Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Mr Tusk Stuffed Elephant and Blocks Acrylic Painting

photorealism acrylic painting of a stuffed toy elephant and wooden block letters
"Mr. Tusk," commission, acrylic on panel, 12" x 12".

Thanks for looking!
Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Up on Etsy - Three Autumn Themed Trompe L'Oeil Daily Paintings

trompe l'oeil painting of a fall autumn leaf
"Last Autumn Leaf," acrylic on panel, 6" x 6".

I used one of the leaves from my own yard as the subject for the piece. And since I got a later start in the day on painting it, it was a challenge to finish it before it withered away on my easel! By the end of the day, the subject no longer existed, but the painting immortalized it! 

trompe l'oeil painting of a recipe card of apple crisp
"Apple Crisp," acrylic on panel, 5" x 7". - SOLD
trompe l'oeil painting of a recipe card of pumpkin pie by artist kim teston
"Pumpkin Pie," acrylic on panel, 5" x 7". - SOLD

 These two are both paintings from my Well-Loved Recipe Cards series - Apple Crisp and Pumpkin Pie. The original recipe cards are written in my own handwriting, based on a traditional Apple Crisp and Pumpkin Pie.

Feel free to try them out! Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Up on Etsy - Animal Crackers - Original Acrylic Painting - With Behind the Scenes Photos

photorealistic painting of a box of animal crackers by kim testone
"Animal Crackers," acrylic on panel, 8" x 10".

I used a contemporary box of animal crackers as a model for the piece. There were so many super-intricate details, as the painting is just slightly larger than life size. In truth, the illustrations used on the box were really lovely, and something I'd never really noticed before. 

I'm including some behind-the-scenes photos below. Thanks for looking!
I began to refine my details with white, cleaning up any edges where I went a little overboard with my yellow.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Up on Etsy - Heading Home - Candy Land Board Game Acrylic Daily Painting

photorealistic painting of candy land board game by kim testone
"Heading Home," acrylic on panel, 6" x 6".
I decided to do another daily painting using my vintage-style Candy Land board game. I just loved the little house at the end of the game, especially this incarnation, which has lots and lots of little details that really make it special.


Thanks for looking!
Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Recent Commission - On the Scene

photrealistic acrylic painting of a cup of coffee reporter's notebook pen and newspaper by artist kim testone
"On the Scene," commission, acrylic on panel, 8" x 8".

Thanks for looking!
Monday, October 3, 2016

Up on Etsy - Candyland Daily Painting - Love You

photorealistic painting of candy land board game by artist kim testone
"Love You," acrylic on panel, 6" x 6"
I got to use my new vintage-style Candyland board to paint this daily painting! Such a nostalgic game for me, and so many colors.


Thanks for looking!
Sunday, October 2, 2016

Up on EBay - Dunkin Donuts Donut and Coffee Daily Painting

photorealistic painting of a cup of dunkin donuts coffee and a donut by artist kim testone
"Donut and Coffee Study," acrylic on gessobord panel, 6" x 6".

Up for auction on eBay! Ends Sunday October 9 at 9 p.m. EST. SOLD

Thanks for looking!
Monday, September 26, 2016

Step by Step Photos of New Superboy and Snacks Acrylic Painting

photorealistic painting of a coca cola bottle and superboy comic book with mallo cup candy by artist kim testone
"Solo Adventure," acrylic on panel, 12" x 12".

I've been gradually easing into a few larger works (at least larger to me), and while most have been in the realm of commissions, this one is the beginning of a new series of pieces that are more personal.

I've always had a love for comic books and nostalgia. So when I stumbled upon an array of 50-cent vintage comic books at a local comic book convention my husband and I attended, I walked away with a stack. I didn't need them to be in pristine condition; if they were perfect, many would have been worth far more than 50 cents. But I wanted to paint them, alongside my other vintage or vintage-style items, and to me, the more beat-up, the better.

I arranged this first still life by chance, after pulling some random objects from my collection of props and trying a few things out. But this piece just seemed right, with hints of primary colors binding the three things together. And all in a vintage style. The book is from 1977 - almost 40 years old - so I can imagine a little boy (or girl! We girls like comics, too!) in the 70s picking up this issue of Superboy for the first time and settling in with his or her snacks for a fun solo adventure.

Here are some behind-the-scenes photos of this piece as I painted it. I still need to work on the finish, but I'll be posting it to my Etsy store soon. Thanks for visiting!
1. Starting to block in the drawing with a mix of payne's gray and raw umber.

2. I want this to be pretty accurate, but I know I'm going to be painting over a lot of these shapes, accidentally or on purpose, as part of my layering technique, so the darks are there but not very refined.

3. When I can, I try to work with the broadest areas of color first before I refine any details. So for this one, it was the two yellow areas - on the comic and on the mallo cup package. Two distinct shades of yellow - for the cover I used Azo yellow as the base, for the mallo cup I used Bismuth yellow (one I never used before, but I fortunately had some I'd gotten years ago).

4. For me, I find that sometimes you just have to start getting color on the piece, so it starts to come alive. If I try to refine just a small area at a time, I get bogged down by a lack of enthusiasm. So I keep looking for the places of the painting that are asking to be built up, so I'm constantly enjoying the process.

