Before I left Kathy’s class, I had one more piece to complete: a stippling of baby Ethan. My idea was to draw Ethan at the same age as Dylan so that I could frame them together: my two boys at 8 months old.
In May of 2006 I found out that we were expecting baby boy number two. Dylan would be three in December and it was a good time to add to our family. Before baby’s arrival, I wanted to do a large pastel painting of Dylan. We took this photo of him playing by the ocean in Florida. He loved the sand – mesmerized by the feel and texture, he played for hours! What better way to capture our first-born son at such a special moment in time.
I was determined to finish the painting before baby boy two arrived. I had to rework the sand and ocean many times before they looked right. Surprisingly, painting Dylan was the easy part! I was so pleased with the end result and completed it just in time – about 1 week before Ethan was born!
In 2005 I began art classes with Kathy through the Warren Fine Arts Center (WFAC). It was really more of a workshop where a group of people met once a week to chat and work on their art. Kathy was our mentor, guiding us through our own personal journey. Some worked in pen and ink while others worked with pastels. I had no experience with the latter, so I stuck with something familiar.
As a new mom, I wanted to do a portrait of my baby. I fished out one of my very favorite photos of Dylan at 8 months. It was taken when we were on a mini vacation up north with my mom. Dylan was playing in his saucer and smiling for the camera.
The first step was to blow-up the image to the desired size and lightly transfer it to the bristol board with graphite. Next, I carefully outlined the shadows and highlights. I started by stippling the eyes. As Kathy taught us, the eyes are the most important part in a portrait. If you get those right, then you’ve captured the person’s essence. And if you don’t, you haven’t wasted hours of work. From there it was a matter of focusing on the shapes formed by the shadows and highlights rather than thinking about the actual part of the body. After the dots were all applied, I used very straight thin lines to convey his hair.
During 1993 and 2005 was busy! I graduated from MSU and Graduate School. I worked a few temporary jobs until I found a great full-time one as an Instructional Designer where I stayed for six years until Dylan was born. I met and married my husband, had my first joint replacement, traveled to India, and gave birth to my first beautiful baby boy. It was a very complicated pregnancy and difficult first years of life as he was born with severe complications. But we all made it through, stronger than ever, and today he is a healthy, loving, smart, young boy.
My parle back into art was actually quite by accident, but as I believe, all things happen for a reason. I had seen an article in our local paper about an artist, Kathy Krupa, who did pastel pet portraits. One of our dogs had recently passed and I commissioned her to do a portrait for my husband.
When we met in person, it was very comfortable, as though we had been long time friends. I mentioned that art was also my passion and one day I wanted to pick up where I had left off.
Serendipitously, she taught classes in a neighboring city. I had found my doorway back into the art world. A few weeks later I signed up for her class and the rest is history…