Last week I sent an email to my private list of Beauty Advocacy subscribers and Facebook community to ask for input about my daughter's painted portrait. It's always great fun to hear everyone's input! Different aspects of a pose speak to different people.
Deirdre and I had selected these six images from among hundreds of shots. With a toddler sitting [squirming] for a photo, it takes a lot of tries to get even this many candidates!
As I explain on my portraiture page, the best portrait will result from a live sitting. Ideally, a portrait subject would come in for a series of sittings, each for a few hours, so that I'd have the chance really to study that person live, with real light shining on his/her face and real color to work with before me in three dimensions.
But in the case of a toddler, a photo will do the trick. Toddlers are not the best models, but it is a delight to capture this young phase!
Thanks to my subscribers, I was able to get a sense of what about these photos strikes others. Here is the approximate breakdown of the votes:
A - 12% of the votes
B - 15% of the votes
C - 15% of the votes
D - 34% of the votes
E - 13% of the votes
F - 9% of the votes
So our clear leader was D, with C and B tied for second.
But I still had to decide....
Clearly, there is a lot to love about D. It is very bright and cheerful, capturing a sweet moment from our little girl. It's appealing to capture an unguarded, candid moment. Deirdre and I agree that we would like to have this printed and framed as a photo -- it is, undoubtedly, a charming snap of our girl (and captures a hint of her mischievous nature)! But for an oil portrait, I tend to want a more elevated tone. In my opinion, D will not translate as well to the canvas as some of the other options would.
(Now - mind you - if you were commissioning this portrait of your daughter and that was your favorite, then that's the one that I would paint!)
B just isn't my favorite. While I love the pose with the hands slightly clasped and the 3/4 view of her face still sporting baby cheeks... I'm not loving it. There's a hint of "dazed" in that photo that I ultimately decide against.
C is a tough one to turn down. I think it is objectively the prettiest one, and I would love to turn it into an oil portrait. But Deirdre is adamant that the painting should capture our little one's bright blue eyes. So this is also a no-go.
So where does that leave me?
I was finding that I just kept coming back to E.
Both Deirdre and I love this image. We love the pose with the full arm, elbow slightly bent; we love the curls flying somewhat free (her golden hair tends to be tousled); we love the crinkle of the silk dress; we love the fully-lit view of the face. We also love the energy, which is distinctly that of our sweet-yet-wild little one. This image captures our little girl and also has that slightly more formal sense that I'm going for in an heirloom piece.
The one hesitation: Deirdre was finding that she was wishing for the color scheme from D. That blue background, especially, seems like the right spirit-color for our little girl, as well as a color that we'd like to have hanging on our walls for decor purposes (yes, that is a factor to consider!). The purple wasn't doing it for Deirdre.
So let me wave my magic wand here...
And I think we have our winner.
We (the parents) are happy, I (the artist) am happy... I think we're good to go. When I translate this to the canvas, I'll plan to smooth out the background (drapery wrinkles not necessary), fill out the hair a little (some was lost to photography and we do enjoy her golden curls), and adjust the ribbon to be smoother and wider. The little clip in her hair will either disappear or get a Cinderella transformation as well. These are the liberties that I get to take to come up with the final product we're looking for!
Please don't let my special offer on portraits pass you by! We're talking about some big savings here:
Just shoot me an email, give me a call, drop me a line through my contact form... let's get this ball rolling! Payment plans welcome.
Hesitating because you're not sure about some aspect of the process? That's ok; I'm learning too! Feel free to ask and I'll do my best to answer.
I look forward to sharing with you when this portrait is underway and then complete! (Make sure you're subscribed to my private email list to stay tuned.)
Hello there, I'm John H. Folley, an oil painter in the Boston School tradition. Thanks for visiting the Beauty Advocacy Blog, where it's my job to help you become a more discerning art appreciator.
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