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Portrait painting brings challenges, rewards

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Portrait painting brings challenges, rewards

It's hard to paint with sweaty palms. But that's how I would describe portrait painting. When you paint a landscape, you can take some liberties with the foliage, with the lay of the land, even with the light and shadows. Not so much when you are trying to capture the likeness of someone -- especially someone close to you. If you don't get everything right, the portrait won't look like them. Every line, shadow and highlight is important to an end result that matches the subject's image.

Despite the challenge of it, I decided I wanted to paint a portrait of my grandniece for her first birthday. I saw a cute photo of her that her mom had posted on Facebook. She was decked out in a darling patriotic outfit and crawling across the floor. It got my wheels spinning, especially since her dad is currently serving in the military. It seemed fitting to expand on the theme, capturing this family's moment in time, as well as the image of their darling daughter.

I worked on this portrait for about a week, giving it one last look the morning of her birthday party and putting on the finishing touches. Cheers for fast-drying acrylic paint! I got my reward for the week of toil and sweaty palms when I saw my niece's face as she opened the present containing the portrait. Her smile said it all.