Posted by: Michelle Mitton | May 6, 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,


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