May 12, 2012

"Loving Sara"

Oil on canvas, 24 x 30 inches

I completed this painting for a community project entitled, "BEHIND THE SEEN: Encounters with the Contemporary Family," which is using art and film as a medium to spread awareness and provide insight into the uniqueness of families with young children experiencing emotional and behavioral challenges. The exhibition will travel across North Carolina through May, 2013 and will host discussions and activities in each location. It's at Holly Hill Mall in Burlington, NC until the end of this month. For info about future locations visit The trailer for a documentary about the project can be viewed at:

The project brought together four Alamance County families and 16 artists. Each artist has had a few months to spend time with a family and then create a work of art based on insights garnered during that time. I worked with two families and so created another painting, as well. I'll share that one in a future post.

Sara's personality is animated and full of energy and I tried to convey that through poses and through the way I applied paint to the canvas. I painted her twice to represent the two aspects of her behavior.

Sara's mother has chosen to look past the inappropriate side of Sara's behavior, and instead, nurtures the more appropriate and positive aspects. I feel that affirming appropriate behavior, in this way, is essential. It is my hope that everyone, if confronted with a young child who has behavioral challenges, will make a similar choice and see that child through this loving mother's eyes.

Because of this painting's design and subject matter, I used photo reference in conjunction with a color study from life. A few images of the painting in progress are posted below. The grid that is partially painted on the canvas helped me get major shapes in the correct position. Once they were established, I then painted the same way I would from life.

Lastly, here's a picture of Sara and her mother standing beside the finished painting. Sara was adopted from Mexico.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! I ran across your work on your video "Oiling out a canvas" ... Thank you!