Love story illustrated

In my line of work painting a custom couple portrait is never dull.  Every single family tree I paint is different from all the others.  Every single one has elements and features that make it unique.  For example, I had to paint a ginkgo tree in one of my latest family tree illustrations.  I’ve heard of ginkgo trees (primarily because of the supplement ginkgo biloba), but I had no idea what the tree itself actually looked like.  And let me tell you, it’s a majestic tree!  Especially when its leaves turn yellow.  I’ve never asked my client why she chose a ginkgo to symbolize her family, because I didn’t want to pry, but somehow it made sense from what she’s told me about her and her husband.  Theirs was yet another love story that makes my job so joyful.  What could be more inspiring that illustrating a great love story, right?

Illustrating a life

So how does one illustrates someone’s life?  By finding out as many details about a person or a couple you’re painting as you can.  Some people approach me with clear ideas as to what they want in the painting.  Others are unsure as to what to include and that’s when I have to do a little investigative work and ask a lot of questions about my client’s family and his/her family history.  In either of those cases it’s a fascinating journey for me to take as an artist and a naturally curious human being. The more you find out about people the more it makes you realize how similar we all are.  It makes you feel closer to people.  Makes you love the humanity as a whole more.  We all want love, and acceptance, we want people to rely on, we love our families, and we love our pets…

As you can see from the painting my client and her husband have quite a few pets.  Something that she and I really bonded over.  I always call myself ‘a crazy cat lady, but with a variety of pets’, and it’s nice to ‘meet’ other people with multiple pets.  Not to mention that I always have fun painting animals.  Especially when each pet portrait reflects not just the pet’s appearance, but also his/her personality.

Personalizing a family tree painting through details

While I had a blast painting my client’s fur babies, there were other elements in the painting that I enjoyed working on.  As a bookworm I have an affinity for painting books and I had to paint quite a few for this project.  My client send me a few photos of her book shelves, and I was salivating reading the titles.  Turns out apart from our mutual love for animals we also have a similar taste in books!

Apart from sending me photos of her books my client also send me a photo of her living room.  She wanted me to depict her and her husband sitting on their living room sofa, something that I found really neat!  I also included their actual end tables in the painting.  There were a few other elements that made the painting really personal: a flower arrangement from my client’s wedding, a phi math symbol to represent my client’s husband’s job, and a telescope they use to look at the stars…

Hand-painted watercolor couple portrait

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