I recently completed two charcoal portraits of sisters Kate and Emily. When I met their dad, Philip, I asked him why he wanted portraits of his girls. The first thing he said is that he thought they were at a really cute age. (Kate is six, and Emily is four.)
Then he said that his house needed some art. So we measured the space he had in mind and decided that two head portraits would work really nicely.
I loved getting to know these girls. Kate can sing all the songs to Frozen and Emily loves Hello Kitty and shopping at Target.
Each girl is totally natural in her portrait. Kate is wearing her Hutchison polo and Emily has on a cute purple dress with frills along the neckline.
Kate was confindent and relaxed when I took her picture. Emily, though, was shy and kept hiding under the covers. I sensed that she was a playful girl. I was so taken with her beautiful, white-blond hair that I chose to set if off against a dark background.
Each portrait captures what’s true and unique about the girls. As I'm spending time with them, I ask them questions and get to know them so I can bring their most natural selves out in the portrait. It’s a different approach than the one you would use to take a picture. I’m not looking for a quick snap shot or smiley-face; I’m trying to create a sense of who that child is as a person.
So maybe the child is super-smiley in the portrait, but often times not. Children just don’t walk around with smiles plastered on their faces. Instead, I try to capture a pleasant, natural expressions that reveals the personality of the child. Or another way to put it, they way they look when no one is watching.