Archive for February, 2010

Cecily #2

CecilySome people are computer savvy, others are not. I definitely fall among the latter. My friend Jan, who is an amazing photographer and has three gorgeous children, sent me a link to her Flickr account which has hundreds of great photos that she had taken. As I scrolled through them I saved dozens onto my computer and was feeling very excited about drawing every one of them… until I tried to print them and found that I could not open any of the files that I had saved. So, not being able to use the photos that I tried to save, I attempted to get them by a different route and used Easy Capture to save the images. Thus, I saved an amazing photo of Cecily at the Rodin Museum in Paris… perfect lighting, perfect 3/4 profile… and a complete pixellated blur once I printed it out. Oh well, I was determined to draw something today. Cordelia bounced on the couch with me for a while while I struggled through this drawing, and finally Roman took her for a walk. Once the couch was still, I could finally capture Cecily somewhat, and once her face emerged from the paper, I called it quits. Once I have a better print of this photo, I will really finish it. Until now, here it is…




This is a portrait of my sister-in-law Natasha when she was little. She was my husband’s precious baby until our baby was born, and to this day my husband continues to cherish the pictures that he has of her when she was young. I have drawn this picture before… this is the third time, actually, and all my previous attempts have been failures. Roman never told me outright that my drawings did not look like his sister, it was just the look of disappointment in his face that let me know that I missed something when I tried to capture her likeness.
I felt like trying to draw the portrait again tonight because I have been practicing a lot lately and I have been feeling more and more confident in my ability to draw a person. I drew this with a mechanical pencil while sitting on my sofa with my baby bouncing next to me and trying to feed me carrots. I feel like quite the multi-tasker, but that is the reason I did not use color (too messy when Miss Cordelia is awake).

Another Grace

Grace II

When Grace’s mom emailed me her photos, she sent 2 pictures of her daughter. I immediately wanted to draw the second picture, but I think her mom wanted me to draw this one, so I told her that I would draw both (I need to get to 1000 somehow!). I had a lot of fun drawing the first picture of Grace with her blue eyes and her long lashes, so I decided to draw the other photograph today. I am glad that I did not sketch it out in pen, because I was amazed at how much I had to erase when I drew this image. I guess I just was not in my groove today. My daughter Cordelia did not help things with her super short nap either. So, thank goodness for the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It gave me an extra 25 minutes to finish this drawing with pastel. Again this is another pastel and colored pencil drawing, but I am using less and less colored pencil as I am progressing with my portrait project. The only thing I do in colored pencil are the eyes, the teeth and a few lines to outline the features, the rest is soft pastel.


My friend Jan sent me a photo of her two daughters to draw last week, and after printing the picture I realized that it was too small for me to work with. I told Jan that I couldn’t draw it and asked for a larger photo. When I first saw the picture on my computer screen I thought that it would be large enough, yet even after cropping I could barely see the edge of Olivia’s nose or the shape of her teeth. I liked the photo, however, and I really wanted to draw the picture that Jan had chosen.
I recently read “Jane Eyre” and in the book the main character is a governess that likes to draw portraits. And although she was a fictional character, I was jealous of her ability to draw a likeness of her friends without them sitting for her. How does one draw a portrait of someone who is not before them?- I had just told Jan that I couldn’t draw the image of her daughters when I had a photograph, albeit not a clear one. I realized then that was something that I needed to learn how to do.
So, today I decided to challenge myself and see what I could do with the image that I had. I used pencil to outline Olivia’s features and afterward started to shade her face in with graphite. I became frustrated because it did not look like her and I could not see enough of the image to see what was wrong. I decided to stop worrying whether or not it looked like Olivia or not, and decided just to use pen and practice adding tone on the skin. I thought that if the portrait did not end up looking like Olivia, it wouldn’t be a total loss if I learned some new pen techniques.
As I worked the skin tone, I started to recall more of Olivia’s features from memory and I added them as I remembered them. This is the result, which is Olivia-esque and I am happy with the fact that I drew something that I thought I couldn’t. It is amazing how much your mind can limit yourself, if you don’t push through the negativity.

Constance’s Pears

Today I am doing a double post because I just received an email from my artist friend Constance Del Nero with a photo of the colored pencil painting she made me in exchange for the two portraits that I drew of her sons. I am excited to hang her work in my kitchen, and I have been wanting one of her pieces for quite a while now. I hope that this isn’t the last art exchange that I make and I look forward to doing a similar exchange with other artists out there.

Here is a photo of the pears that Constance made me. You can read more about her and see other work on her website:

Thanks, Constance, I love my pears!!!


This is a portrait of Caleb’s younger sister, Grace. Like Caleb, she shares his piercing blue eyes, but it is her super long eyelashes that really made this portrait fun to draw. She looks like a young Elizabeth Taylor. Her mother sent me the reference photo this morning after I asked her to send me a picture that showed her eyelashes. A good, close photo is really the best for me to work from. I like to be able to see the patterns in the eyes because then I can render them more accurately and I love to draw eyes. As the old saying goes, “eyes are the windows to the soul” and to me they are the most important part of a portrait.


This is a portrait of Cecily. I used to be her nanny when she was little and she is now in college. I drew her portrait from her senior pictures, but I feel that I made her look a little bit younger than she actually is- Actually, I think I made her look more like she did back when I was her babysitter.
I have found that from practicing with the pen portraits that I have less of a need to erase as I draw. I sketched this drawing out with pencil, but I may draw another one and do it entirely with pen.

My website

Commissioned portraits from your photos

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1 other follower