children's portrait - part 1

Introducing Norah Grace and Sophie Mae.

I've had the pleasure of being commissioned by Jody Dorris to paint these beautiful girls' portrait for a Christmas present to their father Logan Dorris. I began with a photo shoot back in August, which was basically 3 and a half hours of following them around with a camera. For the setting, we first visited the Belmont mansion on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville, which had several courtyards, gazebos, gardens, and tall, stately white pillars.

From there, we went to the atriums of the Opryland Hotel, which feature amazing gardens, waterways, and walkways.

Two tired kids, 450 pictures, and three and a half hours later, we wrapped it up with some great photos to choose from. After a review of the photos with Jody and Logan, they decided upon a double portrait of the girls on the stairs of the Belmont Mansion.

Now, it is rarely as simple as just selecting the photo and running with it. There are several decisions to be made about color, lighting, shadows, composition, body position, expression, etc...enter photoshop. With photoshop, I am able to make a composite image that is much closer to what I have in mind for the finished painting. This is not so much for the sake of artistic purposes, for the eye is always better than any software or camera, but rather for the sake of replacing mistakes in the photography (closed eyes, awkward hand positions, etc.) There is no need to get carried away with details and fancy photoshop techniques at this point. These details are easier and more appropriately attended to during the drawing and painting stages. Below is the loose composite photo I used to begin the painting. Further posts will follow...

*see part 2 here*