Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Creating a large portrait of a child

I can't tell you the number of large portraits such as this one that I have created over the years! 

When the portrait is 24 x 36 or larger, and when possible, it's best that I take the reference photographs. From my experience, very few parents take photographs of their children the way that I do-they don't zoom in on the face, catch subtle expressions or the detail that I like when I paint the faces.

Oh they catch a lot of smiling faces or cheesy grins, but not those timeless  looks that make a portrait ...well, respond to them!

I deliver this one later this week...it wound up a bit larger than the original 24 x 36 (no one has ever complained about that!) but no matter-they will love it :-)

It's all about the face, the pose and lastly the background-which is totally fabricated to bring the focus onto this charming little girl and her rabbit companion!

Now-off to cut the grass-people coming to the studio later today and it's already feeling like late June in North Carolina!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The Artist's Life and Motivation

June 15, 2013 Artist's Life Blog

An impressive early summer storm rolled across the country with towering, angry thunderheads and gale force winds and left as quickly as it arrived just a few days ago. We had battened down the hatches-the animals, house and art studio were as secure as we could make them and when the storm passed in a matter of less than an hour, the change in the atmosphere was palpable!  Cooler temperatures combined with low humidity felt as though we had walked into a summer morning in the mountains and today, I am enjoying that now from the front porch of my art studio.

Storm front over the Art Studio

I have discovered over the years that Humidity affects my ability to work. Low humidity is invigorating and high humidity is a strength zapper. My "to do"list grows in proportion to the humidity!  I have been rising early (before 6 am) as I like to do and enjoy my coffee on either the front porch of the house or the studio. On humid mornings, I skip it. On these stunning mornings, surrounded by 5 dogs flopped around me on the porch (they have to be fed first or I will have no peace!), I not only have sipped away my coffee but hoed the garden beds, fed the ponies and chickens, raked grass for the chickens, filled the bird feeders, walked the pasture checking on the readiness of the blackberry crop (huge!) and then taken up my post at the railing looking for that elusive indigo bunting.

The Morning Sun

All of this is a prelude to the work that I know I must start today-a large 24 x 36 pastel portrait of a charming little girl whom I photographed a month ago. Time to get cracking. Today is the first Saturday in awhile that we have not been at a show, art classes, delivering artwork or in general having to "be" somewhere.
The beauty of being self employed is that what I just recorded for this morning can be enjoyed on any day. And we do just that. Motivation is not just one illuminating moment. It is a series of steps to get to where the artist begins to work. Procrastination is only a problem when there is no reason to get something done-no urgency. For the self employed artist, whose every bill must be paid with the earnings of art sales, procrastination is a temporary condition. For many of those who have always dreamed of being an artist, it is a lifelong procrastination. But earning a living as an artist is not for every artist and the happiest, I have found, are those who know themselves well enough to make that choice and feel good about it!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Lure of the Beach House

My client contacted me recently about a new beach house the family now had and asked that I create a pencil portrait of it similar to the one I did for him about 6 years ago :-).
So with rolling ruler in hand and a slew of sharp pencils, I went to work!
These are time consuming, logistical pieces that move right along when I turn on some music and get to work!
A digital image of a pencil NEVER does it justice-I just can't seem to photograph the piece to get the white balance and the subtle shading will not show up. So use your imagination and enjoy a rather amazing beach house off the NC coast ...the actual portrait is about 15" x 18" in size.
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