Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Portrait Painting

Two posts in one week!?? It must be Spring Break! Well, it has been all week actually, and it is almost over. It rained all week, so instead of gardening and yard clean-up as planned by my hubby, I stayed inside and painted. And shhhh, but I'd rather be painting, so it really wasn't such a bad thing....although the yard really could use some sprucing!

Just so you know...I asked for permission before I posted these personal school photos! :)

A few months ago I received an email from someone asking if I painted custom portraits from photos. I've done this a few times, I've painted various family members and portraits for several customers, and I did it more when I was working through a little shop where I sold my paintings. Once I painted a portrait for a wife to give to her husband as a surprise birthday pressure there!
She sent me several photos of her husband as a little boy and I painted him seated in a chair holding his best friend, his boyhood dog. To my relief and pleasure, he liked it well enough to display it over their mantle. But I don't offer this on my website because I'm fairly certain there are artists out there that are more practiced and proficient at it than I am, and now that we home school I have to be organized with my time....which is a good thing! So, when a customer signs on to work with me through the portrait process their patience is essential. :-)

Here is how the process works:

The first step is the drawing or sketch that I send to the customer for their critique and input. After I receive photos of the "sitter" I sketch out the painting. When I am painting or drawing someone's loved is so very helpful to get critiqued. I know that sounds scary, and it is, but it is very needed when you are hoping to translate an image of a person that the customer knows personally onto canvas. Not knowing nor having met a person and only seeing an image of them from a photo is a bit of disadvantage when you are trying to capture them on canvas so they are recognizable to themselves as well as to their family and friends. So feedback is a must.

"Dee" (her son is in the photos above) has been a dream customer...she knew what she wanted and has been so patient and helpful along the way...and so far hasn't given up on me! :)
She wanted her son (who is now a grown man) painted in a period style setting to complement her gorgeous Greek Revival home (she sent me pics of her home....imagine pages of an Early American Life issue!)

Some of the fun personal effects that will be in the painting are the title of first book he read translated into Latin, which is something a boy of that period would have studied....we are also incorporating a pet and some favorite flowers in a vase as well as a garden outside the window.

Next step- after "Dee" approved the sketch and chose the size of canvas she wanted, I enlarged the sketch to fit the canvas. "Dee" also chose the colors she wanted for all of the items...with a little room for "artistic license"! I then used the enlarged sketch and traced it onto the canvas. Sorry the photos are so dark, yep, it was a rainy day.

Now the painting begins, and more feedback before it is completed.

With "Dee's" permission, I'll keep you posted....thanks for letting me share.


Just a quick update on "Thing 3"......I think I can safely call it a rabbit or a bunny now. It has a body and a painted face. Now I need to dress her/him! (*blush*)


Old Road Primitives said...

Hi Suzanne, I hope that your going to show us a picture of your bunny once you get it dressed! :) You do awesome work! Kim

Old Road Primitives said...

It's me again...just one quick question! Is the bunny's face done in fabric? Kim

Suzanne said...

Hi Kim, thanks for stopping by! The bunny's face started in paperclay over styrofoam and half of a papermache egg was used for the shoulder area. Then I painted it in acrylics and used a crackle medium over that and a little bit of a stain to "age" it.

Lana of Honeysuckle Lane said...

Suzanne ~ the portrait is going to be terrific; well, it already is! I have no doubt that Dee will be thrilled with the finished piece.
As for your bunny, didn't I say (along with your husband) once it was painted that it would look like a bunny? :)
Enjoy the rest of Spring break!

Old Road Primitives said...

Wow, Suzanne...what a process for the bunny! I love paper clay! I use it for little things but nothing major like that! I'm impressed! I want to see bunny when you are finished! Kim

June said...

Suzanne the portrait is going to be amazing. Your client will loves this.
And that bunny is darling. Can't wait to see him dressed up.

all kinds of everything said...

Suzanne, I am so pleased to have found your blog!
Your artwork is absolutely beautiful and your blog posts are so inspiring.
I look forward to visit often!

Ruth Welter said...

Suzanne, your bunny is looking adorable and wow ow wow, that portrait is stunning. I can well imagine both husband and wife loved it, it is so beautifully done.


Jacquelynne said...

Bravo for you- I don't think I could take the pressure of doing a portrait for someone! Again, getting a peek into your artistic process is so interesting. Looks like it is really coming along....

Cathy ~ Tadpoles and Teacups said...

LOVE them!!!

Barbara Shores said...

Hi Suzanne, The bunny is so precious ... As Always you have done an amazing job. Really love following your Blog and watching for your new creations...
Oh yeah ... your portraits are terrific too ... Way to go!