Mother and Child Portrait Painting


‘Mother and Child’ portrait painting 8″x8″ oil-on-panel

This mom-and-child portrait painting is my latest commission, based on a sweet picture of a mother and her baby. The gentleman who commissioned it emailed me the photo with his initial inquiry, and we struck a deal in just two email exchanges. Lightening fast!

Mother and Child’s Portrait Painting Photos

I cropped the photo down to include just the mother’s and child’s faces, and began the blocking in. As the painting progressed, I sent him progress photos along the way. I think it is good for my clients to have an idea of the composition and style early in the project, so they aren’t shocked when they see the finished portrait painting.

I always feel very close to my subjects (especially the pets and child portrait painting subjects) after spending all that time studying their faces! [I suppose it is a little like feeling you “know” Sofia Vergara or Jay Leno.] I immersed myself in the work, and completed the portrait in just over a week. After letting the paint dry for a couple weeks, I delivered it to my Austin patron; and he seemed very pleased. I was a little disappointed not to get to meet the real Mother and Child’; but I suppose we had to keep it on the “down low”, since it was her birthday present. Just as well — I probably would have given her a big old hug, and she would have thought I was some kind of nut.

Of course mother and child portrait paintings have a long history, beginning with medieval religious icons. A lot of early art was of a religious nature; and this legitimized what was sometimes viewed as a sinful form of expression(!) We painters have to thank the Catholic Church for employing and supporting so many artists.

Mary Cassat — An Amazing Child Portrait Painter

My favorite mother-and-child portrait painting artist is Mary Cassat; and she did some stunningly beautiful mother-and-child portraits. Mary was an American who spent most of her adult life in Paris. Unable to attend the art school because of her GENDER, she studied oil portraiture privately under several famed instructors of the time. Cassat actually had a license to draw and paint in the Louve art museum. The licensing was an attempt by the Louve management to control forgeries by the many women who were turning out pretty good copies of famous masterpieces. Who would have thought that art forgery was such a problem in 1850?

Cassatt exhibited with the other impressionist painters of the day, and struggled like all those wacky impressionists to gain the respect of the art world. Her father was not very supportive of her artistic efforts, and insisted that her studio expenses be paid from the sale of her paintings. Mary painted dozens of people (mostly women figure studies and child portrait paintings). She liked to capture her subjects in everyday poses, using friends and family members as her models. Mary Cassat’s paintings are so intimate and compelling — check out her ‘The Child’s Bath and Mere et infant sur fond vert.

Now Taking Orders for Mother and/or Child Portrait Paintings for Mother’s Day Gifts!

Well, it’s the middle of February. I know Mother’s Day (May 11th) seems like a long way off; but this would be a very good time to ask your favorite Austin mother-child portrait painter to get to work on a Mother’s Day gift! Things start getting pretty busy in the Spring; so get your orders in now!

About Valerie Rawlings

Austin, Texas oil painter focusing on portraits, landscapes and still life paintings
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4 Responses to Mother and Child Portrait Painting

  1. Diana says:

    better and better

  2. Judy Scherer says:

    Love it Val, you really captured the familial resemblance beautifully.

    • Isn’t it amazing to see that resemblance in that baby face that you think is just a baby face. Then you look at the mom and it’s definitely her baby! That’s what I love about painting portraits-I get to study those amazing similarities! I am always delighted and surprised!