One important thing I've learned from painting portraits is that every child needs to know they are important. They want to feel loved and valued for who they are, not what they do or what others think of them. Each portrait I paint is about honoring the uniqueness of the child.
It's personal for me, too, because my most painful moments have been when I believed my life had no value. That's why I'm so passionate about making kids feel special and loved by painting their portraits.
Each commission is a journey to know a child and convey their essence. I love meeting the kids I paint, spending time with them, laughing with them, exploring their rooms and talking about their favorite movies.
Every portrait is different because each child is different.
I don't paint kids in pre-determined environments. I go where they go. I capture them naturally, never posed. And I just love painting kids, because they wear their hearts on their sleeves. Usually it takes a couple of minutes for them to get comfortable around me, so I'll have the mom hang around. But then the child forgets I'm there, and that's when the magic begins.
Tread, for instance, is an "old soul." He was calm and quite when I took his pictures, and answered each question very softly. Some kids I have to chase around, but not him. His personality is very sweet and calm.
Nothing else honors a person quite like a portrait.
That's what it's all about - honoring the worth of the individual child. It's my mission to help them know they are unconditionally loved and that their lives matter.