Meet Mason, My Latest Portrait

I  finished a commissioned portrait not too long ago, as a gift from a mom to her daughter (for Mother’s Day) of her baby son. I was not a friend of this woman on Facebook, so I never got to see all the rave reviews that other people were seeing and sharing. But, she was very happy I heard and so this makes me happy.

I couldn’t believe it when I first saw his photograph, the expression on his face was priceless and I couldn’t wait to try painting him. It was a lot of fun.  So here he is, Mr. Mason! So cute!


Mason – A Pastel Portrait


Portrait Of Aster Continued…

Hello everyone!

I have two more stages completed to show you here on Aster’s portrait.  I somehow feel hesitant to show these, as I am so used to showing beginning and end stages of all my portraits…not really the “in between” stages, which are the most difficult. That’s the stage where I usually feel like things are not working out or that the end stage is not going to be what I expected it to be. It’s the stage where placement of hair, light and shadows really matter, and  I have to keep touching up, adding and taking away. Balancing colors of lights and darks… it can be very intense, but very rewarding in the end. So please understand that what you are seeing is just the beginning of adding shapes and shadow and light.


Aster reference photo


The first stages of the hair, shadows and highlights on face. A simple gray and white background get placed in so we have somewhere to start.

Here you can see I have added the background just to have some color to frame the face for now. I will be adding some more color to this background near the end of the process, to bring everything together. Maybe some warm browns and touches of pink and turquoise that are in her shirt. You can see also, I added a little squiggle of turquoise near her neck reminding me what the color will be. Now I can make sure I keep her face color warm.


This stage more highlights are added to hair, more colors to background and shirt color is added.

As you can see here, the color is added to her shirt now, the shape of her hair is slowly being added and with more highlights. You can see touches of color now in the background or turquoise and pink with the grays. But here is still much more to do!  So sorry for the color here too, as the glow from my light is making the colors a little more yellow than they actually are in this picture. The cloudy days here prevent me from getting a good picture!

Anyway, the last pictures are yet to come and this is where I get really picky. I have to know when to stop touching it. It’s when I need to realize that nothing more can be added or taken away, it’s completed. Hope you like what you see so far. It’s almost done, Kevin!

Back to the drawing board!


Pastel Portrait of Kenzie

This is a new portrait I just completed of my niece’s daughter, Kenzie.  The reference photo used was when she was much younger, so I had to add little changes like more hair and wisps of hair behind her neck. Believe it or not, this portrait took me awhile because of the bow on her head!  That was the most difficult part.

Anyway, it was all good.  I dropped it off to the happy parents and wouldn’t you know, as small as Kenzie is, she kept staring at the reference photo and the pastel portrait that they had placed on a shelf, and her eyes kept darting back and forth like she knew it was her. She was smiling too, and that makes it all worth it!  Another one done! Next!!!


Portrait with reference photo


The completed portrait

Commissioned Portrait, A Special Gift

I don’t know what it is, but whenever I do a portrait I somehow feel connected to the subject somehow.  I guess when you spend a week or so going over the eyes several times to just get them right, or smoothing out the cheeks, adding color here and there, wrinkles and subtle touches that define the person, it’s hard not to feel a connection. You are not only painting a picture but expressing an emotion with the sparkle in the eyes and the curve of the smile. You want it to feel like the subjects are there in the room with you, and if they passed on, they feel somewhat alive again. I guess that’s the best way I can explain it.  That’s what I try to achieve in my portraits.

The commissioned portrait came from a woman who wanted to give it to her father as a gift, It was of his parents. This portrait was really special to me because first, it was my first couple portrait.  And second, I found out they both passed away on the same day. All I kept thinking was how they must have loved each other so much, they could not even leave each other.  So, it was even more important for me to get this right. The only thing was, I only had a small picture to do the portrait from, and even when I blew it up to get the details, most of the fine details were missing, like the woman’s eyes.  I could not see the colors of either of them as well.  I had to ask what the colors were and hope for the best.

I guess in the long run, it was right on or at least very close, because the woman said her dad cried when he opened the portrait as a gift. And that is what it’s all about.  To make it that “real” that it touches someone that way, I can’t even explain how it makes me feel.  It’s God given and I believe that, and I just want to do the best that I can with what he gave me. It’s a gift and I want to share it to make people happy, and so far, it looks like it’s working. I thank him everyday for it. Have a gift, give the gift.  Pass it on.  🙂

The completed portrait on it's own

The completed portrait on it’s own

The portrait and the original photo

The portrait and the original photo

Bertha, A Pastel Portrait

This is a pastel portrait I recently did for a brother-in-law of his mother who is about 87 now. It was mentioned to me that they were thinking of having a portrait done and then it was never mentioned again. So I set out to find a good photo from another sister (so it would be a surprise).  The best photo from all the photos that she gave me was this one you see here from a wedding. In the picture you can’t tell, but she has macular degeneration of her eyes and she can barely see. The color of her eyes were hard to make out from the photo I was given only because her eyes now show up dark or even black in a photo.  The first thing I had to do was find out her original eye color so I could paint her eyes first. I googled her original eye color and then painted them from the photo reference.  It made all the difference. After that, I filled in her hair a little and closed her lips, as this always makes a nicer portrait. I like it to feel as if the person I am painting from a photo, looks like they were sitting right in front of me. This is how I feel the portrait came out. She looks about 10 years younger with a beautiful, coy (somewhat mischievous) smile. This is SO her personality.

After making the slight changes to her portrait from the photo,  I believe the portrait of Bertha is beautiful and will be enjoyed and hope to be a lasting tribute for years to come.

Bertha Photo Reference

Bertha Photo Reference

Final Portrait

Final Portrait

Pastel Portrait Of Lucky, A Springer Spaniel

Here is a pastel portrait of my neighbor’s dog, Lucky.  He is a special dog and we have known him for a long time now.  He is getting on in years and I  had wanted to do his portrait for some time. My daughter, Kelsey, would sometimes feed and walk him, and she grew very close to him over the years.  Lucky  was always a good  dog, and also very smart. There were times he would carry his own leash in his mouth when Kelsey would walk him. so funny!

I gave this portrait to my neighbor as a surprise just the other night and her reaction meant more to me than any payment would have been…and I was happy to do it! Enjoy!Image