for it again, Linda? I wanna throw a Preakness pARTy!!

Oh, the Pressure!

I'm intentionally posting this before I even look at Kim's start to this project, lest I throw mine in the swamp or something. I laughed when I glanced at the easel first thing this morning, and took a photo, because I think many artists would agree, this is one of the scariest parts of a painting, if not *the* scariest - that blank canvas! In this case it's 16 x 12, and it's been toned with raw sienna. I printed out the reference image last night. I don't always print them this large, but as I'm going to be working a bit bigger than I have been this past month, I figured I could use all the help I can get!

Next I looked at the image on the computer to decide how I was going to place our pretty filly on the canvas. I didn't really want to place her dead you'll see what I went with. I cropped a bit, not because I'm afraid of painting feet, but because I thought they might be a little confusing. I either had to take them out, or paint them in, not the in-between of the photo! Of course flying snow can be used to great advantage in a painting! We're artists; artistic license is our friend!

Anti-climactic, I know - this probably looks like a whole lot of nothing, but this is the basic "drawing" in burnt umber. I actually like this stage, when it looks all muddy like this. Fun to see how it evolves from here.

Now, I need to get some stalls mucked before I carry on. I know Kim will be done much sooner than I am, so I'm trying to take just the right amount of pressure from that! See you in a bit!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Kentucky Derby pARTy!

You never know where great ideas will come from. Kim gets the credit for this one, no doubt inspired by Derby week at Painting a Dog a Day, which happened to land at the end of my April Thirty Horses, Thirty Days, where I spent the month doing daily horse paintings. I'm always game for a pARTy (definition in the column at right!) so I dove right in and selected ten potential reference photos, and suggested we enlist our photographer friend Juliet Harrison to choose one for us.

Above is the photo Juliet has selected for us - a bold chestnut yearling coming over to say hello on a chilly winter morning - an enticing enough image to help overcome the fear of the challenges it presents! As we would say at the racetrack...I hope you're tied on!