Monday, December 18, 2017

"Alexander III Bridge at Dusk" (oil on stretched canvas; 12" x 16") sold


Paris at dusk is the most romantic place in the world, especially, by the Pont Alexandre III along the Seine. It is the most extravagant bridge in the city, with its exuberant Art Nouveau lamps, cherubs, nymphs and winged horses at either end. I can see vaguely the Invalides in the distance.

Someone found my old painting of the same subject on the internet and asked me for a print. I said I could do better! I painted a larger, better version for the client, who proposed to his girlfriend on the famous bridge last year. They are now married and the painting is going to be the Christmas gift for the happily surprised wife. I love my job!

"Sadie" (oil on linen; 8" x 10") sold


"Sadie" was commissioned by Molly for her boyfriend. Sadie, a 14-year-old mutt, loves boating. I think I captured her happiness!

"Oscar" (oil on stretched linen; 10" x 10") sold


"Oscar" was commissioned by Mary for her parents. Oscar, a boxer, is only a year old and super rambunctious. He is the light of her parents' eyes.

I don't know if my readers know, but I get most of my pet portrait commissions from Etsy. Here are the sentiments expressed by Mary: "I have looked at a lot of artists on the Etsy site that commission pet portraits, but yours are my absolute favorite! ... I love the boxer picture that you have shown on your site. You really captured the playful yet sweet personality that all boxers have!"

I thought I would share where I get my satisfaction and kicks!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

"Dream Butterfly Garden" (watercolor; 8" x 8") sold


Orange butterflies flit about dainty sprays of white flowers in a dreamy garden.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I would like to thank all my readers for your kind support!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

"Louie and Remy" (oil on stretched linen, 9" x 12") sold


"Louie and Remy" was commissioned by Brad as a Christmas gift to his wife. Louie and Remy are French bulldogs. It was a tricky commission as I didn't have a good photo of Remy (on the right) to work with. So I ended up painting Louie twice in different poses. All I had to go by was that Remy is smaller and has more tan on his fur. I had to redesign the leather sofa they are sitting on too, so that it makes sense to the viewer. I think I pulled it off. What do you think?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

"Ben and Leslie" (oil on stretched linen; 20" x 16") sold


The handsome groom Ben commissioned me to paint a wedding portrait for his wife Leslie as the first anniversary gift. He was also gallant, insisting that he didn't care about how he looked and that Leslie should look beautiful. I did care about how he looked too. I did my darned best despite the less than desirable reference photo. He was a pleasure to work with. I hope Leslie loves his thoughtful gift and wish them a long, happy marriage!

Reference photo

Saturday, September 30, 2017

"Claudio Bravo's Eggplants" (oil on linen on panel; 8" x 10") sold


The painting is the copy of a still life painting by Claudio Bravo (1936 - 2011), a Chilean hyperrealist painter. He was greatly influenced by Renaissance and Baroque artists, as well as Surrealist painters such as Salvador Dalí. He lived and worked in Tangier, Morocco, beginning in 1972. Bravo also lived in Chile, New York and Spain. He was known mainly for his paintings of still lifes, portraits and packages.

The painting is a reminder of how beauty resides in everyday things.

Friday, September 29, 2017

"Grand Canal Sunset" (oil on stretched canvas; 12" x 12")

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It is the golden sunset in Venice. Take a gondola and glide along the Grand Canal. We just passed Santa Maria della Salute. Ah, life is good!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

"Indigo Blue Waterlily Pond" (watercolor on Yupo; 8" x 10") sold


A lone white waterlily floats in the indigo blue pond. A watery, dreamy painting that is possible only on Yupo, which is a sleek synthetic paper that repels water. So water puddles and does unexpected things!

Monday, July 3, 2017

"Tree of Life" (watercolor on paper; 8.5" x 8.5") sold


In my small painting, I tried to capture the majesty of the baobab tree at dusk, when there is still lingering daylight even as the stars start dotting the indigo blue evening sky.

The majestic baobab tree is an icon of the African continent. The baobab is a prehistoric species which predates both mankind and the splitting of the continents over 200 million years ago. Native to the African savannah where the climate is extremely dry and arid, it is a symbol of life and positivity in a landscape where little else can thrive. It is a succulent, which means that during the rainy season it absorbs and stores water in its vast trunk, enabling it to produce a nutritious fruit in the dry season when all around is dry and arid. This is how it became known as "The Tree of Life".

Baobab trees grow in 32 African countries. They can live for up to 5,000 years, reach up to 30 metres high and up to an enormous 50 metres in circumference. Baobab trees can provide shelter, food and water for animals and humans, which is why many savannah communities have made their homes near Baobab trees.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

"Porkchop" (oil on linen; 8" x 8") sold


"Porkchop" is for John who commissioned the portrait as a surprise gift for his friend. It's been quite difficult to get the pictures from the owners sister. Porkchop is a four-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi. He loves tennis balls and water bottles. He also loves belly rubs and wants all the attention like her mom!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

"Westie Love" (oil on linen; 10" x 8") sold

"Cutie Westie" (oil, 7" x 5"; sold)

"Cutie Westie" is the first pet portrait I have ever painted, even before I started doing custom pet portraits. It was back in 2001 or 2002, when I painted my neighbor's cute westie, Phin. He is not a rambunctious puppy anymore, but I still see him taking a walk with his mom Vivian.

