Looking For Turtles

Jan 30, 2020

Over the past seven years I’ve dipped my toe in and out of portraiture. It’s a bit intimidating trying to make a likeness of someone but I think I’ve achieved that. So, to change things up I’ve decided to look at it from a different angle.

I have three highly individual grandchildren, as children are. They range from unabashed star of the show to reluctant model, with another in-between, both literally and figuratively. Stuffed animals, superheroes, sippy cups, stethoscopes, Legos, glitter glue, pirates, tea sets, puzzles, books and nerf blasters litter the floors of their lives. How to express all of that in a formal portrait? That’s a tall order.

So instead of setting them in front of a bookshelf wearing stiff fabrics and lockets I’m trying to find images that, instead of being portraits, express a sense of their childhoods.

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Last August I escorted a rather cantankerous group to an Audubon site for a little outing. This one made the most of the time looking valiantly for signs of life. I snapped the photo as the snapping turtles evaded detection.

I was a little disappointed that a lot of my photos from that day didn’t pan out. It was overcast and grandchild cooperation was limited. But after all was said and done, this one floated to the top. It conveyed the intense curiosity this boy has always had and the moody sky was reminiscent of his uncooperative siblings. In the end it was the perfect expression of the day.

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Which brings me back to my new way of thinking. Instead of painting portraits of children, I intend to paint kids caught at living a child’s life. Do you have digital images of your children and/or grandchildren that would fit into this new body of work? If so, I’d love to see them and maybe I could work them into my portfolio.

To participate please email me your image with “A Child’s Life Images” in the subject line and I’ll let you know if it works both from tech-y/photo and artistic perspectives (please read restrictions below). I’m happy to answer any questions you might have so please feel free to ask.

Painting: Looking For Turtles © 2020 Lissa Banks