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Oil portraits

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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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Charlie

Charlie Harris, Age 8, Memphis, TN

Charlie Harris, Age 8, Memphis, TN

I met Claire and Cheyne Harris through one of my collectors. They commissioned me to paint their 8-year-old son, Charlie.

 

This was a really meaningful commission for Claire, because she'd recently lost her father. Having Charlie painted now was a special way of honoring her dad's legacy.

 

I thought Charlie was so cute when I met him. I took his pictures on a weirdly warm day over Christmas, and he told me about what he was asking for. It was mostly sports-related:)

 

He struck me as just a really sweet, good-natured boy. 

 

What was really cool about this commission was that I was on the news here in Waco, and I brought this portrait along. You can watch the segment here.

 

Charlie thought it was pretty cool he was on T.V.

 

Claire and Cheyne were fun and easy to work with, and I could tell how much they loved their son. It was as honor to

 

I asked Claire the greatest lesson that she's learned from motherhood, and she said, "Children are VERY smart and are always listening to you and watching you.  You will know this when your 8 year old tells you that he "has had a lot on his mind lately" 😂

 

"Therefore, you should live your life like you want your child to live his or hers. If you give them lots of love, time, and teach them humility they will internalize that and pass that down to their own families."

 

Amen to that!

 

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What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about being a good mother?

Whitney Bricken, Age 3, Charcoal

Whitney Bricken, Age 3, Charcoal

Children grow up fast. One thing I hear consistently from moms is how quickly they see their kids' features changing. Before you know it, they're teenagers (yikes!)

 

There is only so much precious time.

 

There’s stuff that everyone says you “need” to do, but I’m talking about the kind of advice your grandmother gives.

 

Wisdom that stands the test of time.

 

So in honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve put together a list of the top 5 wise words of advice to help you be more present with your kids:

Take care of yourself, embrace any help that is offered and lastly, my Grandmother’s advice to me: “Children are life renewing, slow down and enjoy every moment.
— Sara Madasu, Memphis, TN
Stop and enjoy as many moments as you can with them.
— Micki Martin, Memphis, TN
Have fun and don’t be so hard on yourself.
— Lauren Keras, Memphis, TN
Try to find joy in every stage and embrace the constant change as best you can.
— Kristen Hill, Memphis, TN
When your child grows up, he or she won’t remember if the shelves were dusted. Your child will remember the experiences and feelings that accompany them. Make them good ones.
— Deede Sherman, Memphis, TN

 

Btw, these words and more are in my book, Lessons of Love, which would make the perfect gift for Mother’s Day!

 

So let’s hear it. What’s the best motherhood advice you’ve been given?

 

Leave a comment below.

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Anna Jane

Anna Jane Johnson, Age 4, Oil on canvas

Anna Jane Johnson, Age 4, Oil on canvas

I met precious little Anna Jane last December in Austin. Her mom, Ellyn, had saw my feature story in Memphis Magazine and contacted me about a commission.  

 

Even though I don't live there any more (proud Texan now) I frequently travel to do commissions. I met Ellyn and Anna Jane when they were coming through Austin on a family trip, and took the pictures at their hotel. 

 

Anna Jane is 4, and I just loved capturing her at this special time in her life. I remember thinking how delicate her features were, and her personality was friendly but also a little reserved. I think her expression really captures that. 

 

I usually take the pictures in the family's home, but because we were in a hotel I didn't want much of the background to show. I think it works really well for this portrait, because the focus is all on her. I kept the background loose and with a soft palette that compliments her perfectly.

 

Ellyn was really nice and easy to work with. I always ask the moms who commission me to share the best piece of advice they'd give to a mom-to-be. Ellyn said,

 

"Take care of yourself...to find a moment of pleasure in every day, whether it's reading a book, a manicure, a TV show, sipping a cup of hot tea or coffee, a devotion, meditation, exercising, etc. A few quiet minutes a day helps you to focus, be more present, and in turn, be a better mom." 

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The Von Trapp Children

William, Age 6, Oil

William, Age 6, Oil

Jennings, Age 4, Oil 

Jennings, Age 4, Oil 

 

OK, well they're actually the Frazee children, but can't you just see them hopping around and singing in lederhosen?

 

Doe, a deer, a female deer...

 

Seriously, though, when I first met William and Jennings I obviously couldn't wait to paint them, because they're both so beautiful!

 

I've known their parents, Robert and Courtney, for a while. I actually used to work with Robert at a wealth management company back when I was a 9-to-5er. We've always kept in touch, and I was thrilled when they reached out to me about portraits of their kids. 

 

When I first sat down with them for a consultation at their house in Memphis, I asked why they wanted portraits now. 

 

Courtney said she wanted to capture her kids at this age in a really significant way. She wanted something substantial that would last a long time.

 

She also hasn't been super good about getting their photos taken at each stage. (Lucky for her, I work from photos I take so she got those thrown in with the portraits:)

 

Besides spending time with the kids I paint, I always ask their parents about their personalities. 

 

William is a really joyful child, happy child. He was very easy to photograph and he wanted to show me his drawings when we were finished. Jennings is shy and reserved. Her parents call her a "little bird." She's also a very middle child, they say. 

 

And Laurel, their youngest, is equally adorable. I'll be doing her portrait too in a few years.

 

I loved getting to know these kids and capturing their sweet personalities at a really special age in their lives.

 

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