Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Portrait of a Little Lady

Enzie Shamiri Portraits and Fine ArtHere's something that's been fun that I've been waiting until the right moment to share. Enzie Shamiri is a portrait painter and a couple months ago she approached me about painting my portrait. The thought scared me silly--the very idea of having to stare at my face up on the wall was a terrifying thought but right after that first flash of fear passed I got pretty excited about the possibility of having a portrait of one of my children painted.

Do people even get portraits painted anymore? What a romantic, thrilling concept--and I got giggly just thinking about it.

The hard part is that Ms. Shamiri of course prefers to work from a live subject rather than a photo but since Andrew wouldn't let me send any of the kids to stay with her for several months while the portrait was being painted (very tempting . . . especially David right now, he's is this phase) I had to send her photographs instead.

I sent her some of my favorite photos to choose from--candid shots of the kids outdoors, indoors and in all kinds of poses. She graciously responded saying that yes, my children were of course darn cute but that the snapshots weren't quite what she was looking for, could I please send some more? I sent the second string photos, trying carefully to select the best pictures I could but still I didn't get it right.

It wasn't until she sat me down and explained what she was looking for that I understood better.

No teeth. Smiling is great but pictures showing a person's teeth don't work for portraits because all one sees in the finished painting is a line of pearly whites. No teeth.

Easy enough right? But then she mentioned colorful shadows--the photographs had to have good color and skin tone and good shadows as well.

Then there was the issue of hands. No photos where hands or feet were cut out of the frame because hands and feet are so hard to properly reproduce that the artist doesn't want to have to guess at what they're painting.

So given these new guidelines I combed through my albums looking for suitable pictures but it was hard coming up with the right shot. As luck would have it we were scheduled to get our family photo taken and after the sitting I sent her the proofs to see if anything there looked better.
Enzie Shamiri Portraits and Fine ArtSure enough, the pros succeeded where I had failed and this photo you see at left made her happy. She took it (since we were given permission by the photographer) and she Photoshopped it to focus on Lillian then produced a background and foreground ready for my approval. The result is the photo you see at the top.

Now comes the actual painting part and it will take some time but the fun thing is that I can follow the progress of the painting at Ms. Shamiri's blog World Market Portraits. Each of her portraits gets a play-by-play there so you can see each step in the process, even Lillian's.

What a fun Mother's Day present! You might think this is an outrageously expensive thing to have done but really, her prices are pretty reasonable--considering what a professional photographer will charge--and start at $500. Watching the painting's progress is nearly as fun as picking out a place for it on my wall--I'll post later about the finished product, I'm sure it will become a family heirloom.

***

Congratulations to Jessica of Houma, Louisiana who has won herself a Magic Bullet Platinum Pro in this week's giveaway. May she blend well and prosper. Don't despair if your name wasn't drawn because there's more every Saturday--next week could be your lucky week!

Technorati tags: painting,

34 comments:

Robin said...

How fun to be able to watch the progress of an heirloom in the making.

Kristen M. said...

I read your post this morning and minutes later when I clicked on the Apartment Therapy blog what should I recognize but this lovely wallpaper in a certain candy store in San Francisco? Funny coincidence. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/la/weekend-getaways-destinations/weekend-roadtrip-inspiration-and-finds-la-to-sf-and-back-049939

imadramamama said...

You will post a picture of the painting, yes? I can't wait to see it!!

Richelle said...

What a fun thing to do! I love that you can watch the work in progress. That really will be an heirloom!

Heather said...

How cool!

My Ice Cream Diary said...

I love the background and objects she picked to surround Lillian with. I'm not good at picking colors and she found somet hat make Lillian look her best. I love her rosey cheeks.

Letters Received said...

Cute, very cute!

Killlashandra said...

Painting a portrait really is a wonderful and romantic idea. I've never heard of anyone actually doing one though. It's one of those wonderful ideas that you only read about. How exciting for you!

nottryingforaboy said...

Wow. I just spent some time on her sales website. Her work is amazing. You're right though, it is expensive. Can't justify it right now, but maybe one day.

Mindy said...

Did you try to make the background and foreground look like an actual place? Seems like some fun possibilities for that.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Now that is very very cool.

Steph

Flea said...

Your daughters are beautiful!

My mom does colored pencil portraits, so I understand the difficulty in getting just the right picture. Looks like your portrait artist does nice work. :)

Janet said...

