Rosie’s Grandson Eli — An Original Oil Portrait Painting

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Portrait Painting of Rosie’s Grandson Eli

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Photo of Eli

My Latest Oil Portrait Painting

Today’s oil portrait painting is from a photo submitted by my MIFF (My Italy Friends Forever) Rosie of her grandson Eli. Isn’t he adorable? This was his Senior picture; and it had the most interesting and unique background — boarded up warehouse windows. Anyway, by the time I spent five or six days face to face with this oil portrait painting, he felt like one of my own kids! Eli is now 20, and a sophomore at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. And his grandmother has my big 16×20 oil portrait painting to capture that special moment in time.

Reflections on My Oil Portrait Painting Career

My latest oil portrait painting reminds me how my art career started about 8 years ago. First I took a 6-week ‘Intro to Painting’ class. We painted still life set-ups. I remember painting an egg, an orange, and some ugly brown potatoes. I protested the potatoes, but the instructor insisted we were supposed to see all the color variation in the brown!! It wasn’t terribly inspiring. I guess you have to work on something while you are figuring out the mechanics of how to hold the brush.

Then I signed up for an ‘Open Studio’ art class arrangement, where everyone brings their own material to work on and the instructor walks around and advises. I showed up on day one with my all time favorite photo of my two boys on Halloween (many years ago). Ross and Clark were dressed as Alfalfa and Spanky with Clark holding a stuffed dog that we had fixed up to look like ‘Petey’. It was the cutest picture! They loved watching the Little Rascals tape we had, and they truly embraced the parts!

Fortunately for me, my instructor didn’t try to discourage me from doing an oil portrait painting of this challenging subject matter. In fact, he coached me along and it turned out surprisingly well. UH, well except for the fact that I completed everything except the faces (!) I was so happy with the forms — and so afraid I would mess up the faces — I just stopped. But it’s still one of my favorite early oil portrait paintings, and hangs proudly next to the photo in my studio.

Shortly after this I discovered that I was going to be a grandmother; so soon a whole world of painting opportunities presented themselves. And I got brave enough to paint the facial features in my oil painting portraits! My daughter-in-law Sarah and I staged all sorts of photo shoots and got thousands of pictures of Charly. So many never made it to canvas; but I did paint several oil portraits. It’s funny how fast those baby faces change, and you find you don’t want to go back. The latest seems to be the greatest!

Today, Charly is six and she just had her first dance recital. Let’s see, Degas did some pretty terrific oil paintings of dancers backstage. I got a bunch more photos on Friday; but so far I haven’t picked out the perfect one for my next portrait of her. There must be a masterpiece in those shots of cute little girls in pink poodle skirts.

I enhanced my oil portrait painting skills through the creation of my Wall of Fame. Here I was in a new house that was devoid of the dead animal heads and wildlife prints that had dominated my decor for 29 years. What to do with all these blank walls? Well, I decided to paint my family and friends and hang them (the portraits, LOL) in a giant grid pattern in the 2-story stairwell. I painted 21 12×12 canvases turquoise, and then made sure everyone had turquoise hair — because I COULD!!!

It was a big fun project. After that my sister and cousin requested numerous paintings of their grandkids and girlfriends. I was really starting to get the hang of it! And, through an excellent website and marketing, Bruce made sure I was getting actual orders from perfect strangers for original oil portrait paintings. This was really a thrill for me! But even now, a large part of my business is still from friends and friends of friends. I am so grateful for their support of my art habit!

I hope you will let me paint a picture of someone special for you!

Call me, let’s talk!

About Valerie Rawlings

Austin, Texas oil painter focusing on portraits, landscapes and still life paintings
This entry was posted in Figure Studies, Portrait and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Rosie’s Grandson Eli — An Original Oil Portrait Painting

  1. Caren Upshaw says:

    This may be your finest oil portrait yet! You REALLY got the essence of this handsome young man!

    And I love the MIFF. 🙂

    Keep up the good work!

    • Thanks so much Caren, for being such a cheerleader for my art! Although I usually have to muscle through a few days with terrific doubts about my abilities, ‘Eli’ came together and looked promising from the start. Maybe I am getting the hang of it! My instructor once said you had to paint 200 paintings before you could really expect to paint anything good. My thought was that is fine for some youngsters, but i can’t wait that long to paint something decent! I never abandon a painting until I really like it. He called that “masterpiece mentality”, and really argued against it! Ha! There probably are as many opinions as there are teachers. It’s hard to make hard and fast rules concerning creativity. As YOU know, those creative types are not big on rules.

  2. Sue Douglass says:

    I just love this! It is REALLY good and yes, he is so stinkin’ cute I can hardly stand it!!!

  3. Jan says:

    What a transformation (or maybe an evolution or perhaps a revolution!) from animal heads hanging on the walls to glorious colorful oil painting created by you! Such an inspiration … I admire your progress over the last eight years.