This is one of the fastest portraits I have ever done! I created Jovon’s Bar Mitzvah Portrait in watercolor in my studio between his Bar Mitzvah ceremony and reception. I had photographer his Mitzvah portraits at the Beth Meyer Synagogue. I liked one of those images and used it as a reference. Originally, I had planned to do an oil painting but that did not work out due to my schedule. So, I painted this watercolor. I am used to working quickly when painting live at weddings and events. But, this was portrait, so likeness was important. I loved the challenge. Jovon and his family loved the painting. You can get more information about my live wedding and event painting services on my new website: www.liveweddingpaintings.com A painting like this can make a unique gift and add a touch of elegance to your special occassion.
Watercolor painting of my son Ian pulling his sled after a winter storm. Earlier this year we got quite a bit of snow. Little unusual for this area, and as always it brought everything to a standstill! I was traveling to Charlotte and had made it home just in time. Ian loves the snow now, although he was not a fan when he was little. Snow days, snowball fights, making snow angels, hot chocolate, TV, and sledding- what is not to like?! He had fun sledding on his little snow disc. Climb up the street and slide down. And repeat. Only if I had his energy!
One of the change I am looking forward to this year is painting en plein air during the winter. I have painted in the snow before but not much. I always have perfectly good excuses to convince myself that it is not a good idea. Weather. Holidays. And so on. What I like about winter is that it simplifies everything in a landscape. Most tree are bare. Leaves are all on the ground. And when snow covers everything, it simplifies the landscape even more. This is a real contrast to the rich landscape of other seasons here in North Carolina.
A client recently commissioned me to paint this portrait of her childhood home. This will be a gift to her mother. I worked from the photos. When painting buildings, my goal is to make a painting and not architectural rendering. I want to capture the likeness and character of the place but do not want to make it a boring rendering! I created composition from the reference images. I kept important details but changed couple of things to make an interesting portrait. I provided work-in-progress images to the client. I am quite happy with the finished painting.
A painting like this can make a great gift! I accept commissions for wedding paintings, and portraits of people, pets, places and just about anything that can be important to you! I can also make digital print of the finished painting so that family members can enjoy it! I also sell digital image for use in holiday/ thank you cards.
This is an oil portrait of my son Ian! I frequently sketch him from life. That practice helps me sketch when I am painting live at weddings and events! This portrait is based on an image I had captured while he was standing by the front door, curiously observing the world outside.
I paint portraits in both oils and watercolors. Portrait commission, like wedding painting commission makes a great gift. Please contact me for pricing.
I did this painting for Jerry’s Artarama’s Lukas paint competition. I had done one painting earlier for this competition “The Cloud”. It is currently on the display for sale at Cary Gallery of Artists.
I love the way evening light falls through front door of our home. My son Ian loves to stand there and watch the world outside. Originally I wanted to do his watercolor painting. So, I did a pencil sketch couple of days ago. The weather has been cloudy for last few days, so I could not make an exact sketch of what I wanted to paint. I also had paintings due for Jerry’s as well as North Hills competitions. I did a Plein Air watercolor for North Hills last week (see my earlier post). I wanted to do an oil as well, but, couldn’t get out to paint (North Hills competition is Plein air). So, I decided to work on at least one more painting for Jerry’s.
The painting was due today. And when I was being run over by the day yesterday, I finally saw the sunlight! I tried having Ian pose the way I wanted. Hmmm… Try that with a two-year old! So, I gave up and snapped few photos to use as reference.
I used linen as a support. Although I paint on both canvas and linen (sometimes on board), I prefer linen. Lukas paints are different from other brands I use. Those are all good paints and I enjoy discovering characteristics of each brand. I started to paint at 10:30 PM and stayed up to finish it this morning at 2 AM. When I was finished, I didn’t care if I will win anything. I enjoyed my little painting. One thing was certain: I will have dozen brushes to wash next day and Ian will be up in the morning! He did get up at 3 AM! And I still have brushed to wash!
Ian’s middle name is West. His grandfather was James West Hadnot. A fine fighter pilot and Col. in the US air force. World War II veteran. Today, when I remember him (he passed away in 2007), I remember many war stories he had shared with me. Some of those can make hair on your arms stand up. And here I was. Worried about little things. I had a very upsetting and bizarre incident involving one of my professional photography clients yesterday. Kept me busy all day. I couldn’t stop thinking about it as I painted. And there are some fine folks who are sacrificing their lives for this country. There is no secret message in my painting. It is a little painting done on the Memorial day. May be Ian will grow up to be like Col. James West Hadnot.
