The art of making an endearing motherly canvas when mom looks like a deadly weapon.

The art of making this:

from this:


What happens when your client looks like a deadly weapon but wants an innocent family painting?

One of the challenges I have is often get clients who are drop dead gorgeous with “looks that kill - sex appeal”. Seems like a great challenge to have however it can be slightly problematic. Whenever I get hired to create a group, especially when working remotely, I usually request 10-20 photos of each person to see what works best in a group setting. When creating a beautiful warm family portrait art that conveys a mother's love for her children, these these glamorous women send me adorable happy photos of their kids as reference, but when it comes to her own reference photos, they often send sultry and sexy pics of what they think would work. The juxtaposition of sexy mom with innocent children leads to an odd visual and final product.


Long time friend and supporter and all around amazing woman, Amandita commissioned me to create a canvas portrait of her and her two beautiful kids. Since Amandita is quite the bombshell in real life, the majority of her modeling portfolio photos did not work well when posing with her kids in the pre production collage draft phase. Being the mad perfectionist and not resting until I found the right imagery, I ended up doing way more research and choosing a candid photo from her social media account that conveyed a loving and innocent facial expression for the final inspiration. It lead to a more cohesive connected loving vibe to the final art. What do you think?

Click link below to see the animated process.

Jazz Age / Harlem Renaissance couples portrait of Peg and Lee.

Harlem Renaissance

Since I am a huge lover of Art Deco and love the sophistication and dapperness ( just learned that’s a real word ) of the era, I thought it would be the fitting opportunity to create a really upscale portrait

I was inspired by the 1930s harlem dancer Margot Webb for her elegance and sophistication and chose to transform Peg into her, however whatever concept I chose to do, Peg insisted on having curls. So after a bit more research, I stumbled upon a hair style from one the great silent movie era actress, Norma Shearer. She sported finger waves that transition into curls sorta of like an elegant 1930s afro. Finger waves and curls. 

The Art Deco / Jazz / afrocentric characters and city scape are all inspired by the underatted African American Art Deco muralist Aaron Douglas, who pioneered a futuristic translucent flat afrocentric stylee. Sort of a black version of Diego Rivera, he beautifully illustrated the struggles of the oppressed, spoke on slavery, the elevation of the race, the beginnings of the NAACP in Harlem, while also transitioning into the new world of the, automobile, radio, jazz age, skyscrapers and mans quest to find identity in this new world. I also included the marquee of Harlem’s world famous Savoy Ballroom known for both it’s dance innovations and home of Jazz giants of the day, a place Peg’s grandparents used to frequent in their youth. Here is a before and after.


And here is a few more details.   

And here is a few more details.


Harlem Renaissance details