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Monday, August 31, 2009

Gone to the Dogs

Dog Commissions, 9x12" each, watercolor, 2009

I was able to do these pet portraits last week after the Charleston House called me and said they needed some breathtaking and amazing dog portraits for a client. I hadn't used watercolors in years before these commissions but it eventually came back to me. I have started working on more small scale watercolors just for fun. I am still very serious about my new graphite works and will hopefully have pics posted soon for that work.

Both of this paintings were done in one sitting from photographs that the owner provided me. I used Cotman watercolors and Strathmore 140 lb paper. I like to soak my watercolor paper for 15 - 30 minutes in a water bath before starting. To a 5/8" thick Birch board, I then staple the paper around all sides about a quarter inch in from the edges and spacing each staple roughly half an inch from the next. Once this dries I start drawing in my composition and painting. I find that soaking the paper beforehand reduces the amount of buckling that will happen from subsequent washes. Of course, I have a lot to learn but I thoroughly enjoy the process.

If you'd like to commission your own pet portrait, please contact me at or click on my profile pic for a link to my email. Thanks and ENJOY - Jared

New Commissions

Graphite Portrait Commissions, 11x14", 2009
I was privileged to fulfill the commission request for John R., a new acquaintance and parent of two strapping young lads. I met John at Camp Smile-A-Mile at the Remembering Their Smiles memorial night. He was so impressed with the portraits that were donated to the families of Camp SAM that he wanted to have a couple made of his two sons. I think that these relatively inexpensive graphite portraits are something that every family should look into. My hope is that these artworks will become respective heirlooms which go from generation to generation. I really wanted to take on the challenge of the wool sweater in the one portrait. Normally I try to neutralize the clothing to some degree so as to help it be impervious to fashion trends over the years (you don't want viewers 20 years from now looking at the portrait and laughing at the clothing) but I really thought the seasonal sweater will be something that hangs around as long as there are great-aunts and grandmothers to be found:) If you're interested in having a portrait commissioned, please contact me at or click on my blog profile for a link to my email. Enjoy - Jared

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Portrait of Cailin

Cailin, graphite 12x21" approx., 2009
While I was working on the Camp Smile-A-Mile children's portraits a few weeks back, I took a break to do a portrait of my beautiful wife. Most of the time she gets short-changed when it comes to art because I am usually fulfilling gallery requests or commission pieces. I normally try to keep commission works at standard sizes so that framing isn't too expensive later on. But for Cailin's portrait I really just went with what I thought looked like an interesting size. I really enjoyed this extremely vertical composition. This was taken before Cailin chopped off her beautiful long hair for Locks of Love. It hangs in my studio to give me company during my other obligations. Hope you enjoy - Jared

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Portrait Series Welcomes Jacko

Jacko, 24x24" acrylic on Masonite, 2009 $1200
(scroll below to purchase)

Recently I was contacted by a good friend of mine and artist, Mike "Jenk" Jenkins (you can see some of his artwork on this blog) who needed help filling up the empty wall space in a new restaurant in town. The Chop House (formerly the Vintage Year) is in Montgomery's historic Old Cloverdale district and will be a high end dining experience. Because the art market here in Montgomery, AL has not been red hot lately I pulled some of my artwork from the Charleston House Gallery to transfer them to the walls of the Chop House. When Jenk came by my studio to pic up the pieces he noticed my pop culture portrait series on the walls and said that he would like to take them to the restaurant as well. I enjoy these portraits, all part of The Entitled - The UnEntitled series, but never considered them an option for a high-end steakhouse. Oh was I wrong.... they have become the talk of all patrons since the Chop House doors opened. The only change that was made to the series was this addition of Michael Jackson. The owners of the restaurant wanted someone to replace Saddam Hussein who was originally one of the 12 portraits.

New celebrity and who's who names are popping up weekly so I am excited to be able to do more of these portraits. I hope to post more additions to the series soon. - Jared

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Remembering Andrew Long

Andrew Van Long
December 22, 1998 – September 20, 2007
Andrew was born on December 22 but we brought him home on Christmas day. What a wonderful reminder of the gift that was his life. He was kind hearted, sweet and stubborn. He loved to laugh and would talk with you at length on just about any subject. He had a mop of blonde hair and the most beautiful blue eyes. Andrew lived for just over 8 ½ years; valiantly battling cancer for more than 3 of them. We could not be more proud of him and we will never forget him. - Anne Long

Camp Smile-A-Mile Portraits

Back in July I had the blessing of sharing my artistic talents with ten very special families from Camp Smile-A-Mile. These families were part of a larger group which met during the Remembering Their Smiles night which is a new program of Camp SAM that aims to bring families together who have lost a child to cancer. Each family present that night had a child who had attended Camp SAM during his or her struggle with this horrible disease. Through close collaboration with Jennifer Queen, Camp SAM's Program Director, I was able to find a way to gift these families a portrait of their child being remembered that day. Each family who accepted this offer received a 9x12" graphite portrait. The Charleston House gallery in Montgomery, AL was nice enough to provide museum quality framing for each portrait at an unbelievably low cost which was covered by Camp SAM. The final products were sacred offerings and brought the spirit of each child before the viewer.

From this experience I was able to form a unique relationship with these ten children, each of whom I never had the opportunity to meet, yet I feel very much "close" to each child after staring at their visage for several hours during the creation of the portraits. I am positive that someday I will get to meet each child and I am sure that I will not be surprised to see that they now have more energy and good-health than I have ever known possible in my life here on Earth. I look forward to that day very much!

I have asked each family to decide whether or not they want to have their child's portrait posted on this blog. I hope that you will be able to see many, if not all of them soon. Each family will write a post to accompany the image of the portrait. Please be aware that there are many among us who are dealing with trials which we may never come close to fully understanding and it is therefore important that we do what we can to lighten the load of our neighbor; lend a hand or use your talents to bring happiness into their otherwise difficult reality. I hope that each of you may discover your own strengths as well as ways in which you may magnify those gifts. Thanks and God bless - Jared