Category: People portraits

Blessed to Be A Blessing

I recently got a request to do a drawing of this gentleman who recently suddenly passed away. I learned that he loved his family dearly….and that he was recognized as a sharp dresser.  I wanted to capture that in this drawing. 

Requests for these ‘memorial’ type drawings have become a growing and important way that I am blessed to share my abilities.  Feeling grateful for the gift … and honored that I am trusted to share it with the others.💕

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The Only Photo She Had

A few weeks ago I was commissioned to do a drawing of a client’s mother who had recently passed (see post on this page). This same client contacted me again to draw a picture of her father. She had only one photo of him and in the photo his head is leaning to the side in a somewhat awkward position. I used a bit of artistic leeway because the photo had many shadows and darkened areas. She asked me to draw it with his head straightened. I wanted to reposition the head but also I wanted to complete a drawing that would be an heirloom for her family since this was the client’s only photo of her dad. 💛

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Twinning

I love drawing portraits. This was a fun drawing! TWINS🤗. Double cuteness.❣️❣️

I often thought of drawing twins so when asked to do these two I couldn’t resist. To do a facing forward AND a profile of the same face but different people…. true happiness for a portrait artist.😎. Boy, do I love drawing portraits…. did I say that already? ✌🏽49ECC020-2ECC-4128-BE35-710D3A7FE5BB

Fever

This was sort of a personal challenge to learn more about watercolor; as you know, graphite is my gig. I drew this about 4 yrs ago in graphite (see it on this page) but wanted to try it in WC. Faces seem to be the only thing I can draw halfway decently. I wasn’t so concerned about the likeness this time as I was practicing layers, backgrounds, brushes, lifting, working on canvas, and basically learning about watercolor. I think this little boy had a bad cold when my friend took the photo so I named it “Fever” 😎. It did not turn out like I imagined at all… and no lie, I surely struggled with it … but it was a fun practice session, I learned a lot, and you’ve gotta start somewhere, right? BIG PROPS to all the real painters in the world – painting portraits is NOT easy I’m finding out…. but Im just getting started. Stay tuned for the next one. ⭐️
“FEVER” 16×20 on canvas.

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Beginning & End

I take LOTS of photos during the drawing process to make sure I’m on target so I have to file photos constantly from my cell phone. I can see where I’m “off” more easily on a photo.
While filing away old photos I ran across one of my early WIP photos and also the final drawing. Wow! I still get amazed that I know how to do this. …and it’s so much fun. 😊 This was a good clear photo to start so it just flowed.

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Happy Mother’s Day

🌸HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!🌸 …. If you don’t have children, fret not, Neither do I ….so…. 🌺HAPPY LADIES DAY🌺 to you. 😊. You are a wonderful, unique, and distinct creation of God!

This is my grandmother. My mom found and sent a very old photo that was a bit torn and worn. I knew I would have to guess at some areas but I wanted to draw it as a gift to my mom. She was so surprised! 😌 The look on her face when she received it told me that I must have done a pretty decent job. She loved it. Honoring my grandmother and blessing my mom❤️.IMG_0627

How Deep the Father’s Love

I love photos that evoke emotion and thought. The photo used for this drawing made me think of rest, peace, calm, protection, security… so opposite of the ‘climate’ around us today.

While working on this sweet babe asleep on his father’s arm, the words to a song by Stuart Townend came to mind…

How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure.
That He should give His only Son,
And make a wretch His treasure. ❤

[Photo Credit: Katie Walls]

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Farewell President Obama

I thought I’d revisit this familiar face. The first real portrait I ever drew, 3 years ago, was from a photo of Obama back in the early days of the presidency. It’s always fun to compare old drawings to recent ones.

It’s so funny – people asked me, “Why’d you choose him to draw?”  When I did a recent drawing of Trump (see previous post)’ people asked me, “Why’d you draw him?”  Haha!  Can’t please everyone… ‘ain’t even trying to’.

Humanity … its beauty, love, sorrow, joy, and all things associated with life as we experience it; that is what I try to capture in my drawings… that is why I drew ‘him‘.