5. I've added quite a bit of the colors here, so there's at least some paint in most areas of the painting at this point. That also makes it easier for me to see the piece as a whole and figure out what needs to be changed before I start going into the details.

6. I spent many hours refining the details with layer after layer of paint. That means painting and repainting areas until they look right. I'm not a one-shot wonder like some artists are blessed to be! I labor over each brushstroke.

7. In all this piece took somewhere between 25 and 30 hours. But I think it's a leap forward for me and well worth the time. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

EBay Auction Ending Tonight - Sewing Kit Daily Acrylic Painting

"Sewing Kit," acrylic on panel, 6" x 6"
The eBay auction for this cute little painting ends tonight at 9 p.m. EST. SOLD

Thanks for looking!
Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Up on Etsy - Daily Painting of Loaf of Bread

"Dramatic Loaf of Bread," acrylic on panel, 8" x 10"

Thanks for looking!
Saturday, September 3, 2016

Up on Etsy - Nutty Buddy Chocolate Ice Cream Cone - Daily Acrylic Painting by Kim Testone

"Nutty Buddy," acrylic on panel, 8" x 8".
At 8" x 8", this Nutty Buddy is several times larger than a real Nutty Buddy, a process which I actually enjoyed doing! I also really love painting peanuts - there's so many interesting colors and shapes.

Thanks for looking!
Friday, September 2, 2016

Weekly Ebay Auction Started - Daily Painting of a Sewing Kit - Acrylic Photorealism

"Sewing Kit," acrylic on panel, 6" x 6".
I've had a small sewing kit for years but as I stink at sewing I've only ever sewn on a few buttons - badly. But I saw the kit the other night and thought I could at least use it for painting if not sewing. And I think it turned out surprisingly cute!


*10% of the proceeds from this sale will donated to my favorite charity, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), directly through the eBay for Charity program.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Wonderland Trompe L'Oeil Daily Paintings Up on Etsy

My two Wonderland Crayon daily paintings from last week are available in my Etsy store now. Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see what I finish each week. Thanks for looking!

"Alice and the Puppy," acrylic on panel, 6" x 6".

"Alice Growing Up," acrylic on panel, 6" x 6".

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ebay Auction Starting - Study of a Man in a Cafe - Daily Acrylic Painting

"Study of a Man in a Cafe," acrylic on panel, 6" x 6".

I am really trying to develop the drama in my paintings, so I'm trying to work on short but extreme light and color studies, like this one. Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How to Mix the Color Black in Acrylic Paint

"Dramatic Loaf of Bread," acrylic on panel, 8" x 10".

Last week, I painted this 8"x 10" bread painting with a rich black background, so I thought I'd quickly share how I mix my "black" paints. First, let me say that there are many color mixing theories, so that doesn't necessarily mean my method is right as much as it's right for me. But maybe it will be right for you, too!

I don't actually have any true "black" paint tubes in my assortment of paints. Technically, I have one, but I have only used it for painting the sides of panels on occasion and not in the actual paintings. Many oil painters use a color theory called the "Munsell" color system, which in fact, incorporates black as a direct way of adjusting the various values of colors; when I painted in oil, I did this, but in acrylic, which I work in now, I find that it just doesn't adapt correctly, so I adjust my color values a little differently. But today, I'm just going to tell you how I mix my black colors for painting black areas in my pieces, not for adjusting the values of other colors in my paintings.

To create a simple "black" that has a richness that straight-from-the-tube blacks can't match, simply mix 1 part brown to 1 part blue. My favorite go-to blacks are 1 part raw umber to 1 part payne's gray or ultramarine blue. For lettering, I use 1 part raw umber to 1 part cobalt blue. For a warmer black, 1 part burnt umber to 1 part payne's gray or ultramarine blue. Sometimes you may need to adjust the ratio a bit, so be sure to paint it on a test surface before you put it straight on your painting surface. I keep a piece of matte white foam board on my easel behind my paintings as a test surface (and to stop the paintings from falling through!).

You can also complicate the colors a bit more by adding a tinge of another color, like Jenkin's green, but I have found I like the simpler formulas.

If you have worked in acrylics for any length of time, you've probably experienced "color shift" - when the color dries slightly darker than when it's wet. This is why it's hard to mix the same color twice. So instead, I mix all of my colors in a little condiment container with a lid. I like Diamond Daily mini cups because they are small, inexpensive, have a lid and are disposable. It gives me just the right amount of paint, and if I store the container in a ziploc bag, it will stay wet for up to a week, depending on the colors.

I hope this has helped a bit! Happy painting!
Thursday, August 18, 2016

Ebay Auction Starting - Tangerine Color and Light Daily Painting Study

"Tangerine Color and Light Study," acrylic on panel, 5" x 7". 


Thanks for looking!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

This Week's Daily Paintings! Plus follow me on Instagram for daily updates!

This week's daily paintings! Four done, plus I taught a class, so not too bad.

I'll be posting for sale soon. Feel free to email me at if you have any questions.

For daily updates on my latest works be sure to follow me on my new Instagram account, @kimtestoneartist. (

Thanks for looking!

