Sunday, March 3, 2013

Posthumous Portrait

It's an honor to be asked to paint a posthumous portrait.  You're being trusted to capture a precious loved one....whose only visual memory is in a favorite snapshot now.  So it's with especially great care that I attempted to capture a neighbor's husband that only passed away last year.

Most artist's try to stay away from painting so many teeth and glasses too.  But she clearly insisted that this was her favorite photograph, so I knew I had to give it a go.  The photo was small and not so clear, so I had to enlarge it for the gold antique wood frame she already picked out for him.

Another unusual feature of this portrait is that the frame was a lovely oval shape, but with space in the back to fit the 8 x 10" rectangular artwork.  Making sure it would fit, I had my dear friend and framer Sheena McLean from Frame Warehouse in Cary, NC cut my Wallis Pastel board before I started painting.  Later, she'll fit a spacer, use museum glass, replace the backing and rewire it.

The instant my client saw the finished work she burst into tears.  I succeeded in giving her husband back for a while....if only in a pastel portrait.  "My daughters will fight over this when I'm gone" she said.  I knew she meant a compliment, but that saddened me.  Life's so short.  I love being able to preserve loved ones memories for them.

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