Peace and Love to you.💛

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CAUGHT!!

CAUGHT! Who’s bringing the fries!?! Ha!

Saw this photo of my cousin and thought, “Have I drawn fish yet?….Good for the portfolio.” 🐟🐟🐟. I’m on vacation so I’ve had time to sketch/practice all kinds of things. Hope you all aren’t weary of these drawings yet.😉

P.S. I’ve been fishing only once in my life; about 40 years ago. Caught one fish about the size of my hand. The End. 😏

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Trump & Hillary

So, I decided to make my little artistic contribution to the 2016 presidential election madness featuring the two most unpopular candidates ever (so I hear). Trump’s hair gave me fits. It looked so fake as I was drawing, but then I remembered that it looks fake in real life too 🤔 so I just quit working on it. 👀…. and … Hillary, well, she just ought to thank me for not drawing all of what I saw on her photo. (You’re welcome, girl) 😌.

Anyway, it’s all good (and needed) practice. 😎

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First Day Home

Every time I work on a mother/child drawing, I admit, for a fleeting few moments, I think about the fact that I never had children. Then, typically, my next thought is how each of these drawings is a new artistic creation, and so very satisfying to me. 🙂. I am thankful for the ability to draw for several reasons, but being able to express the tenderness of a parent/child on paper like this is near the top. I have done a few of these and each brings such joy to my heart. Hope you enjoy it as well. img_0253

All Faces Matter

All Faces Matter….to God and to me.

One of my best buddies (Hey Ann!) visited me last month and we rolled on over to IKEA to roam …. and eat. While we sat at a little table chatting and catching up I felt eyes on me. Sure enough, I turned around and directly behind me was ‘Baby Wan’! *happy heart*

I started speaking with his mom, we introduced ourselves, connected on FB and she allowed me to photograph him. Of course, I wanted to draw his sweet face. You all know by now that I love drawing faces….and the lives expressed through them…. Yep…All Faces Matter! 😉

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Simon of Cyrene

Happy Resurrection Day! This is the first time drawing faces from my mind rather than from a photo. I was given the opportunity to participate in an Easter Art Show, which had a theme of “Lifted Up”.  I had the idea of drawing Simon  a few months for another project but this theme fit perfectly. It was also an opportunity to determine if I could pursue creating drawings from my imagination.  I was pleased with this first attempt. I was also either very brave or I have an exaggerated idea of my actual skill level for entering a first attempt into an art show. However, my goal was to portray the emotion of the entire scene; I believe much of that came through in the final piece.

And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross. ~Matthew 27:31-32

Simon 3-25We know of Christ’s dreadful yet crucial journey to the Cross; however I was likewise captured by the man Simon from Cyrene. He was ‘compelled’ by government authorities to carry the Cross.

Imagine, being on the sideline of this historic event only to be singled out to support a man who had been beaten, maligned, and otherwise wronged and on his way to death.

What could Simon be thinking? This was the crux of the drawing. As an artist I created a mental scenario: Simon had travelled from North Africa to witness this event. Physically, he must have been a large man to be asked to carry the Cross, and he might have been of darker complexion living nearer to the equator.

What about spiritually? Did Simon believe in this Jesus of Nazareth as he was compelled? Was he a skeptic and not wanting to be seen with Jesus? Did he fear his own life, now associated with Jesus, was in danger? How did seeing the physical pain and demeanor of Jesus affect him? Was this a life changing experience for Simon?

These questions helped to formulate the facial expressions of the men in the artistic rendition. I wanted to show the fear, doubt, strength and possible ultimate transformation of Simon. Some commentaries say that Simon later went on to become a follower of Christ. Did this one act of being compelled to carry the Cross forever change Simon? Did he see his own pain, his own eternal loss in the face of Jesus as they moved toward Golgotha?

