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portrait artist

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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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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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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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A little boy who likes books

Henry Bush, Age 6, Oil on canvas

Henry Bush, Age 6, Oil on canvas

I few years ago I painted this portrait of a six year old boy named Henry.

And I keep returning to it because I think it perfectly encapsulates what my mission is, which is to help children feel loved and valued for who they truly are.

I do that by getting to know them, interviewing their parents, and then capturing that in a portrait. A portrait that celebrates them and only them.

I get asked all the time if I do group portraits. I don't, and this is why: my work is all about celebrating an individual child, making him or her feel loved and special.

And the fact is, you just can't do that in a group portrait.

So Henry's portrait and all the other kids I've painted are just about them and only them.

The real Henry

The real Henry

Henry was so cute, just a really calm and sweet child. He loves books, as you can tell. He was particularly into a series called the Magic Tree House, and he told me all about it as I was doing his portrait.

Henry is sitting on the couch, relaxed with his legs folded up underneath him. He has a calm and pleasant expression because he's doing his favorite thing.

The colors also reflect his personality. The soft blues and whites serve to emphasize his calm and happy demeanor.

But then his dark vest really makes him pop, so he's the center of the portrait. He's the focus.

I know his mom Katherine will treasure this special age in Henry's life as he gets older, and I hope he know how loved and valued he truly is.

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