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This blog is hosted by Hanne Lore Koehler, artist, author, illustrator. I will try to post a new article every day, including new work, painting tips, art news. Hope you will join me and leave a comment!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ACTION PORTRAITS OF CHILDREN



It can be uncomfortable for children to pose for a portrait. The painting usually turns out to look unnatural and contrived. Try to capture them engaged in a favorite sport or pasttime. Informal action portraits of children playing in their own natural environment make pleasing compositions.


Contemporary portraiture, like today's lifestyle, is becoming less formal and rigid now that a subject can easily be captured in a natural unpretentious composition with the aid of photography.

Formal portraits of the past were generally rigid, sterile poses for the simple reason that a person would have to sit in one position for hours in order for the artist to capture the nuances of his subject. Today's formal photographic portraits are still based on our perceptions of those formal oil paintings.

Just as life and technology have evolved over the past century, I believe that portrait art should also evolve, reflecting today's lifestyle and using today's technology. In my opinion, the artist with vision is the one who uses modern technology to his advantage. With the marvelous invention of the camera, it is no longer necessary for artists to expect their subjects to sit still for long, exhausting periods of time posing for a formal, rigid, unrealistic portrait. With the aid of modern technology, today's artist can paint action-packed detailed images from photographs to produce contemporary realistic and informal portraits. A child's portrait is more likely to evoke happy memories if the subject is engaged in a favorite activity in natural surroundings.

To be clear, I only use photographs as reference material for my original paintings, often producing detailed pencil drawings on the canvas before I paint. My portraits are hand-painted original paintings done by looking at a photograph of the subject as if the subject were sitting in my studio. They are NOT painted overtop of a mechanically reproduced photograph like a paint-by-number picture.
 
Inquire about a hand painted portrait for your family. See action portraits used in children's book illustrations.