A Portrait From an 82 Year-Old Photograph

I love that I become part of a special moment through some of my commissioned art work.  This was definitely the case with my most recent portrait.  My client Julie’s grandmother unfortunately passed away recently at the age of 95, and Julie wanted something special to remember her with as a gift for her mother.

To start the process, Julie came to me with a fantastic old 2”x3” sepia photograph of her grandmother back when she was only about 13 years old. Her grandmother grew up in Alaska, and you can really get a sense of the rugged Alaskan terrain in the background of the 82-year old photo

The original photograph

The original photograph

For the gift, Julie wanted to go larger – but still small enough that her mother could easily put the painting on her desk.  We settled on a 5”x7” final size, and then cropped the image to enlarge her grandmother and cut out some of the overhanging eaves at the top of the photo.

When I painted it, I wanted to capture the feel of the time and place as well as the likeness and expression of her grandmother.  After some time focusing on these things, I feel like I can sense the place and even get a sense of the person - which I try to infuse into the painting. Focusing on these details was worth it when I delivered the painting to Julie.  She was overjoyed, and marveled that the painting was better than the photo!  She can’t wait to give the painting to her mother – and I can’t wait to hear the story!

To see more of my portraits and other commissioned work, check out: http://www.blackbeakstudios.com/commissioned-art/