Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Martha's Portrait

Martha was turning 80 and her family was planning a surprise birthday party for her. Not easy, considering Martha lives in Arkansas and most of her family lives in Pennsylvania. Her daughter-in-law Cindy wanted to get her something completely unique, something that would always remind Martha of her big birthday celebration.
Cindy works in a fine art gallery and frame shop, so one day as she was framing a painting, she struck upon the perfect gift for Martha. An original portrait of Martha that she could hang in her home. Cindy contacted me and we discussed her idea. We had one main challenge: How to capture Martha's personality solely from a photograph, without sketching from life or even meeting or talking with her?
To gather the information I needed, I spent some time interviewing Cindy and looking at her photographs. Martha, it turns out, is a dynamo. She plays golf, travels, is active socially, and has a very outgoing personality. In other words, Martha is a very colorful person. We selected the photograph that would work best, and decided that a lot of movement and color was necessary to show Martha's lively nature. Below you can see the photograph and the finished portrait. Cindy is a framing expert at Lois Guinn Framing, so the portrait was beautifully framed with archival materials.
I received a note from Martha shortly after. She says, "You will never know the happiness you brought to me in my portrait. It is incredible how you captured my expression and feelings from only a picture."
The greatest reward of a portrait artist is to know that they have captured something unique and telling about the individual they are painting.'

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