Recently I did a commissioned painting for a man who lost his daughter to cancer this past year. In this photo there is a father sharing a sweet moment with his daughter who was battling cancer at the time that this was taken. He is a photographer and normally is behind the lense, but for this brief moment he was the one captured on film instead.
Using my typical circular designs, I framed the faces and sketched in the placement of everything on my canvas. I began layering skin tones first with my paint and colored pencils.
I developed his face first and then moved on to hers.
The joy captured in their expressions in this moment in time was so touching.
Changing the color of his shirt helped me go with a monochromatic and more subdued color palette. The shadow where there heads are touching really became an important element of this painting because it gave some important depth and contrast.
After searching and searching for the perfect flower to include in this piece, I stumbled across the "bleeding heart" flower and right away knew this was the perfect choice because of its symbolism.
The person who commissioned me to do this painting asked me if I would make sure the designs weren't distracting from the faces. So instead of color, I chose to paint with gold to be used as a neutral inside the outer circle.
I then began painting in the flowers and designs. I chose the white "bleeding hearts" with tips of red to help tie in the little sliver of red in the camera. I struggled so much with picking a color for the background behind their faces...
I needed a color that wasn't too strong, yet one that would be dark enough so that the heads would stand out from it. I didn't want a distracting color, and I didn't want to clash with the colors I already had here. So many things to consider. I ended up layering many different colors of paint and pencil to achieve the color that I ended up with. I just kept going with one more layer until it felt right!
The blue washy background really made everything pop and tied it all together. I was so glad to be able to be a part of this family's healing through the language of art. As I painted this piece I found myself praying for the family and feeling my heart bleed...