That's wonderful. I've always wanted my portrait painted because the painter could make it look better than real life.

Deb - Mom of 3 Girls said...

What a beautiful photo and how wonderful that it's going to turn into a painting! I love that you can watch the progress as it comes along. :)

The Source said...

Can't wait to see the final result. And the process will be interesting to watch! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Lei said...

You know, I've always thought it would be fun to have a painting of me playing my violin or viola... but have never found somebody to do it. And I thouhgt of doing it myself, but portraits just aren't my artistic forte. I hope it turns out the way you like it! Sounds really fun and I can tell you're excited about it!

Rosezilla said...

My friend wanted a portrait of her daughters, so I wrote her one! It turned out pretty well for a word portrait, but we all know a picture is worth a thousand words, right? That's really cool that you're actually doing it. The word portrait is on my blog, if you want to see it.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

What a lovely long-lasting idea. My elder daughter once had a sketch made at a carnival, but that's about it. Hope the portrait turns out to be as good as the photo, if not better.

chris said...

I just don't know how people did it back then when they have to sit through a portriat session.

Man, this is a very cool idea, this would be a really nice gift.

MiaKatia said...

I agree there is something so romantic about a painted portrait. I love this idea and will for sure add it to the wish list I always have going for my hubby ;)

Loralee Choate said...

I love the way that portrait is going to turn out.

And?

I would love to have a gigantic painting of myself. I would probably hang it in the bathroom. ;)

Rittenhouse said...

As a portrait artist I find that her requirements for the painting seem odd. I don't minde the hands or pearly whites. I actually ask parents to just find images that really reflect the child's personality. I also have noticed that if they eyes are rendered correctly and best, other flaws are overlooked. I would be interested to see the final product.

thesparklingthoughts.... said...

Hi very nice to read ur post. Thnx for shearing.

Mr. & Mrs. R said...

I have to agreee that the idea of having a portrait painted is simply charming! I will follow the progress on the artists blog. I can't wait to see the final product!

jubilee said...

" . . . blend well and prosper" -- ha! You crack me up!

MRMacrum said...

My old school family followed generations of tradition and we all sat for individual portraits when I was about 5 years old. Maybe 6 or 7. All I remember is the pain of actually keeping my 6 year old butt still for what seemed like an eternity. And doing it while clothed in the hated "Sunday go to meeting" duds.

The paintings are somewhere in the family now. I am not sure which of my brothers snagged them.

All Rileyed Up said...

My family and I just ordered a family portrait. They also took the photographs, so they made sure there were few smiles, good shadows, all that business... it's going to take four months to get the finished product, but we're excited to see the outcome.

HouseMouse said...

I have a cute family portrait story! My brother & sister in law commissioned a family oil portrait a few years back of them and their four children, aged 2 up to 8, three girls and a boy and all cute as bugs. It was insanely expensive and looked like it could hang at the Louvre!

Then, five years later, they discovered that their family wasn't quite complete!! Now there are two more little girls hanging individually to the left and right of the portrait. :) So I think you made a good call having ONE family member immortalized!

Enzie Shahmiri said...

Dear Michelle!

Thank you for sharing the portrait process with your readers. I am enjoy reading the comments and little anecdotes.

The drawing stage is finished and has been posted on the
World Market Portraits blog.

Laurie said...

Wow, Houma is a small town in Louisiana. I just discovered your blog. I am originally from Houma. I am sooooo jealous of Jessica.

Laurie said...

Oops,, I forget to say I am from Houma, too. Now I live in New Orleans and sometimes in Honduras.

MileHighMommy said...

That is one of the coolest things I've seen in a while! I love the background and candy elements she added. I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to be peeking in on her painting progress too. What a novel idea ~ watching a painting progress! I don't know, maybe it only appeals to the artsy folks, but I find it fascinating!!!

Bama Girl in AZ said...

Being that I am from the great US State of Alabama in the glorious South we of course have paintings made of our children. My daughter is 4 and has had 2 paintings done already. Your daughter looks lovely in the painint my only concern--her outfit does not match the floral background chosen. Perhaps she can mute the colors of her dress to a solid soft pink? The just look like they are from 2 differnt eras the plaid vs. the floral wallpaperesque background.

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I had no idea about all of those concerns. That is really interesting. Yours girls look so much alike. They're lovely, Michelle, really lovely.