During this month of love and romance I thought I would share a little about this drawing I did of a couple in love on their wedding day.
This drawing is another piece that was a year in the making. I was first contacted by my client about doing this drawing of her parents on their wedding day in the late summer of 2016. She was hoping to give it to her parents as a gift for Christmas. Well life happened, she had to track down the original copy of the picture so I could have a clear reference photo. We both got busy and the project got forgotten about. Well in the early fall of 2017 she contacted me to see if I could still do the drawing. It was even more important to have done because her beloved father had past away a few months before.
So with great reverence for the project and the importance it held for the family I started. The reference photo was quite old and was tricky to work from because it was small, slightly blurry, and did not a have a lot of contrast to differentiate the details. This is a common occurrence with old photos that weren’t professionally taken. It’s why I haven’t taken on drawing my grandparents old wedding photos yet. To help the picture give me the most detail I ended up having to import it into Photoshop to try and enhance it to bring out as much detail as possible. This ended up helping quite a bit but it wasn’t perfect. After Photoshopping it I did several practice drawings of it to get practice working on the small faces and to get the shapes and shadows correct.
With the challenges this piece presented I am really proud of how the final drawing turned out. Even more importantly the family loved the drawing. I hope looking at it brings back memories of the love and respect this couple had for each other.
A few months ago I was asked to do a commission of a home set in the wintertime but not set during the holiday season.
This offered a challenge because I couldn’t rely on holiday lights and decorations to keep a winter scene from looking tired and dull. I wanted this picture to convey the magic of winter while showing off the home. I didn’t know the best way to portray that. I brainstormed and sketched the house during different times of day, with various amounts of snow, etc. I ended up liking several of the ideas but I didn’t love any of them. Then one evening I had to go to the post office. I walked outside right as the colors of the sunset were being reflected in the snow. Oranges, pinks, purples, and blues filled my eyes from heaven to earth and I instantly knew how I wanted to paint the scene. A little over 30 hours later the painting was completed.
My client and I were thrilled with how the colors perfectly showed off the beauty of this hillside home.
My Last commission of the 2017 was of a little boy dressed as his favorite superhero, Henry Danger.
The idea of this painting was so fun that I was willing to push myself outside of my comfort zone to do it. I am a not very comfortable with painting portraits in watercolor. In fact it had been well over a year since I had painted any and they were all mixed media pieces. Meaning I only used watercolor for the base layers of the face and then added details with markers and colored pencils.
Thankfully, my skills with watercolor in general have improved greatly over the past year. My ability to mix colors, glaze, and control the brush have improved with my daily practice. These skills are a must when doing a portrait. Color mixing is particularly important when making skin tones because it is really easy to make skin look murky or too orange. Because I was in such unfamiliar territory with this painting I scheduled myself plenty of time so i could do multiple practice pieces if needed. Thankfully, As I worked on the first practice piece my fears of doing a portrait immediately subsided because it was coming to me so much more easily than the last time I had painted one.
I still have a long way to go in developing my skills in portraiture to where i want them to be but I am proud of how far I have come.
This painting brought back memories of my years babysitting three little boys and the superhero games we would play. We would often dress up as superheroes and run around the house, pretending to save the day. We would even pretend to fly by jumping from one beanbag to the other.
Kids are so magical with their imaginations, self-confidence, and energy. It was fun creating a painting that perfectly embodied the imagination of this little boy.
I had the fun opportunity to work on a commission that featured a house from my hometown. I grew up only a few miles away and saw this house almost everyday. I went to school with their kids from elementary on up to college. My mom taught them piano lessons and I went to girls camp with their daughters. So when their kids asked me to do a commission of their parent’s home I was ecstatic.
There is something endearing and personal about painting a picture of a home that you know so well for a family that you love and respect.
I know exactly where the home I grew up in is in relation to this house and the mountains featured in the background. As a result I began feeling home sick while painting this picture. I think part of it is that was from knowing I wouldn’t be coming home for Christmas this year for only the second time in my life.
The other reason I started feeling home sick was that painting this made me really reflective of my childhood, the people I grew up with, life long friends I made, and the adventures I went on hiking the mountains in the background. Even though I didn’t always appreciate it as a kid I was blessed to grow up in town I did.
The reference photos that were sent me for this commission were beautiful photos from the previous Christmas. The photos showed off the beautiful pink glow the mountains get as the sunset is reflected on them with the cozy house situated just beneath.
They wanted the house to look and feel like it was Christmas Eve. To me this meant the house needed to glow with feelings of warmth, joy, and love. So much so that it would make you wish you could jump right in and be part of the celebration.