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.)
Let's talk about how 2022 is the perfect year for you to have your/your loved one's portrait painted.
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It's a good time for celebrating the human person, particularly as discovered in the face. There's really no good way to abstract the face, because faces are essentially personal. Your face. Your loved one's face. A good portrait should give a sense of the whole person, but of course will focus on that all-important face.
Our culture has been suffering from a defacing -- literally, a lack of faces. The effect has been chilling. Misunderstanding and fear are two of the major byproducts of this rejection of the essential goodness of the human face.
But this is not how we were meant to live. We were made to relate to, to connect with, to love one another. So much of this hinges upon our ability to communicate with each other and understand one another, face to face. We're not just statistics, we're people.
So, I say, let's get some portraits painted!
Why have a portrait painted?
Here are a few reasons why you might be looking for a painted portrait:
Here's the fun part.
I'm offering a 36% discount off of any studio portrait booked by Feb 28.
Why 36%? Because I just turned 36. (We wanted this announcement to go out on my birthday [Jan 11], but we've honestly just been too busy until now!)
What does that look like, in terms of savings? See below:
Can you tell I'm eager to dive in here?
The Fine Print
Click here to see my portrait page for more on pricing and what the painting process looks like!
Any questions? Feel free to comment below! Peace!
Last month, the community to which Deirdre and I belong felt the painful loss of a young family man, Tim Cantu, to cancer. I knew Tim only a relatively short time but I can say he was truly a friend.
Tim and I shared much in common. We were both about the same age (he was a few years younger). We both were from large families and were the fathers of large families as well. Our reasons for having large families are similar too: they stem from our Catholic faith and the conviction that life is a precious gift and should be shared generously with others. Tim was the dedicated father of 5 children. It was always refreshing to see Tim and Marie with their family in large part because together they were a lot like what my wife and I want to be.
As an artist, one thing that particularly struck me about Tim was his conviction that artistic forms are both meaningful and important. Some of his many friends may not be aware that he was a patron of the arts, making an actual investment in culture that way -- and he was excited about it. I enjoyed working with Tim as artist/patron, and I sensed that he was going to be with me for the long haul in my own quest for Beauty. We also shared some good thoughts on art and beauty over some good drinks.
Tim was willing to take an unpopular position in order to be true to what he believed as far as taste and culture. This is something I respect, because it’s all too easy for any of us to go with the flow on what may seem like minor matters -- the choice of music for a party, say -- but the fact remains that forms form us. Tim knew that. Seeking excellence in the little things -- seeking beauty in all our choices -- is a step forward on the journey toward the ultimate Good to which we’re destined.
Tim’s journey, it seemed last month, was cut cruelly short. Deirdre and I, along with many, many others, were praying for a miracle. We wanted so much for this fun, lively guy to fully recover, to stay by his wife Marie's side and get to watch his children grow up. Learning of his passing was a painful blow. But we trust that God has a plan that will redeem all the suffering. As I think of and am grateful for Tim’s support of my artwork and, more importantly, his friendship, I’m reminded of the deep value of choosing the more beautiful way, in matters both great and small.
Bidding is open!
The rules are as follows:
The original price of this piece is $5260. Starting bid for the auction is $1200.
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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