‘Granpa’

One of the reasons I enjoy drawing portraits is because each face holds ‘history’ and tells a story; some a short history and some a very long and honorable history, like the face of 94 year old Granpa, a World War II Veteran. I initially wanted to write a detailed blog story about Granpa’s life/history to post with this drawing but then I realized there was so much to say … and he really deserved more than a quick mention hear So, I decided to just post the drawing.  Hopefully you can feel the history of Grandpa’s life through the texture, lines, lighting, shading and composition of the drawing.image

More Siblings…More Fun!

This drawing was created from two separate photos. This isn’t always the easiest thing for me to do… positioning/direction can be challenging. However, I think I worked it out so they look as if these siblings were actually photographed together. This was a Christmas commission. Enjoy!

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Coloring My World

After a couple years of drawing only in graphite I decided to venture into  the world of color…via color pencil. I chose to use a photo I had previously done in graphite but this time my goal was not so much the likeness, although important, but the selection of colors to use (I used way more than I thought I would, the pencil strokes (linear or circular), pencil pressure used, the tooth on the paper, blending techniques, and overall just how to get the colors and final effect I envisioned is what I focused on.

I initially thought a lot about blending techniques; getting that smooth texture I could achieve with graphite.  I started to blend a bit at first but I soon realized that I sort of liked the roughness and texture acheieved with the strokes on the coarse paper I was using without doing much blending.  Afterall, my goal was not to achieve a photo-perfect replication (a camera can do that) but to create a piece of art that represented my style (which I am currently in search of…😉)

I learned a lot using color and can easily see I need a lot more practice. I can see many things I would do differently and could have changed here but decided to let this first attempt at color be a foundation to grow on.

Final assessment… It was fun and I will continue to explore working with color pencil  👍🏽

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New Levels

When I received the reference photo of this little girl I was intrigued because she looked so ethereal …. and so difficult to draw, but the challenge is one of the reasons I like to draw. This one up’d my game too….while working on it I, for the first time, felt I wanted to try my hand with color pencil (stay tuned). My motto: You’re never too old to learn something new. 😌.

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Go ahead, try not to SMILE…

Freckles, lollipops, and tie-dye t-shirts: How could I resist adding this drawing to my portfolio?

Although I now have a couple years of portfolio drawing under my belt, I still do not have a descriptive, or full, personal portfolio because, surprisingly, much of my work has been commissioned requests. So when I see a photo posted online that gives me the itch to grab my pencils, I am quick to contact the owner (person who posted it), and save a copy of it to my “Gotta Draw This” folder.  The photo I saw online was one of those photos. Besides bringing thoughts of summer, fun, youth, joy, laughter, ice cream, lollipops, and all things happy, the photo was in addition very professional-looking, crisp, and close-up showing a lot of details; a dream photo for me to use.

So, go ahead… try not to smile…

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A Heart for Orphans

The biggest blessing for me in drawing portraits is that each one feels like I have partnered with the Creator of the universe and he allowed me to enjoy a small taste of his creative power through my little pencils.

Well, this child stole my heart right from my initial sketch onto the paper. His face was sort of what I imagined a child of mine whould have looked like. 😊. Tom is an orphan in Zimbabwe. My longtime friend, Marsha C. is involved in missions ministry at her church and she told me of this little boy. He is about 3 years old now but was younger in the photo I used. I am told that he is a happy little guy. I could tell in the photo I had that he was likely a bundle of joy…and energy!

I’ve had a big heart for orphans. A goal I have for my drawings is to somehow turn them into a way to raise money for orphanages and the children living in them. So far, I haven’t been able to formulate the best way to do that but I trust this will come to fruition some day soon. Maybe by simply putting this desire out there in this blog can help get the wheels turning in some way.

If you think of this drawing of Tom, say a little prayer for him, that in spite of his beginnings that he grows up to be all that God has purposed for his life. 💛

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Casting Your Cares

I’ve been wanting to draw a daddy/daughter portrait for some time. I love drawing moms/grandmoms with their babes so I wanted to do one of a new daddy too. Dad’s are an important part of the equation. When I was commissioned to draw this, I couldn’t wait to get started. As I was drawing, I was constantly reminded of how we can rest in our Heavenly Father’s arms.  Psalm 55:22 says “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved (or he will never allow the righteous to be shaken).”

