charcoal drawing of child

By Kate Bradley  January 10 2014, 8:43 AM Several years ago I painted oil portraits of twin girls, Jane and Nellie, daughters of Ben and Lauren.

Nellie | Child Portrait | Kate Bradley


Jane Keras


In a year I will paint a portrait of their third daughter, Molly. Their mom is one of my favorite clients and she and her husband are big supporters of the local art community.

This past summer, Lauren and her friends over to my studio for a play-date with their daughters. While they were here, she saw one of the charcoal portraits I was working on and loved it. So  I suggested to Ben that he surprise Lauren with charcoals of the girls for Christmas. The twins are older now so their looks have changed, and I knew Lauren would love to capture them at this new time in their lives. I also knew she would love to have a portrait of Molly. And because charcoal is so different from oil, she won't feel like she's getting duplicate portraits.

And what husband doesn't want to score some major points with his wife?




It's fascinating for me as an artist to see my subjects change so quickly in such a short amount of time. I loved capturing the girls at this new stage in their lives, when they have come into their own a little bit more. That's why I offer to patrons my Legacy Collection, which includes three portraits of children at different stages in their lives.




These commissions were done completely as a Christmas surprise for Lauren. Normally if someone wants to give portraits a a surprise, I suggest buying a gift card because most moms want to be a part of the process. But because these were small head portraits, and because I had worked with the family before, I felt comfortable suggesting them as a surprise.