My sister, Aleigha, has a insanely active imagination and colorful personality. After seeing Courtney’s transformation i my first “How I See You” post, she willingly sat on a stool for an hour while I painted her face until we got these incredible photos above.
The way I see her now isn’t the same as I’ve seen her as a little girl. Then, she was everybody’s girly girl, a petite little princess who enjoyed the spotlight.
But like may teenagers do, she’d begun to redefine herself as she slowly developed her skill as an artist. While I paint and sketch portraits, she’s dived into the world of animation, cartoons, comics, and anime; growing int our favorite nerdy tomboy.
I could tell her desire to look and feel beautiful never went away. We both struggle with our self image in a similar way, but she would have kicked and screamed if I’d put her in a dress. Her style didn’t go with the flow of modern trends, so I decided to try something a bit out of the ordinary. The art she creates is a pure reflection of herself. BOLD, FUN, DRAMATIC, and EXPRESSIVE. A true character one would find in a classic Archie Comic. Because classic is probably the best way to describe her.
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 then 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 to get it just right. When my special friend hung on it his wall, sending messages 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 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.