I saw in this drawing a picture of a daddy who was preparing his daughter to know the rest and peace of being dependent on an Almighty God!  image

The Ones Far Away

As you can probably tell by now, some of my favorite subjects to draw are those showing relationship; grandmother/mother child, siblings, working on a daddy-daughter drawing. I love the challenge of reflecting the intimacy of a photo using a simple pencil. So glad the customer liked it as much as I enjoyed drawing it.

This customer’s first grandchild lives hundreds of miles away. The photo was taken when this first-time grandma was leaving to return home after the visiting the babe for the first time. I could instantly see the tenderness and the longing the grandma would feel as she would have to leave the babe until the next visit. She said, “That was my goodbye kiss for her when I left for home right after she was born.”  I can only imagine how she felt. This feeling is what I wanted to capture.

… But that HAIR!

A ‘seasoned’artist once told me that drawing a subject’s hair will often take longer than drawing the the face. In the beginning I really shyed away from drawing subjects who had a lot of hair. Scroll through the photos of my drawings and you will see, Obama, Meryl, Bill O’Reilly, all  had no to short hair. 😉  i eventually faced my fears and gradually hair was not so intimidating.

This drawing was a new challenge… long wavy hair.  It was fun to draw  and it helped to bring this adorable face to life on paper. image

Mother’s Day: Legacies and Milestones

I was out purchasing art supplies a few weeks ago and when I cashed out the young girl handed me a flyer and said, “We are having a Mother’s Day Art Show. Here’s how you can enter.”  I took the flyer but didn’t think much of it.  I still consider myself to be a newbie so to enter an art show seemed sorely premature. However, on the drive home, I strongly started to consider entering the show. In my mind, I thought it would be a great way to get over the ‘first art show’ jitters, after all, the show was at a local art store, not at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Right?

OK, that relieved me a bit.  So, then I remembered a picture I saw on Facebook that I’d seen months early and at the time thought I’d like to draw it one day.  I mostly remembered the tenderness I saw between the two subjects (a grandmother and first grandchild) and wanted to try to portray that on paper with graphite.

I contacted the the friend who posted the photo.  I explained how I wanted to draw the photo and enter it into the art show. She gave permission so I started drawing.  Last week I entered the drawing into the art show and on May 9th there will be a reception and prizes.

Honestly, the reception and prizes part is not my primary reason for submitting. I just wanted to have this ‘step’, this milestone, behind me. I can now say I have entered an art show having works submitted from multiple artists around the city. :).  Don’t get me wrong, if I happen to win a prize that would be terrific … and a great motivator to continue improving my skill and blessing as many people as possible.

This is my legacy.  I’ve never had the opportunity to be a mom. As I’ve gotten older I began to wonder what legacy I could leave.  Over the past two years, I’ve discovered that each of my drawings, in the many homes they now in, both in the States and overseas, will be a perfect legacy.  Each of my drawings carries within each stroke a piece of me.

So here is the piece that I submitted. It is called ‘Grand Love‘.

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Steve and Annie Chapman

So, what do you get for the person who has everything? Well, if you are a portrait artist – problem solved. . Chances are, every gift I every give from now on might be a drawing. Ha!

A few years ago I met one of the most wonderful, Godly couples I’ve ever known and through them I have met a whole new family of people who are near and dear to my heart. I have the fondest of memories of hanging out with them and their family/friends over the past decade. Steve and Annie Chapman (www.steveandanniechapman.com) have ministered throughout the country for the past 30 years blessing families and sharing the Gospel through their music, books, and lives.

A few weeks ago I attended their 40th wedding anniversary and, of course, they received a drawing. I actually drew a pair of portraits: ‘Then and Now’. The only challenge was the limited time in which I had to draw it. They were quite happy with the results.

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Who is Kitchen?