For some reason, the portrait remains one of the most popular pet portraits on my Etsy shop. A gentleman really liked it--the subject, background, and whole shebang--and asked me to copy it. Apparently it looks just like his westie. The reason why the two paintings look different is because of the variations in white balance. Next to each other, you have to look carefully to tell apart. Anyhow, the client is happy and so am I. Anybody who wants a copy of "Westie Love"? Lol.

Monday, June 5, 2017

"Iris Love" (watercolor on watercolor paper; 8" x 6") sold


My purple iris watercolor paintings are selling like hotcakes. This one is the fourth one since the beginning of May. I painted it last week and put it on auction on And it has a bid. I must paint some more!

"Peanut" (oil on linen; 8" x 6") gift


"Peanut" is for Maggie who won my third Instagram pet portrait giveaway. Congratulations! This happy dog is about 4 years old and a mix of toy poodle, French bulldog, bichon frise, chow chow, and Staffordshire terrier. She enjoys doing agility and going on hikes.

If you are on Instagram, please follow me (@kimstenbergart) for beautiful art and giveaways. The next giveaway is the custom portrait of your child!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

"Nyhaven, Copenhagen" (watercolor on watercolor paper; 9" x 12") sold


Nyhaven is the most photographed site in Copenhagen, Denmark. It bustles with crowds of locals and tourists enjoying the picturesque view and the pleasant weather during the summer. When I visited the place a couple of years ago, it was packed! It took a while to get the drawing of the complex urban scene right; it also took a while to paint it right.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

"Engagement" (oil on stretched linen; 20" x 16") sold


"Engagement" was commissioned by Sean for his fiancee. They are getting married next week and the portrait is going to be offered to his bride as the surprise gift on the day after the big day. How cool is that! I got the commission three weeks ago; it was a rush job to get it done in two weeks. From start to finish, Sean was the ideal client; I bet he will be the ideal husband too!

The English ivies in the background were in the reference photo and Sean asked me to include them for their symbolism of faith, fidelity, and longevity. I noticed two vague birch trees in the far right corner, which I thought echoed the subjects, so I suggested them. All in all, I am pleased with how the portrait turned out. My hearty congratulations to the couple!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

"Koi and Parrot" (acrylic on stretched linen; 22" x 28")

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To shake things up a bit, this spring I am taking an abstract painting class with Deanna Schwartzberg at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA. Creativity and play are the key to the class. I am having so much fun!

During the second class, I painted "Koi and Parrot". Koi and a parrot? Why not? Believe it or not, at the beginning I had a musical theme in mind with a drum, violin, and flutes! Somehow koi shapes began to emerge. Someone found the parrot during the critique session and it became my favorite part of the whole colorful painting. I love the stare of the parrot and the swimming movement of the koi!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

"Venice Scuola Grande di San Marco" (oil on stretched canvas; 11" x 14") sold


Venice is beautiful wherever you look. One of my favorite places in this serenely beautiful city is the Scuola Grande di San Marco. It originally was the home to one of the six major sodalities or Scuole Grandi of Venice. It faces the Campo San Giovanni e Paolo, one of the largest squares in the city. Of course, the square is always packed with people, whom I made disappear magically!

The edifice was built by the Confraternity of San Marco in 1260 to act as its seat. In 1485, however, it was destroyed by a large fire, and rebuilt in the following twenty years. The façade is a masterwork of delicately decorated niches and pilasters and white or polychrome marble statues. It is now a civic hospital.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

"Detail from Vermeer's Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window" (oil on linen; 12" x 12')

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The painting is the copy of a detail from "Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window" (c 1657–59) by Dutch Golden Age painter Johannes Vermeer. The well-preserved painting is on display at the Gemäldegalerie in Dresden. For many years, the attribution of the painting was lost, with first Rembrandt and then Pieter de Hooch being credited for the work before it was properly identified in 1880. After World War II, the painting was briefly in possession of the Soviet Union.

A pretty intimidating painting to copy, don't you think? Look at the girl's ringlets, intricate dress, and her reflection on the window panes. I am learning much through these copying efforts.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

"Athena the Aussie" (oil on linen; 8" x 6") gift


"Athena the Aussie" is for Roseline. Athena is a happy Australian shepherd who loves to wear bandanas. Roseline won the portrait in my second Instagram pet portrait giveaways. Congratulations! If you are on Instagram and owns a pet, please follow me (#kimstenbergart) for a chance to win a free pet portrait!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

"Detail from Sargent's Mrs George Swinton" (oil on stretched canvas; 16" x 12")

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The painting is the copy of a detail from "Mrs George Swinton" (1897) by the master portraitist John Singer Sargent. The original hangs in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Mrs. George Swinton epitomizes the painterly virtuosity that made John Singer Sargent one of the most favored portraitists of fashionable Europeans and Americans in the late 19th century. Extravagant color and brushwork were central to Sargent's success, as was his ability to present an image of his sitter that adhered to social standards.

