Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Non-Traditional Family Portrait

More and more so, it appears as though the family portrait is making a comeback in today's home design and decorating.  Not the stodgy old portraits of days of yesteryear so much (that said, it would be nice to have an original Rembrandt or Vermeer portrait in my own home!) but something new and current.  Photography is one route to go in to capture a moment in time.  Of course, my specialty is capturing that moment (or several moments in one image) on canvas.

The Fernie Family
acrylic on canvas
48"w x 36"h

The above portrait is of my family--Sean, me, Tristan and Carter.  I painted this particular portrait a couple of years ago now and I am sort of ready to do a new one (especially now that I myself have hair again!).  Carter and Sean share a true familial resemblance, so I painted them both using only a palette knife and no brush.  I find that Tristan and I look more like each other, so we are painted with a brush. This portrait has been moved to several locations within our house and never fails to engage the viewer.

The Malobabic Family
acrylic on canvas
36" w x 24" h

This portrait was commissioned by Carter's former junior kindergarten teacher, Danjela Malobabic.  Danjela has her own certain sort of style and gave me complete and utter artistic freedom with her portrait--she commissioned the portrait for her father for his birthday.  I LOVED painting this piece.   With absolutely no restrictions, I kind of went to town.  The resemblance between Danjela & her mother was amazing, so I chose to paint them both with more controlled brush strokes in a similar style.  Danjela's sister and father also shared a resemblance, but I chose to paint them in a more abstracted way--no realistic tendencies at all here.  I think Danjela's sister actually looks like a crazy Marie Antoinette sort of character.  Her mother's head is not anchored to a body (a floating ghost?  not scary though...) and Danjela's father's image is both in front of and behind Danjela.  Craziness--but it went over very well with the family.  I knew my lack of limitations and went with them!

Frank, Janine, Max & Maya
acrylic on canvas
48" w x 36" h

This portrait was commissioned by our friends Frank & Janine.  Frank is a builder by trade and they live in the most fabulous, traditional home.  They chose to commission this piece for their dining room and have told us time and time again that it has instigated conversations too numerous to count in the dining room over dinner!  Maya was just a newborn at the time the piece was done, so it is kind of cool that she is represented that way.  Little Max with this mane of golden hair just had to be captured that way--halo and all.  I experimented a little with using sepia paint on Max's face.  It kind of gave a bit of an old school photographical element to the piece.

Ingrid & Natalie
acrylic on canvas
24" w x 18" h

This is truly one of my favourite family portraits.  In the words of Dr. Seuss (and more recently by my old friend Sara Lanthier), "A family is a family no matter how small".  That says it all.

Shannon, Derek, Jordan and Callum
acrylic on canvas
48" w x 36"h

This family portrait was commissioned fairly early on in my "family portrait" career.  Shannon approached me to paint this piece with one caveat--use no black.  That's just what I did.  Once again, Callum was a baby at the time this piece was done, so he is captured that way.

Alison and Her Family
acrylic on canvas
36"w x 30"h

The portrait above was my most recent foray into family portraiture.  Alison was very free in her approach to the piece and just didn't want it "scary".  I painted her husband almost as an illustrated man--his skin looks tattooed.  Oh his glasses--I LOVE painting glasses in a portrait.  For some reason they sort of anchor the whole painting.  I blended the two boys right into their parents skin--from hence they came, right?  Alison actually does resemble a "Barbie" a little in person, so I chose to play that element up and keep her all glowing in gold, yellow & pink.  Note:  The little gold section at Alison's husband's chin just above her son's head was removed from the final painting--I just didn't re-photograph it after I painted over that section.  The gold just wasn't working for me.

Ahhhh, time for a night out.  Happy Saturday!


1 comment:

  1. Love these portraits Justine. Each individual family member is a portrait unto itself. The families must be enjoying them so much. I'm so enjoying your blogging also.