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What I'm Working On Wednesday: "Betty: As I Am"

Earlier this year, I completed a painting of my client's two cats, Grady & Jynx. It was a fun little painting where we decided to "posterize" it as opposed to doing blended realism. I was pretty happy with how it turned out. My client enjoyed it so much that he contacted me to discuss another commission.

He sent me photos of his mom and we chose the one that would be best suited for a charcoal drawing. Drawing a portrait is very personal. Every detail is scrutinized in a way that doesn't typically happen in day-to-day life. When I draw someone, I feel like I get to know them. I read their expression to discover what's going on behind it. The more I know about my subject, the better I'll be able to depict her accurately.

Without prompting from me, my client shared this information:

"This picture is of my Mom when she was 19. She had taken a number of snapshots someplace, and this was one of them. On the back of one she wrote "As  I Am, 11/15/1939". She had a wonderful spirit - loving, caring, but also witty and clever. She raised my brother and me by herself from 1958, when I was 4 and my brother 9. She and my dad divorced that year and she never re-married. She passed away in 2016 at the age of 96. She is the greatest person I've every known! Just a little back story that I thought you might like to know as you draw her."

It's so great when the title is giftwrapped like this. I feel honored to have gotten to know her.

This is a 16"x20" charcoal drawing on toned paper. It was completed on July 19, 2018.

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