Project Description

This family portrait painting in sepia is a 1998 sepia portrait painting of my younger brother and me with aunts and uncles in San Luis Obispo, CA. I’m pretty sure it’s my first family portrait painting and I chose to paint it in sepia, rather than black and white, because of the old-fashioned ambiance. Note the men’s cigarettes (part of life back then), the hats, dresses, hairstyles, handbag, and of course the black car. Because of the war, cars in colors didn’t make a comeback until the 1950’s. The two 1947 reference photos that I used were taken by our mother—photography is definitely in our DNA. I love the relaxed poses, focused expressions, and interesting side-lighting.

Combining these 2 snapshots made one of the best family portrait arrangements I’ve ever seen. Sometimes magic happens! I always encourage clients to send lots of reference photos, so I can play detective. Looking at all the tiny details in the photos helps me find clues to enhance a portrait and personalize it for my client.

Some of my happiest childhood memories are of vacations in San Luis Obispo. This portrait hangs in my studio and is a wonderful reminder.

Read my Blog Posts showing how I created other family portrait paintings.