Watercolor Portrait of Mother and Child

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Watercolor Portrait from a Moment Captured with a Cell Phone

I painted a watercolor from a photo snapped over a decade ago, while visiting MKH and baby E in Anchorage, Alaska.

Baby E was getting a little cuddle time to ease the bother of teething.  

I’ve always loved painting from family photos – recent ones, as well as very old, vintage daguerreotypes of relatives I’ve only heard stories about. Have you tried that with your art?

a figurative watercolor painting in a moleskine sketchpad
Figurative Watercolor sketches from photos taken in the 1980’s.

Flip Through Your Family Photos

Old family photo albums are full of familiar, inherited features, bone structure, carriage and gestures – a lovely trickle of recognition in  genetics.

I think the artist’s scrutiny to “know” the reference image you’re trying to draw or paint is already innate when the subject is a family member, so there’s just a little more mental air around the process to make art from the photos.

Thanks for stopping by today, and I’ll see you in the next post!


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Mother and child portrait in watercolor
Tea & Biscuits 10×7 Watercolor on paper

Art Quote

As the camera became evermore accepted as a method of documenting people, places and event, artists felt increasingly free to explore depths of experience that the camera could not.  In The Bellilli Family (oil, 79″ x 99″), for example, Edgar Degas (1834-1917) created one of the first truly psychological portraits.  The father nearly disappears into the furniture and fireplace at right, his back to us, and he is separated from his companions. The daughter at right conveys some allegiance to him and perhaps even a bit of his personality in her more casual body language, yet the wife (Degas’ Aunt) is ready to pull her back. (Notice her hand just above the girl’s shoulder.) The other daughter is a carbon copy of her mother in costume and stance, and in the opaqueness of her thoughts. More than offering likeness, Degas arranged these individuals in a composition that reveals the complex dynamics of the family.

19th Century Realism – by Tina Tamara
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