In Elizabeth Swinton's case, he accentuated her regal bearing and feminine satin dress. She was also known for her musical talents; at the time her portrait was executed, she was recognized as an amateur singer and later began performing professionally. Swinton's pose indicates both the poise of a performer and the countenance of a fashionable socialite.

As it happens, Sargent is one of my favorite artists. When Danni Dawson gave her portrait painting class an assignment to copy a portion of his portrait with the emphasis on how he handled satin fabrics, I picked this painting. Look at Mrs Swinton's gorgeous dress and the arm chair her right hand holds on to so elegantly!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

"Hearts and Roses" (oil on stretched linen; 10" x 10")

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How would you like to receive from your sweetheart a heart-shaped chocolate cake frosted with three colors of rosy swirls of icing on a golden plate? That is what happened to me on my birthday in February. Aren't I lucky? I would like to add that eating the cake was A LOT EASIER than painting it!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

"Penny" (oil on linen; 8" x 10") sold


"Penny" is for Samantha, who commissioned the portrait for her friend as a surprise gift. Her aging cat loves being in the sun, so Samantha thought a portrait of the cat lying in the sun would be particularly fitting. I chose such a reference photo, but curled the tail so that it would fit in the picture and, at the same time, wouldn't lead the viewer's eye out of it. I love the way light plays on the plush leather seat on which Penny is lounging!

Saturday, February 18, 2017

"Irish Lass" (oil on stretched canvas; 12" x 9")

Sarah with a resolute expression is of Irish descent. Can't you tell by her fair complextion, reddish brown hair, and green jacket? I had fun painting her in one-week session in Danni Dawson's portrait painting class at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Hannah and Jackson" (oil on stretched linen; 24" x 30") sold


The mother of two gorgeous kids found my portraiture on the internet and commissioned me to paint a large double portrait to hang over her mantle. I felt honored and worked on the painting for a couple of months to get it just right. She seems pleased and so am I!

Friday, February 10, 2017

"Iris Season at Monet's Garden" (oil on stretched canvas; 11" x 14")

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Walk around the front garden with the Grande Allee at Giverny, France. The impressionist master Claude Monet designed and cultivated his garden with a great passion for decades toward the end of his long productive life. It is a slice of heaven on earth. My favorite time is when the irises are in full bloom. I can almost smell the heady perfume of these gorgeous flowers!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Copy of Detail from Sir Peter Paul Rubens's "The Straw Hat" (oil on linen; 12" x 9")

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The painting is the copy of a detail from "Portrait of Susanna Lunden or The Straw Hat" by the Baroque master Sir Peter Paul Rubens. It is now in the National Gallery, London. It was done as a homework for Danni Dawson's portrait painting class at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA. The assignment was glazing: start the painting with a grisaille in burnt umber, cobalt blue, and white; let the grisaille dry, then build up the colors with layers of thin paints slowly over the period of several weeks.

The title "Le Chapeau de Paille" (meaning The Straw Hat) was first used in the 18th century. In fact, the hat is not straw; "paille" may be an error for "poil", which is the French word for felt. The hat, which shades the beautiful face of the sitter, is the most prominent feature of the painting. Her fabulous, asymmetrical dress and cleavage are not shabby either!

The portrait's subject is Susanna Lunden (née Fourment), elder sister of Rubens' future second wife Helena Fourment. The portrait probably dates to the time of Susanna's second marriage in 1622, to Arnold Lunden.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

"Master of the Hunt" (oil on stretched canvas; 20" x 16")

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Claire, from France, is a sculptor who occasionally models. Here she is dressed as the Master of the Hunt. By the way, she is not the master herself, but hunts nevertheless in Leesburg, VA You can see a bit of her black top hat, but unfortunately her long, slender, ballerina-like legs in black boots are cut off in this half-length portrait. The painting was done from life during Danni Dawson's portrait painting class at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

"Cupid's Choice" (oil on linen; 4" x 5") sold


Who can resist this heart-shaped donut with pink icing and heart sprinkles? It is also filled with gooey Bavarian cream. Not I. Evil Dunkin Donuts. There goes my diet!

"Happy Year of the Rooster" (oil on linen; 8" x 8")

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A few days ago was the New Year's Day on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. Do you know it is now the Year of the Rooster? Happy Year of the Rooster! By the way, I was channeling Matisse while I was working on this small painting. I hope the colorful painting evokes his work!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017