"Half Moons Cookie Recipe," acrylic on panel, 10" x 8"

Side by side comparison, subject and painting, of "Savings Account," acrylic on panel, 6" x 6".

"Soda Can Study," acrylic on panel, 8" x 8".

"Tangerine Color and Light Study," acrylic on panel, 5" x 7".

Monday, August 8, 2016

Daily Acrylic Painting - Everything's Coming Up Daisies

"Everything's Coming Up Daisies," acrylic on panel, 8" x 10"
I almost never paint flowers, but since moving north, I've really been loving the wonderful flower gardens my neighbors have. There really is so much detail going on with a flower!

Thanks for looking!
Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Shadowbox Still Life Commissioned Acrylic Painting

"Still Life Commission," acrylic on panel, 12" x 16"
 I just thought I'd share a recent commissioned work - one of the more complicated and challenging ones I've tackled! I used Ampersand Aquabord as my surface, which allowed me to have a much softer control over the paint, especially on the blurry areas and the many many flowers.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Today's Trompe L'Oeil Acrylic Painting - Recipe Card 3 - Butterballs a.k.a. Russian Tea Cakes

"Butterballs," acrylic on panel, 5" x 7"
Here is the third card in my mini-series of recipe card trompe l'oeil paintings. This original for this one is actually in my own handwriting. This was one of those recipes that I made with my mom when I was a kid, and continued to make for many holidays, as the powdered sugar always gave them such a festive, soft, beautiful look.

Thanks for visiting!
Thursday, July 28, 2016

Today's Trompe L'Oeil Painting - Well-loved Recipe Card 2 - Homemade Waffles

Today's painting in the well-loved recipe card mini series: "Homemade Waffles," acrylic on panel, 5"x7". And I did actually write out the note on the back of the panel because it would drive me crazy if I owned the piece and didn't know what the original note said. Spoiler alert: it's instructions for making sour milk.

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Just finished - Side by Side Trompe L'Oeil Painting - Buckeyes Peanut Butter Balls Recipe Card

"Buckeyes," acrylic on panel, 5" x 7".
Now that I'm back in the swing of Daily Painting, I thought I'd tackle a few short series of works. This is the first in my Well-Loved Recipe Cards series - Buckeyes. I remember making these as a kid - messy, and sugary, but super-tasty! All of the recipe cards I'll be doing were given to me when I got married, so each one's handwriting will be a bit different. This one was given to me by a friend who also wrote out the "Snickerdoodle" recipe card I painted a while back. I guess I really like her printing!

Thanks for looking!

Here's the side-by-side comparison of the original subject (left) and my painting.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Step by Step Acrylic Painting of Old Toy Matchbox and Hotwheel Cars

"Vintage Toy Car Collection," acrylic on panel, 8" x 8".  

A few weeks ago, my husband and I headed over to his mom's house and dug out his collection of small toy cars from the 1980s. I'd done a painting of some of his toy cars before, but not these babies! These were played with - hard. Still crusted with sand from the sandbox and rusted or dented on many edges, these are vintage with a capital "V." So of course I wanted to paint them.

When I did my other toy car painting, I used my acrylic-watercolor layering technique on Aquabord. For this piece, I decided to try a panel I'd bought from a local arts organization and covered with about six coats of sanded gesso. The difference, besides the handmade panel, is that the paint "floats" on the top when I do my layering technique, instead of sinking down into the panel. I used gloss medium mixed with dozens and dozens of layers of very thin transparent acrylic for this one, which creates a visual depth that I really like. It also simultaneously has a more painterly feel, with the brushstrokes from various layers still evident. In person, I feel like it carries the luminous look of a layered egg tempera painting - with light bouncing through the layers and back.

Here's some of my step-by-step photos of the piece. You can see I start very similar in method to the watercolor style, but again, each layer is basically a little bit of acrylic paint mixed with a lot of gloss medium. It was significantly more time consuming for me to work this way, but I think I'm headed in a direction I want to go with other paintings. Thanks for looking!

 1. With a basic drawing in place, I mix a "black" color from raw umber and payne's gray and begin laying out a monochromatic underpainting, trying to simply thin the paint to let the white of the board peek through.
 2. I need this stage to become a sufficient guide for me as I begin to add color, so I'm not trying to figure out too many complicated steps at one time.
 3. I prefer to lay out the "local colors" throughout the board rather than working on a single section. I find it's easier to keep my place and keep the painting more consistent as I build the layers to bring the entire painting up to the same level before moving on.
 4. Still building local colors.
 5. At this point, I've just started building the bulk of my layers. From here to the end of the painting, I spent roughly 20 hours. That's probably a little tough to see on the small screen, but it made a big difference in getting so many transparent layers and building a luminous painting.
 6. I work back and forth between glazing on the layers and sharpening the edges and details. I want to make sure, for example, that there are appropriate shadows, so the cars look like they are really laying on top of one another.
 7. Getting closer, but it was still probably 8 to 10 hours moving from this stage to the final one. It's little things, like the shapes on the hub caps or the rusty edges that make it unique.

8. And done! Thanks for looking!