Sasha Souza at Cobblestone Hall. Live Event painting. Watercolor. 11×14.
Sasha Souza is one of the premiere event designers and a top innovator in the wedding industry. She is one of only a handful of wedding designers who have been named a Master Bridal Consultant, the highest designation given by the Association of Bridal Consultants. Souza is the recipient of numerous awards including the Special Events Magazine Gala Award winner for “Best Dining Tabletop Design”, Event Solutions Magazine “Designer of the Year” and three ISES Westie Awards
The Greater Triangle North Carolina Chapter of the International Special Events Society (ISES) hosted “Emerging Trends with Sasha Souza ”
This event was held at the Cobblestone Hall in Raleigh. This is a brand new venue- ideal for weddings and events.
ISES had invited me to paint live at the event. Earlier in the day, I had photographed Sasha’s lunch with ISES and TWCE members at 18 Seaboard Restaurant. We will be posting images of that event on our photography blog: iwpphotography.wordpress.com
Sasha was scheduled to present at 7 PM. I setup earlier to get started with the drawing and composition. Due to the length of the event, I decided to use 11×14 format. I used Holbein watercolors, Saunders Waterford 140 lb rough surface paper, and mostly Escoda brushes- my new favorites!
Image below shows completed drawing.
As with many indoor events, the difficult part is the lighting. In the beginning I had outside light on my setup. Once the Sun went down, there were many sources of light- each with different color temperature! But, live event painting is like a roller-coaster ride: once you are buckled-up and rolling, all you can do is have fun!
I enjoyed meeting my friends at ISES and many nice folks who stopped by to see me work. I wouldn’t say this was the easiest painting, but I think I have captured Sasha well- see the image above! This painting was presented to Sasha at the end of the event. She shared many kind words. I enjoyed listening to her while I was painting.
We have her latest book “Signature Sasha: Magnificent Weddings by Design”- I look forward to reading it!
This has been a good week for painting. Today I drove to Kinston for the Kinston CCA annual paint out. I did two paintings: 16×20 oil on linen and 13×19 watercolor on paper. I will be posting those later.
Tomorrow I will be in Wilmington to sign limited edition prints of my painting “Building Dreams”. This watercolor was selected for the 2010 Parade of Homes magazine cover. Check my blog later for more information on this painting.
As an artist, I enjoy painting all subjects: portraits, still life and landscape. However, I love painting from life the most. Both plein air painting and live wedding & event painting offer me the opportunity to do just that! I accept commissions and I travel!
This is a commissioned studio wedding painting of Jeffiny and Steve. I had done one of my first live event painting for Jeffiny! Jeffiny was organizing a fund-raiser for the NC Contemporaries group and had invited me to paint live for Derby Day silent auction. I recently did another live painting for NC Contemporaries.
Jeffiny and Steve had their wedding in California. Jeffiny keeps up with my art and photography on the Facebook. She liked my live wedding paintings. Since I could not paint live, a beautiful wedding painting was on her Christmas wish list! Steve wanted this to be a surprise for her. But, then he did what I do many times for my wife: he invited Jeffiny to participate in our meeting, to make sure that Jeffiny’s Christmas present will be perfect in every way!
When I paint on location, I work quickly to capture the moment. When painting in the studio I have more time to work on the drawing, composition, color scheme and details. I studied the album and digital images that Jeffiny had shared with me.
I created below two sketches for Jeffiny and Steve’s approval. They both liked the kiss sketch!
Jeffiny and Steve wanted the largest watercolor painting I could do, so I painted on a full sheet 22×30 Arches 140 lb cold press paper. Since the painting was taped down on a Gator board, the actual size is little less than 22×30. I prefer Watercolor blocks when I paint on location. The reason behind that is, I do not always know if I will use the Cold press, Hot press, Rough surface, 140 lb or 300 lb paper. Using blocks allows me to work quickly on the location. With studio paintings, I can tape down the paper of any size.
I started with the drawing. I used my sketches, album and digital images as my reference. I used washes of Raw Sienna to capture the warmth of the background and the light. I worked on this painting for several days, filling in details, glazing and refining. I used Winsor and Newton paints. The size of the painting required me to use larger brushes for the most part.
Below is the finished painting with Jeffiny and Steve. I thank them for the patronage!
If you are a bride or an event planner and looking for a unique keepsake for the special day, I would love to hear from you. I accept commissions for live and studio paintings. An original work of art makes a great gift!
