Posts Tagged ‘portrait’

family portraits

after a white-chocolate-chip-and-raspberry-gluten-free-pancake breakfast a couple sundays ago, N was lured outside by the sight of her easel. still in her pjs, she requested paint (tempera) and a jacket (summer mornings are chilly in the bay area.) she got down to the business of being the artist she is.

the day before, i had the pleasure of a mom’s day out in san francisco, where three friends and i visited the SFMOMA gertrude stein exhibit and treated ourselves to lunch at cafe gratitude and crazy flavored ice creams at humphry slocombe. mmm… i digress (as ice cream makes me do.) while at the museum, i picked up a matisse post card to bring back to N since she couldn’t be with me that day. (i’ll be bringing her back to the exhibit this summer, for sure! she’d love all the matisse, picasso, cézanne, etc.)

postcard i got for N: henri matisse, femme au chapeau, 1905; oil on canvas. image from wikipedia

N said she was “so inspired by the postcard of the lady” so she wanted to paint portraits “with weird colors, like matisse did.” she asked me to be her first model. i had to sit still on a chair in our backyard while she painted me, with “weird colors.”

notice the matisse in the lower right corner

next, my pj-clad husband was asked to sit for his portrait. and he (and his coffee) happily obliged.

i love how focused she was when painting these pieces…

next, the artist asked to be the model – and she wanted me to paint her portrait. whenever i make art alongside my daughter, i do so in her “artistic handwriting,” so to speak, as a way of communicating that i am witnessing and supporting her. this also gently thwarts a child’s natural tendency to compare. (to read more on these ideas, visit a blog i wrote on how to talk to your children about art.)

after these, N made quick portraits of both of our cats, who were watching from inside the screen door. we hung these to dry on our clothesline art-drying line in the play shed, while N admired her work.

this master-in-the-making was quite proud of this exhibit!



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life drawing with a model

sure, N draws people every single day. she also draws things she sees, but for some reason, she has yet to have a model sit for her and draw the person she sees, until now.

life drawing class in our kitchen

my mom (who N calls “gwee”) has been in town visiting. gwee offered to sit for her portrait to be drawn the other day while i was making dinner for the family.

N had a great time, and would not let the model see her picture until it was finished. (but mommy was allowed to see it and take pictures! yay!)  she drew the face and added realistic parts that i’ve not seen her do before when she draws from her imagination… like eyelids.

she decided to add a body and dress from her imagination. she wanted to color it with a “rainbow theme.” N said the one green eye (realistic) and one magenta eye (not realistic) were to keep it with her rainbow theme.

my mom said she’d take the portrait home and frame it for her house.

N is so honored!



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custom doodled apparel

if you’re a regular of this blog, you know that my daughter, N, is an avid magna-doodler. for real – she spends 45-120 minutes a day on that thing. she wears them out (really, the pen tips get scratchy.) we’re on our 5th or 6th (?) one in 2 years.

the time she spends magna-doodling is no joke… so we are turning these little masterpieces into gifts! for example, you may have seen the cool custom mug we made for father’s day from a magna-doodle image.


well, my mom and stepdad are celebrating their 20 year anniversary tomorrow (whoo hoo!) N calls my mom “gwee” and my stepdad “big daddy.” for their 20 year, we made them little anniversary hats. (and, of course, a handmade card.)

it’s easy to do this — i just took a digital photo of a magna-doodle image she drew a while back of “gwee and big daddy dancing.” i always take pics of these, for posterity’s sake. they’re so temporary and i’m not a good buddhist about such things.

the original

then i traced over her lines in pixelmator (my free version of a photoshoppy product) in order to make them less grainy. the magna-doodle has those weird cells in it that don’t translate well, so this would be better done with an actual paper and marker drawing, but i had to use what we had.

i saved that image and put it on a product of choice on — hats. they are boaters and tennis players, so albeit cheesy, i know they will actually wear these.

happily, N is doing a lot more doodling on actual paper, so the drawings aren’t as temporary as they were on the magna-doodle. in the future, i can skip the tracing step – yay!  happy 20 years, gwee & big daddy!

and seriously, if this keeps up, everyone we know will likely get a doodled tshirt or pair of boxers for the holidays this year. oh, and while you’re making cool artsy gifts on their site (no, i don’t get paid for this endorsement of cafepress or for anything else) hop over to the paintcutpaste shop on cafepress and show us some love… spread the word: you know you want a smock, tote, or sigg bottle!


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happy dad’s day!

we’ve been having fun preparing for father’s day over here…N made some papa portrait cards for her dad and grandfathers.

here are her portraits. (yep, she essentially has 4 grandfathers. modern families.)

we also turned a really cool magnadoodle image of hers…

(child's name covered for privacy)

into a great travel coffee mug for her dad on! (i love this idea of using your child’s art on everyday products. sure beats logos and advertising for other companies!)

(child's name covered for privacy)

N painted a wooden picture frame for her dad at preschool a couple of weeks ago, complete with a photo taken by her teacher.


we added the frame and the mug to a gift basket with lots of his favorite goodies.

one of N’s traditions is to make mom’s day and dad’s day signs… last year in 2009, her sign looked like this:

but this year, she was able to write and illustrate her own sign – hooray!


happy father’s day to all the dads, granddads, godfathers, uncles, and all of the amazing men who love & support our children!


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crayon resist reprise

we’ve done this blog before… a wax resist lesson with crayons and watercolors… but this time N reeeally got the idea and had a ton of fun doing so.

it helped her to have a concept like “things that are in the sky” to draw, and then to paint a blue sky around that. N chose to draw a tree and a sunshine with crayon, and then paint the sky blue.

other ideas could be to have your child draw “things in the grass” like flowers and bugs, etc, and paint the grass around it. or “things in the ocean” and paint the water around it, etc. you get the idea. i realized that this sort of directive helps to make this art task come to life.

then we moved onto some other mixed-media crayon/watercolor pieces…

N: "this is julie, and she has the sun on her face so it's yellow"


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