Monday, April 04, 2011

Painting Kids from Life...going back a few years

My oldest daughter is 32 years old now. I've painted and drawn her many times. Some of the paintings were specific "portraits", and some were more generic studies. The top drawing was done of her while she slept, when she was 2 months old. Sleeping kids are easy to draw or paint...because they are not moving around and you can actually study the form and light. This drawing is in pencil with conte and fountain pen.

The oval picture was painted when Becky was around 27 months old. It is an oil on paper, and she posed in the studio. It is a one-shot alla prima, which is the most you can hope for with a young child who is moving around (unless, of course, you use photos). But, painting from life is so much better with depth and subtle nuances that are missing in copying a flat photo. This painting is obviously an example of a specific "portrait".

The third picture down is another example of a specific "portrait" of Rebekah at around 5 or 6 years old. It is a 14"x16" oil on linen, and she posed for this one in the studio. I painted a picture of Elisabeth, my second child, the same year. They both posed holding dolls, and both paintings are the same size. Having a child hold something makes a nice portrait.

The fourth picture down is a notecard of the painting. The actual painting sold years ago at a 2 person show that Jack and I did at the Southern VT Art Center. Often I regret selling a painting...not that I regret selling paintings..but some paintings should be kept. This is one of them. This was painted from life in the studio. Rebekah is 11 years old here, and a very good model. The painting was 18"x12" oil on linen.

When the kids were small, I painted plein air studies of them in the yard. Here is one with Rebekah in the garden. This is a one-shot painting and it is a more generic study using the figure as a "prop" to the whole scene. Rebekah was probably around 13 years old in this one. It is a 12"x14" oil on panel.

"Red Riding Hood" was painted in the studio when Rebekah was in high school. She originally posed wearing a russet shawl, but I decided to glaze some red on this, and the idea took off from there. I added the wolf and transformed the background with grandma's cottage in the background (smoke going up from the chimney) and the dark woods and threatening sky to set the mood. This one is 18"x12" oil on panel. Keeping your ideas open makes being an artist such fun. I didn't start out with the idea of painting Red Riding Hood when I had Becky pose, but it morphed into this idea with a simple glaze.

"Sleep and the Sandman" was a one day start. Rebekah posed with Michael (friend) in the studio. The characters took shape on the spot. I will probably play with this one and finish it up.

Make the most of every day. Kids grow up fast! Paint!


Judy P. said...

These are so lovely, and they prompt such great memories. For me the Little Red Riding Hood painting is fantastic! It makes me want to work to become a better painter, and create something like that myself. Someday!

Karen Winslow said...

Thank you, Judy. I really appreciate your kind comments. These are just a few of the paintings I did of my oldest daughter, Rebekah. She is now 32 and having her first baby (our 6th grandchild). I am so glad that I painted these. Look around you, and paint of draw someone you love. If you wait too long, you might miss the opportunity. :)

Unknown said...

These are great Karen!

Karen Winslow said...

Thank you, Walter!

Laurel Alanna McBrine said...

That top drawing is so beautiful - it makes me regretful! Thanks for sharing.

Karen Winslow said...

Thank you so much! My daughter Becky just had her first child, and I hope to get to do some paintings and drawings of him.