First, let me introduce Kyle. I never got the opportunity to meet this young soul. All I know about him is from the people who love him. And there are so many! I asked his mom Karen Byrd to share Kyle’s story. It brought tears to my eyes:
“I would love to tell you about Kyle — he was a great kid! Kyle was such a good baby; happy and fun and absolutely adorable. As a toddler and little boy, he was so full of energy — he kept us on our toes ALL THE TIME! That part never changed . . . Kyle was always what I like to call “outside the box.” He was never a bad kid, but he always kept me hopping. As a teenager, he was really smart. He never had to study or work very hard, but always made excellent grades; it just came easy to him. You just had to keep him focused so that he used his power and energy for good and not evil : ) He dabbled in about every sport at some time in his life — baseball, basketball, soccer, football, hockey . . . but his passions were wheels and music. Kyle could drive anything with wheels and he could almost instantly play any musical instrument that he picked up. When he was 2 years old, he couldn’t tell you the difference between a football and basketball or a horse and a cow, but he could drive a go cart with unbelievable skill and name all 40+ NASCAR drivers and sing the National Anthem . . . Kyle had a passion for people and for our community. His entire life, he volunteered along side Jimmy and I at Jaycee events and charity projects — he worked on projects, coached kids’ t-ball, worked with needy kids and so much more. Kyle also had a passion for the YMCA; he planned to be a YMCA counselor in high school. Kyle accepted Jesus in March of 2007 at a youth retreat at our church; and he dedicated his life to God at that time, becoming very active in our youth group and with the youth puppet team. Kyle adored his little sister and he looked after her, even though she drove him totally crazy. Kyle was also very popular. He was known by his friends as “The Byrdman.” He had a beautiful girlfriend, Julieann, who is still and will always be a part of our life. He was famous for his “neon hair” and his love of pink. He wore pink clothes and had a pink calculator, pink notebooks and a pink ipod. One of Kyle’s YMCA counselors said during Kyle’s funeral services “who else but Kyle could get this many ‘manly men’ to all wear pink” referring to all the men and teenagers in pink that day. The most defining trait of Kyle would have to be his sense of humor. He could have me so mad that I would be ready to ground him for life (or much worse) and then he would say something so totally off the wall that I would just bust out laughing…He’d do anything for a laugh. One time, he wanted a funny Halloween costume. That particular year, he was playing football and he had a football game that day; then he came home all sweaty from football and changed into his costume forHalloween . . . as a cheerleader. He was so “pretty” that we had people asking us about our “daughter” — people had no idea he was a boy; and he went out with his peers like that . . . no one could believe he had such guts, but for Kyle. . . anything for a laugh. Tesh, I miss him ever single second of every minute of every day . . . he was just a ray of sunshine, my waller monster, who loved to waller on me and hug me, unlike most teenagers, he was never embarrassed to hug and love me. This world is a better place because of his short time here and everyone who had the pleasure of knowing Kyle is blessed for the experience. Kyle James Byrd 1/6/93 – 6/23/07 Beloved son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin & friend . . . Blessed are the pure in heart for they will see God ~ Matthew 5:8″
Thank you Karen, for sharing this and for giving me the opportunity to paint Kyle.
I started Kyle’s portrait about a year ago. I was working from a digital photograph shared Karen. This was one of her favorite photos. It was taken at Kyle’s concert under indoor lighting. Kyle, being cool, had his shades on!
I wanted to do an oil portrait and wanted to do a direct painting. I could not finish my first painting while the initial stages were still wet. I decided not to paint over dried layer of paint.
So, I started a new one yesterday. And below you can see the stages of my progress. I started by painting free hand with neutral color. My plan was to follow John Howard Sanden’s system. However, since his system is for painting from life, I had to make changes as I went along. The main challenges which I faced were the quality of light in the photo and the fact that I could not see Kyle’s eyes. However, it was very rewarding doing this portrait and it was like spending time with Kyle, getting to know him.
One of the joys of being both a father and an artist is being able to draw and paint my son. Of course, he is active even when he is sleeping! So, I have to wait for the right moment to capture his precious childhood. I made quite a few sketches of him when he was a new baby. Mostly, becuase he slept a lot! I recently did this watercolor sketch when we were driving around to go to a pumpkin patch, and he had fallen alseep in his car seat. Of course, my wife was driving and I was in the backseat. I used a watercolor pen to do this sketch and it was quite fun! In the past, I have done his pencil, charcoal and even ballpoint pen sketches in the backseat of a moving car, but, this is my first watercolor sketch. I guess if I quit backseat driving, I will be able to paint more…