As a portrait photographer for 20 years, one of my specialties was glamour photography … very popular in the 1980’s. Thinking back, the 80’s was a time when many of us women felt good about ourselves and wanted to have a remembrance of it. Women of all ages came to my studio so that I could photograph them in flattering poses. I even had a make-up person on staff. One of my clients, a woman now approaching 90, keeps in touch and always tells me how much that glamorous portrait still means to her. It hangs in her new home in Idaho.
I remembered all of this while recently painting a portrait for a lovely Maryland business executive. As a portrait artist, I paint people at their very best, but still looking like themselves. With each brushstroke, I get to be their make-up artist, hairdresser, jeweler, and clothing stylist ... this is such a fun job! In this particular case, I improved my client’s posture and expression from the way she was posed in the reference photo she sent. As the portrait progressed, she started to remind me of a Modigliani painting. Her portrait was a joy for me to create and here is her email to me last week:
My portrait is superb!! Thank you very very much. I will have the canvas framed and send you a picture. My daughter loved it!
Another example of a glamorous portrait painting was this bridal portrait, commissioned by the groom as a wedding gift for his bride. I always find it interesting what good posture can do for a person … so again, that’s where I started when creating this portrait painting, referring to a studio photo the bride had emailed. I lightened the mood in the painting, and this time I got to be the florist when painting her bouquet! I loved painting the jewelry, sheer shawl, and the embroidered detail on her gown. This portrait is an immense canvas hanging over the fireplace in my clients’ Los Angeles home.
I love the self-portrait I painted some years back with our late Maltese. You can see it on the Pets Artwork page of my site. And below is an early drawing I did of myself. I know I don’t look the same anymore on the outside, but I still feel like that younger woman on the inside.
I wish I would be commissioned to create more portrait paintings for women. Contact me, and let’s start a trend! Women should have beautiful portraits of themselves, as they have had for centuries. Bring back the 80’s … and don’t forget the big hair, gorgeous clothes, and shoulder pads!