Last year I met a new artist friend, Kim Napier, in Nashville and over lunch we talked about painting, drawing, art supplies, the discovery and journey of it all … all the things that tickle my insides. During our conversation she told me the story of a man named Kitchen who she met while he was relocated to Tennessee during Hurricane Katrina.  The story was compelling and unforgettable. She had completed a beautiful oil painting of him and she graciously asked me to try my hand at drawing his portrait in graphite from a photo she had taken of him while he was relocated to Tennessee facility in Franklin. Well, I finally gave it a try… a first for drawing dreads and grey hair… not bad for a first attempt. 😉2015-02-26 19.41.28 I realized during the process,  that I thrive on drawing ‘feelings and emotions’ in addition to eyes, noses, ears, teeth, etc.  I am in constant search of how the feeling of the portrait is reflected on paper. This is exactly what happened with Kitchen’s portrait.  As I completed the drawing, I felt like Kitchen and I were old friends.  I want to know more about him, where he is, and what he’s doing … make sure he is doing OK. You know?

Rather than me telling you Kitchen’s story, I asked my friend Kim to allow me to post an excerpt from her personal notes about her time with Kitchen. Keep reading, I promise you will be blessed!

An excerpt from Kim Napier:

This is ‘Kitchen’ who arrived in Franklin, TN with many others who were displaced by Katrina in 2005.

His given name is Hillary Preston; a Vietnam veteran who never quite recovered from the annihilation of war. Besides his Bohemian appearance, he quit speaking, which provoked even more fear as he roamed the streets of home State of Louisiana. Towns-people were wary of him and children ran away when they saw him coming. His countenance was powerful.

On arrival at the TN facility [after the storm], one of those children who once feared him in Louisiana, now a thirty-something year old young man, spotted him. He called Kitchen’s family who were also dispersed throughout the South East. “You’ll never guess who is here!”

Kitchen had once saved this young man’s life by yanking him out of a truck’s path many years ago. The young man was now determined to be Kitchen’s unrelenting servant. When his ‘savior’ finished a cup, he poured another, he bought and lit cigarettes and showered such servitude that Kitchen’s silence was finally shattered one day with a simple,

“Why you so good to me?”

The young man reeled with amazement that Kitchen could speak. When he recovered, he retold the truck story, which Kitchen neither remembered nor believed.

~Kim Napier (www.kimnapier.com)
[Edited with permission from author]

Siblings

Each time I complete a portrait I envision it becoming a family heirloom for the customer … and a part of my personal legacy. Lofty goals and expectations, I know, but it is hard not to think like this because each drawing contains a little piece of me. :). Meet the siblings.

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Most Prized Possession

I don’t typically give my drawings a name but as I was working on this one, the expression on the grandparents’ faces (as they held their daughter’s first child) looked as if they were holding a most prized possession. I loved drawing the older subjects along with the fresh face of the baby. This drawing pushed and tested my skills. It was a study in a lot of things … but I like a good challenge.

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Wonderment!

Wonderment!… That is what I saw I this child’s eyes. Think about it…at 1 or 2 years old nearly everything you see or do each day is NEW, an adventure… a first time doing it or seeing it. The photo of this child expressed that wonderment perfectly. In this photo, he had placed both legs into one leg of a pair of camouflage pants and was thinking about how to resolve the problem. 😊  I love drawing pictures that might in the future bring joyful memories. image

Bigger Paper Needed… Please!

Five cousins! I love the individual expressions of each child. I like using photos like these because they tell a story that I think will evoke memories years later. My challenge was to bring each child’s expression to life on paper using graphite…. A fun and delightful challenge for me. (Paper size 18×24)

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A Heavenly Commission

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by a young lady who asked me to do a very special drawing. She explained that her son was born two years ago, and he lived for 28 days; he never came home from the hospital.  She asked if I could do a drawing of him without his tubes and bandages. Well, my first thought was, “I’ve never done that but I could certainly try… and she will never have another photo of her baby, so I must try.”  I draw strictly from photos, not from my ‘mind’ (I’m not that skilled yet). She sent a few photos she had taken when the baby was in the hospital… and, yes, I was unsure when I saw the photos. His little face, with the tubes and bandages, told of his struggle to live.  I doubted my ability to do it but I asked God to show me this baby’s face without tubes and bandages, and healthy; the way he might have looked as he was ushered into the arms of the Lord.

