Friday, November 30, 2007

Cicely Mary Barker

we took the kids to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden tonight for the festival of lights. they had great fun running through the maze, drinking hot chocolate and watching the train exhibit. in the gift shop i found a little Christmas present for Lilah, a book called 'a flower fairy alphabet' written and illustrated by Cicely Mary Barker. i've always had a love of old things, and especially old children's book illustrations. so beautifully inspiring!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Putti in Pinstripes

aren't these two beautiful? don't they look just like little cherubs? i told their mother so! she said that was funny and told me how when she and her husband went on their honeymoon to Italy there were cherub sculptures everywhere-- there they call them putti. she said she kept telling her husband that he looked just like the putti... now they've got a genuine pair :-)

Pose and Expression

a darling little two year old boy named Ryan came to my studio today to be photographed for a pencil drawing. i thought it might be of interest to show these photos since in some ways many parents may be surprised that this is the type photo that i like to work from.
for one thing i don't generally go for the big smiles. i have several reasons for this.. #1 i tend to be more interested in focusing on the expression in the eyes rather than the mouth when doing a portrait. when the subject has a big smile, the eyes become less important. #2 i also tend to associate large smiles with photographs ("say cheese!" :-). #3 portraits with big smiles are less like the traditional portrait paintings that i really admire. ideally i'd like to be able to do all my portraits from life, few portraits done from life will have the subject smiling! now in spite of having given these reasons for not being partial to big smiles in painted or drawn portrait work, there are always the exceptions. there are some children who are just so smiley that it is truly the best way to paint them.
another reason people might be surprised by my choice of photo reference is the fact that often the subject is looking away from the viewer. i do this more often with my less formal portraits and drawings. just often feels more natural to me, less posed.
parents will sometimes say, "but he looks so serious!". it's usually a simple matter to brighten the expression just a bit by slightly turning up the corners of the mouth or raising the brows. also if we like a particular photo where the child is looking away, but the parent prefers to have the child looking at the viewer, it usually is no problem for me to move the direction of the child's gaze.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

An Older Painting

i usually like sunny days to take photos for this type of painting, but the day i took photos for this it was quite overcast to the point of drizzling. i brightened things up a bit in the painting, but that overcast light worked quite well!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Baby Lilah aka Cindy Loo Who :-)

this is a drawing i did of my own little girl some time ago. she would often look so serious and be so intent in her observations. these days she's a happy, silly, sprightly thing!

Impressionistic Painting in Progress

here is one of several commissioned impressionistic oil paintings i have underway at the moment (24" x 26"). the more children there are in the picture, the trickier it often is to have a charming and natural looking pose. this one i feel is working nicely. i don't always wish to have all the children looking directly at the viewer as if posing for a photo. it's often nice to have them interacting with each other in the scene or occupied with some activity. i'll post an update on this painting soon!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Munchkin with Matt's grapes

here is my girly little daughter again this time sitting next to one of my cousin's (Matthew Marino) beautiful paintings.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Laura in Pink Bow

i started this one ages ago and put it aside to work on other things, finally finished it up in my new studio!