Portrait From a WWII Photo

After seeing the sepia portrait I did of my client Julie’s grandmother, my client Jim got the idea to do something special with a treasured picture of his grandfather.

Growing up, Jim and his siblings and cousins all loved to look at the collection of old, yellowing black-and-white photographs from WWII their grandfather had displayed in his house.  The pictures show airplanes, jeeps, amazing landscapes and, of course, Jim’s grandfather and fellow soldiers.  Of these, the following shot of his grandfather on a military Harley-Davidson was a favorite of Jim’s:

Unfortunately, Jim’s grandfather passed away and when cleaning out his house, Jim made sure the pictures were kept safe.  He is considering having the collection scanned to be able to share digital versions with his entire family, but with Father’s Day coming, Jim wanted to do something more for his dad.

To really honor the picture on the Harley, Jim asked me to use the old 5”x3.5” photo to paint a 10”x8” portrait.  He wanted to keep pretty true to the original, but to focus more on his grandfather, we decided to crop in a bit on his grandfather and the bike while also taking out his friend sitting on the back.  I also decided to subdue the background a bit to make the focus more about the foreground.  Finally, I decided to make the lessen the contrast in the painting so I could get more focus on the details you can see in the larger version, while also keeping the old-time feel of the original.

Jim is thrilled with the result and can't wait to see his father's reaction!