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.
As an artist, I love trying new mediums and expanding my creativity beyond the paintbrush. Recently I decided to do a new project where I capture the closest people in my life in the way I see them. My first subject is my youngest sister, Courtney.
Courtney was born under severe circumstances that left her in the NICU for 8 days, three weeks sooner than doctors expected. She grew into a brilliant girl with an active imagination, known to be our tough as nails Tom Boy. But as her big sister, watching her blossom into a young woman, a trait I always saw was how delicate and graceful she is with timeless features. To me, angelic and fairylike. Her response to that…a sarcastic, “Okay, Chelsea. Whatever you say…” She never really liked getting her picture taken, but with endless pleading…she agreed.
My original plan was to create a fashion forward look using products I found at the 99 cent store, which I did! I purchased her makeup and made the flower crown myself the night before. The dress was once owned by an old roommate who gave it me, and I passed onto Courtney. The whole look cost under 20 dollars.
Courtney was skeptical at first, especially when I started using the liquid liner and dusting eye shadow on her cheek bones.
But after 3o minutes of hair, makeup and finding the perfect angles, I began to edit…and as soon as I got what I was looking for, I showed her the final product. Her face lit up. “They turned out better than I expected,” she said with the biggest smile on her face. No matter what time of day, in whatever state she’s in, Courtney has always been a beautiful girl. And like many, it takes a new perspective for us to see ourselves as others see us. And it wasn’t just the hair and makeup…it was the persona she stepped into. These pictures reminded me how much she loved dressing up as Cinderella when she was little. The funny thing is, no matter how old we get, we never stop playing dress up. And this was a lovely reminder that once Cinderella, always Cinderella!
Here are the final favorites!