Creative 60th wedding anniversary gift for grandparents

I’ve always had a soft spot for the British culture.  Among my favorites are the fascinating bloody history of the British royalty, Oscar Wilde, Alice in Wonderland, the perpetual tea-drinking…  The latter is also a big part of my own Ukrainian culture.  That being said, I get really giddy every time I get a chance to do a custom illustration for a British family.  Each time hoping that I would finally get to paint a family holding tiny fine china cups eating cucumber sandwiches. Up to this point I’ve done quite a few family trees for families across the big pond, but so far none of the Brits wanted to be painted drinking tea.  Bummer!Then, a miracle happened!  A very nice young lady from London contacted me. She was looking for a creative gift for her grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary and found my family tree art. I was happy to jump on the project.  She emailed me the photos of her grandparents, an older super cute couple who looked ‘really British’.  Surely at least one of them must love tea!  I’m not the type of an artist who pushes her own ideas onto her clients. So I wasn’t about to bring up the whole tea cup thing.  My client did it herself!  She suggested we paint her grandmother with a tea cup!  Yippy!

The fun little challenges of painting family trees

I love all the little challenges of my work.  I offer a variety of size options for my custom family tree illustrations. The bigger ones are easier to paint due to their size. A brushstroke less than a milliliter wide in a wrong place doesn’t make much difference in a larger painting. However, it’s really noticeable in a smaller artwork. When I’m painting miniature family trees I really can’t make any mistakes.   I only get one shot to make it right. Fortunately, with practice I’ve gotten over the challenge of making tiny faces look like the people they represent. However, coming up and painting all the little details are entirely different matter.

My objective with every family tree illustration I create is to make my art tell the unique story of the couple (or a family) it represents.  I want my artwork to have personality.  My portraits aren’t just depictions of people, they’re illustrations. They tell stories.  I want the couple’s descendants to look at their family tree and be able to see who they were as individuals.  The way I accomplish my objective is by adding a lot of fun personal details to my art. The challenge with the miniature family trees is the limited surface to work on.  So I have to choose wisely which details to add.

Let’s make the painting as British as possible!

Whenever I paint a family tree for someone from a foreign country I try to make my painting reflect that country’s ‘flavor’. I wouldn’t want a portrait of a British couple look anything but British.  It means that everything from their clothes to the background have to add to the illustration’s narrative.  For this particular family tree painting I choose to dress the couple in conservative outfits, to seat them on a bench with wrought iron accents and to use traditional English garden for the background.   Of course, I also have to mention that I painted the grandmother holding a fine china cup and saucer.  I think that detail alone added to the overall ‘Britishness’ of the painting.  🙂

If you would like to order a custom family tree as a gift for your grandparents 60th anniversary please refer to the Ordering Family Tree Steps page.