Friday, April 8, 2011

Keeping Secrets Is Hard!

Whew!  This portrait was my project for the month of March.  It had to be kept under wraps since the recipient (as well as mother of these children) frequents my blog and Facebook page.  In addition, we're cousins and live fairly close to one another.  This was a gift to my cousin and her husband for their 40th birthdays from my cousin's in-laws.  (Did that make sense?) 

I don't typically do portraits and I haven't worked in pencil in awhile.  However I love getting the opportunity to go outside the wonderful world of watercolor to play with different mediums.  I feel very comfortable with most mediums including, pencil, charcoal, oil, acrylics, etc.  I just don't find myself switching around very often.  Once I began the process, I remembered how much I loved getting immersed in the fine details of drawing.  That's something I generally avoid with my watercolors for fear of overworking them. 

I especially loved watching each child come to life before my eyes.  It's probably the most rewarding part of doing portraits, aside from making the recipient cry when they see the finished piece.  That doesn't go without saying, the most difficult part of doing portraits is making sure each child looks like themselves.  I spent many hours trying to get one of the girls to look "right".  I simply could not put my finger on what it was about her.  In the end, I was content with the results and I believe the customer was as well.

Keeping it a secret was a feat all it's own.  More than a few times I almost let the cat out of the bag, but caught myself before doing so.  I'm pleased to say this portrait is in the hands of the intended recipient and I hope it brings them much enjoyment for years to come.   


  1. Bravo Gretchen! For creating a beautiful family portrait and for allowing yourself to do something different. I am like you, I am comfortable with most mediums, however I stick with watercolor because that is what I do. I will have to get my tools out and play now :-)

  2. Good sketching, Gretchen, and really good "secret keeping"!!!

  3. Nice job on the portraits. Your pencil drawings are really very good. I'm sure you got a pretty good likeness of those kids because each child looks so alive and realistic. And what a generous gift.

    Your blog inspires me to continue on my sketch a day quest. I've gotten away from it but I vow to get back to it today!

  4. Absolutely beautiful, Gretchen! You really have a talent for portraits and they (to me) are the toughest subject!

  5. Wow! What a great portraits! And what a beautiful gift, I'm sure they are very happy with it! It's good to do something different sometimes!

  6. Thanks Gaylynn!

    Kathryn...thank you. And I love the yellow lab you are currently working on!

    Depaja, thank you for your kind comments. I'm glad I've inspired you to keep sketching. It only makes you better.

    Thank you Sheryl....yes, portraits are tough!

    Thanks felt good to do something different.

  7. Lovely work on the portraits Grethcen. You have some lovely tones there. Great job and I am sure the family would be thrilled.

    Well done.

  8. Dors....what a nice compliment coming from someone I consider a master of the graphite! I need to do many more of these to even get close to your skill level. But I had great fun with it! Thank you!

  9. What a terrific gift! It will be treasured! You did a fabulous job, what a great job you did with the composition. Beautiful work!!

  10. Dear Gretchen,
    Lovely, lovely portraits!!! Keep making them in the future.
    Kind regards, Sadami



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