Tag: artist

How I See You ~ Part 4

 

There’s nothing I like to hear more than someone saying, “I trust you as my friend and an artist.” And it was last summer when I looked at Melissa during a boating trip wearing her brand new swim suit, wind in her hair, sun on her face, that impressed me to say, “You are totally a mermaid.” Of course, she naturally accepted this answer in joking way. But at a quick glance, she is a smart woman in college, kind to everyone, sweet personality, and attentive listener. In my perspective,however, Melissa has a wild side that comes out when her friends need it the most. Though her actions stay within reason, her imagination and love for fantasy inspired me to dress her up as I see her. And naturally that is a mermaid. Beautiful, sweet, and mischievous ­čśë

With a hot glue gun, store bought shells, and a plastic pearl necklace, I put together a crown for the fantasy sea queen she is. Her and features and fair complexion worked wonderfully with the color palette I chose last minute. And we giggled the whole time as we set up our makeshift underwater cove, and she posed like a champion with every direction I gave her. The whole project is always worth it when they let go of any insecurity they might have and see the finished product. Hearing Melissa say, “Oh my gosh, I really am a mermaid!” means I did my job right.

Here are her best photos from the whole shoot!

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How I See You Project ~ Part 2

It only takes one photo to tell a story. The man you see here is someone I had the pleasure of meeting last September. He just returned home after being stationed in New York. After his active term in the Army was over, he started a life that was much different than the chaos he was used to, even since childhood.

While respecting his privacy, all I can say his how much I admire him for following his desires to find peace and truth. In Palmyra, New York, he learned about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. For a year he read the Book of Mormon, taking his time to read, ponder and pray until he chose to learn more.

When he moved back to Arizona, I won’t lie, I was immediately fascinated after spotting him at church. And thankfully he was more amused then creeped out, but eventually our friendship solidified and I learned just how awesome he truly is. At first glance, one could easily assume him to be a nonmember or convert. His tattoos are the first to give that impression, but to me they’re proof of his artistic talent considering he did a few himself.

What’s cooler is his heritage. Just recently I learned that not only is he Mexican descent, but part Native American as well. Lately he’s been diving into family history, which brings us to this photo here. We took a very long road trip to St. George, Utah to hike Zion’s National Park, and walk the grounds of the oldest running LDS temple in history. We stood on decades worth of history and he asked me to take a picture of him.

Originally I had the intention of taking different posed photos with him. I wanted this project to highlight some of his best features, which includes his smile. Instead, I found the best angle and pose to take one photo that spoke volumes to me.

On the way there, someone was very quick to profile us. I didn’t blame that person for jumping to conclusions. But what they saw in my friend was only the surface. But what I’ve seen since the beginning is a man who has always turned his back on the past to face God’s light. Not that he forgets it entirely, but embraces where his past has lead him so he can learn and continue to move forward.

If he’s reading this right now, he’s for sure laughing at how much of poetic cheeseball I am. He’s not one for being in the spotlight. But how I see you, is how God sees you. And I hope this picture will remind everyone to do the same for all people. I think I speak for everyone when I also say, thank you for your service.

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Pick up a paintbrush and hope for the best

On top of my writing, I’m an artist too! These are my latest projects, commissioned by friends and family members.

The process for this one took me about 6 hours. My cousin had sent me a beautiful photo of his wife and infant daughter to sketch for Mother’s Day. I started with a grid and drew basic outlines. I filled in clothing details first, since that’s the most tedious part, and┬áthen the faces after. Since it’s easier to erase mistakes when the shading is lighter, I darken the shadows for the final touches, and there you have it! This piece took a few days, but a year to create the concept. A good friend of mine had discussed me doing a large piece for his living room the day we met. Since then, we through dozens of ideas to make sure what I created really matched his personality and made a statement. If someone were to walk inside, what’s the first thing I want them to notice? And my friends, this one was NOT easy. Despite how random the colors look, it took bottles and bottles of acrylic paint, a large brush, a pallet knife, and a redo┬áto get it just right. When┬ámy special friend hung on it┬áhis wall, sending┬ámessages of praise and gratitude, I slumped on the couch with the feeling of a job well done.

This last piece wasn’t a commission, but a photo posted by a professional photographer that truly inspired me. Quite often I’ll see photos published on Facebook or Instagram, and right I see a hundred different story lines with dozens of possible feelings. Right then I’m prompted to paint at least one of them.

Because in the end it’s not about the commission, it’s about the reaction. It’s something I do because it’s how I focus all the chaotic energy inside me. It’s how I forget about myself and the world so I┬á can think about someone else. It’s how I connect to the artist’s in my family who have passed on. It’s how I brings another’s person’s feelings to life.

It’s how I feel the most alive.

 

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