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Painting Hair

Painting hair in a portrait painting can be rather tricky! If you’re like me and have very short hair, or even better yet (or worse?), if you’re bald, it’s rather easy. BUT, if you have a head full of curls, that is a whole ‘nother story!

I’m not sure how other Artists do it, but what I do is draw out all of the details of the hair, with proper proportional measurements, and start painting it all in with layer after layer, gradually blending it all together and getting the colors right. The lighting was low when I took this photo, so the colors are a little off, but here is a current shot of where I’m at with this portrait:

I need to soften up the lines a bit more on the blending of all of the strands of hair and continue adjusting the colors some, but I’m getting there, slowly but surely!

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Another Oil Portrait Completed!

Finished this one a few days ago and delivered it yesterday! Now I’m working on one last portrait painting to deliver by Christmas. To commission a portrait, just contact me at


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Oil Portrait Painting – First Time at the Ocean

Vacation in Florida!

Earlier this year, my wife, son and I went down to Palm Harbor, Florida to visit my parents in the same house that my grandmother used to live in. I think our son slept nearly the whole drive there, which was like a dream come true for him! We jokingly said it was the best day of his life.

Seeing the Ocean for the First Time!

During our visit, we went to Honeymoon Island one evening, which was our son’s first time seeing the ocean. He was actually asleep in his car seat as we pulled up, so we carried him in his seat over to the beach, and plopped down while watching the sun slowly go down over the waves. You could smell the sea salt, hear the songs of the seagulls, and feel a light breeze in the air. To these peaceful, natural sounds, our son woke up in his seat and gazed out upon the ocean for the first time. I think he really connected with the nature…he usually cries when he wakes up, but he was as peaceful as could be, as he gently woke up while peering out into the beautiful seascape.

Oil Portrait Painting

After a few minutes passed, we all got up and waded out into the water and took photos. This 11″ x 14″ oil painting on canvas is based off of one of those photos, while my wife was holding him:

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First Time Seeing the Ocean

Commissioning a Portrait Painting

Prior Blog Post – “A Place to Call Home” Painting

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Grandmother Portrait Painting – “Abue”

A few weeks ago I finished this oil portrait painting of my wife Brigitta’s maternal Nicaraguan grandmother (or ‘abuela’, in Spanish). Her name was Rafaela Corrales Toruño, and Brigitta simply called her “Abue.”

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“Abue” Portrait – Oil Painting

Abue had five children, three of which emigrated from Nicaragua to the U.S. in the 1970’s. Abue also came to the U.S. to accompany her first child to come here, Tía Ligia (Tía means “Aunt”, and Tía Ligia was Brigitta’s Aunt Ligia). Then, Brigitta’s Dad came on vacation to visit, which then turned into a permanent stay! Later on, Brigitta’s Tía Cecilia came as well.  Abue’s other two children stayed in Nicaragua. So nowadays, we have family both in Northern Virginia and in Nicaragua (and in Argentina and Ecuador on Brigitta’s Mom’s side)!

I met Abue almost ten years ago, before I spoke much Spanish. Whenever I tried to speak to her in Spanish, she’d turn to Brigitta and say “¿Qué dice?”, or “What is he saying?”. I’m glad I got to experience her liveliness, kindness and family values. She was a true ‘family matriarch.’

Abue lived with Brigitta’s family during much of Brigitta’s childhood, and they spent lots of time together, abuela y nieta (granddaughter), on the famous couch shown in the painting below!

For information on commissioning your very own custom art, you can read about the process, FAQ’s, testimonials, and see a custom art portfolio by clicking here here. Or, you can also just email me at!

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Family Portrait Painting Completed!

The portrait painting is finished!

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Family Portrait Painting | Oil on Belgian Linen Canvas | 18″ x 24″

The creation of this painting was a process of gathering photos of the subjects, aligning them together into a scene to appear as if they had posed together, calculating and measuring proportions during the sketch, and then working magic with the paint and brush!

Here is a quick recap:

  1. Gather Photos: IMG_1839
  2. Measure, Calculate and Sketch

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    Portrait Painting Sketch
  3. Put some music on and paint!
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    Portrait Painting Progress
    "family portrait painting", "portrait painting", "portrait art"
    Portrait Painting Progress
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    Completed Family Portrait Painting | Oil on Belgian Linen Canvas | 18″ x 24″

    The last step now is to deliver the painting, which will happen either later today or tomorrow!

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you all have a great time with your friends and family this week and next!

To commission your own special portrait art, please see the Commission Custom Art page.


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Family Portrait Painting Progress

First came the drawing, and now the paint!

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Each day brings more progress on this portrait painting, which is great because I’m coming up on the Christmas deadline!

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Family Portrait Painting Progression

After much work sketching, measuring and aligning, I’ve got three of four family members onto the canvas and ready to paint!

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This portrait painting is unique in that because it’s a surprise, we had to gather photos of the four family members and put them together to appear as if they had posed together. For the wife and husband, it was easy because we already had a good photo of them together. But for the children, we didn’t have a good recent photo of them with their parents.

So what’d we do? We logged into the Mom’s Facebook account and searched for good photos of her children on their profiles! I found a couple that I thought would work great, so I’ve put my math brain to work in aligning them all together and adjusting the images on the photos to enlarge proportionally onto the canvas.

The deadline for this one is Christmas, so lot’s of work left to do!


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Family Portrait Painting – Surprise Christmas Gift!

Measurements and drawing – 2 key steps in my process for creating a great-looking portrait painting!

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Sketching out a portrait painting

This particular portrait painting is of a family of 4 and will be a Christmas surprise for 3 of the family members.

I’m using a Utrecht Renaissance Belgian Linen canvas for this one…I love Utrecht canvases, they’re really the best ones I’ve found out there!

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Utrecht Renaissance Belgian Linen Canvas
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Papaw and I – Portrait Painting

A Gift to my Grandfather

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The Dave White’s – Portrait Painting

This portrait painting was a gift to my paternal grandfather, who went by Papaw.

Papaw grew up on a farm in rural southern Ohio during the Great Depression. His family didn’t have running water or electricity until he was an adult! The first time he left his county was at 18 years old when he joined the Navy and traveled all over the world. He fulfilled 2 terms of service in the Navy, then briefly worked for the railroad (where my own father retired from), and then made his career working for the Air Force, where he attained numerous awards for his accomplishments. Since the early 1950’s, Mamaw (my grandmother) and Papaw have lived in the same house in Pickerington, Ohio, now a suburb of Columbus. For a long while, it was a rural area, until the suburbs grew out to Pickerington.

While on a Midwest road trip in August 2011 to visit family in Indiana, we stopped by Ohio on the way back to see Mamaw and Papaw. We snapped this photo of Papaw and I by his garden out back. I was picking cucumbers and tomatoes to bring back to Virginia. I thought it was a great picture of us, so it’s the one I chose to paint.

His name was also Dave White (he was Dave White Sr., while I am Dave White III). I’d never thought about it much, but out of all of his grandchildren and even great-grandchildren, I’m the only one with the same name as him!

To commission your own special portrait art, please see the Commission Custom Art page.