As I started to draw, the neatest thing started to happen. My physical eyes studied the photo (as usual), however, my mind’s eye started to see a healthy baby with no bandages or anything. As I continued to draw I was excited  to see how his face came to life for me, I even heard God whisper to me about what I needed to do to portray the child’s little face and body. It was definitely a new challenge and a different kind of experience for me.Nate 2When I completed it, I was silenced by the results. Not that it is a perfect, artistically-skilled, and technically astounding drawing, but I felt I had totally succeeded in rendering an accurate likeness… only because God guided/showed me. Most of all I felt God approved and was pleased, and that HE had commissioned me to do this particular drawing.

Another Cutie Pie Alert!

Typically, when I draw a face, it is either because I was commissioned or because there is something about the face that makes me say, “I need to practice that.”… a sort of self-study. However, I drew this little fella for one reason…. The cuteness factor was off the scale!  So much style and personality in the photo. It was begging to be sketched!

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Wayne Rooney

I think of myself as a portrait artist, focusing primarily on head/shoulder drawings but I recently completed what I consider to be an action/sports drawing. I love a new challenge and the customer was happy! I think I just expanded my ‘repertoire’.Image

Mother and Baby

I was asked to draw one of my favorite types of portraits (Mother and Child), for a first time mom as of one month ago. It was also a first for me in that the photo had much detail, which could tend to look extremely murky, in my opinion, when using graphite. In the end, the recipient was happy, so, I was too.

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Sisters!

As a budding artist, I am intrigued by new drawing challenges. I draw portraits from photos provided by customers and sometimes photos may not be the best quality. When I see a photo that has a lot of shadows, is fuzzy, or is otherwise not the best quality I think to myself, “I wonder if I can draw that and correct it in the process?”  If it is too blurry, I don’t even try but because I can only draw what I can see, and getting a final drawing that looks like the subject can be done ONLY if I can see the photo details. I could just lighten the photo on the computer but sometimes lightening a photo causes details to vanish. I like the details.

I did this drawing from a photo that was clear but it was a bit dark and had a lot of shadows. The younger girl was also wearing a shirt that was probably dark blue in reality but looked black in the photo. I don’t like drawing black clothes in graphite because it sometimes becomes too overpowering in the final drawing. I learned that the hard way.

I worked to lighten the overall drawing, practice drawing shadows, and adding depth. This is what I ended up with. It turned out better than I thought it would. I was pleased with the final drawing.

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Tripp Halstead

Those who live in Georgia have surely heard of Tripp Halstead (www.facebook.com/tripphalsteadupdates), the 2-year old little boy who suffered head injuries when while playing in the yard of his daycare a tree that had been weakened during Hurricane Sandy in 2012 lost a limb that fell on him. It is an incredible story and God has really worked a number of miracles for him and his family. Their journey is still being chronicled on the link above.

I was perusing their Facebook page one day and saw the sweetest photo of him and his mom … A perfect new drawing challenge. You will have to see the original photo on their site as I haven’t gotten permission to use it on my site. The finished drawing turned out okay. I was pleased with it at the time. Drawing it made me think at some point I’d like to do a ‘Mother and Child’ series.

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The ‘First Face’

This is my very first drawing.  I dubbed it: ‘OBAMA – The First Face’. 🙂

The choice reflects no political affiliation but simply what was chosen for me as a first project in March 2013. I post it not because I think it is all that great but because it reminds me how just a few months before I realized I could do this, I was beginning to feel burned out in life and like I had done all I was ever going to do (I’ve done a LOT of things but middle age has a way of making one feel like that).

This drawing changed things. Technically, I look at it now nine months later, and think, ‘Wow, that’s pretty bad – I could do so much better now.’ I know exactly what to do to make it look so much better, but I choose not to modify it because it signifies a turning point in my life and because I need to always remember where I started.

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