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Long Days, Short Years

Callie Sanders, Age 1, Oil on canvas

Callie Sanders, Age 1, Oil on canvas

One of the things I hear most consistently from the moms I work with is how quickly their kids grow up. In fact, it’s the number one reason these moms commission me to paint a portrait of their child.

As one mom Kristen says, “The days seem long, but the years are short. Enjoy the fleeting moments while you can!”

These moms tell me how amazed they are to see their kids’ faces and bodies change in such a short period of time. As an artist, it’s fascinating for me to watch these kids grow up on social media, or when I re-visit a client to take pictures for their next child’s portrait.

It’s amazing how much their facial features have changed since I did their portrait.

Moms tell me it’s such a small window of time while their child still has that baby cuteness. You know what I mean; the soft skin, full cheeks, and that beautiful glow. Often times only a few years can dramatically change the appearance of a child!

Many tell me how relieved they are to have captured this special time in a portrait, and how they will always treasure it. It feels great knowing I can help these moms celebrate these fleeting years and help put their minds (and hearts!) at ease.

Moms, how have you noticed your children growing up? How have you seen their faces and bodies change?

 

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Ezra's Portrait

Ezra Ozier , Age 3, 16” x 20” Oil on canvas

Ezra Ozier, Age 3, 16” x 20” Oil on canvas

I’ve said before how much I love what I do, helping children feel loved and valued for who they are. What I haven’t talked about as much is meeting and getting to know the wonderful parents of these kids. I can just feel the love they have for them, and how much it means to have that expressed in a portrait, one they will cherish for the rest of their lives.

I’m so lucky to work with such wonderful families.

I met the Oziers several years ago when they commissioned me to do portraits of three of their four children, Noah, Eli, and Ingrid. At that time Ezra was just a baby.

Fast forward three years and it’s time for his portrait. When I came to their house over Christmas to take his photos, I was amazed at how much he’d grown and changed. Not only does he have a full head of hair, but he is the only sibling to have blue eyes.

His portrait will hang with his brothers and sister in the family dining room. He’s had to wait a long time for his;)

Noah and Eli with their portraits

Noah and Eli with their portraits

It feels great to have families like the Oziers commission me for all their children’s portraits. It’s an honor and a sign of their faith in me as an artist. I love revisiting families I’ve gotten to know over the years and seeing how much their kids have grown. It’s always amazing to me as an artist to watch their features and bodies change.

My hope is that the Oziers continue to treasure their portraits as the years go by.

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The Most Precious Age

William, Age 3, Charcoal on Paper, Madison, Mississippi

William, Age 3, Charcoal on Paper, Madison, Mississippi

I get asked by moms all the time, “What’s the perfect age to do a portrait?”


While I’d love to an exact number down to the day and time, it really varies for each child. Generally though, between the ages of 3 and 4 hits that “perfect” spot.


Kids are not only so cute at this age, but they’re beginning to develop into grown children. They have hair (usually) and their features are taking shape. In other words, they look like how they’re going to look. I also find they understand what a portrait is and enjoy the process.


And they still have that baby cuteness – full cheeks, soft skin, as and a healthy dose of childhood wonder. I love how kids at this age already have so much personality. It’s really a joy to capture.


William's mom Lashlee told me she wanted to do these portraits because her kids were growing up so fast. She could literally see their faces and bodies changing every month. Lashlee couldn’t believe it had been three years already.


Childhood is fleeting. It’s such a short window of time before they become more independent, loose their teeth, and start dressing themselves.

What mom wouldn’t want to capture this precious time?

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A new year brings new portraits!

James Dorman, age 5, charcoal on paper

James Dorman, age 5, charcoal on paper

What a fantastic year 2018 has been! My husband and I relocated from Waco, TX to Lynchburg, VA for his new teaching position at Lynchburg College. We’ve been in serious transition mode, but I’ve still been able to keep up with my current collectors in Memphis and pick up some more during our time in Texas.

It’s always been a dream of mine to do out-of-state commissions.

I’ve seen it as a great indicator of success in an artist’s career to be in demand enough to travel for work. I can happily say I have collectors in Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi and now Virginia, and I expect to have more in the coming years.

Have paint, will travel!

I want to thank everyone who’s commissioned me to paint their precious children.

It’s a joy and honor to capture the personalities of these little ones. It will continue to be my mission in 2019 and beyond to help them feel loved and valued for who they are.

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A Young Mom Blossoms at Lifehouse Houston

Blossom and Kimori, charcoal on paper

Blossom and Kimori, charcoal on paper

Recently I was approached by a friend to help raise money for Lifehouse, a Christian ministry in Houston that helps moms in crisis by providing housing for them and their unborn child. Many of the young women at Lifehouse have been victims of abuse and sex trafficing.

This October Lifehouse is celebrating thirty years and I’m excited to be a part of it. When my friend asked me to donate a portrait, I told her I actually don’t donate my work. It wouldn’t be fair to the collectors who’ve paid full-price. I would, however, love to honor one of the moms at Lifehouse with a portrait to raise awareness for this great cause.

That mom’s name is Blossom and her daughter is Kimori. Blossom is the first college graduate from Lifehouse who has a salaried job and is saving for her first car.

Blossom says Lifehouse has helped equip her to be a great mom. The work they do “helps make a big difference in the life of a struggling mom and innocent baby.”

If you’d like to donate to Lifehouse and help moms like blossom, go here.

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