January 20th, 2012
Mark mentioned in his last blog that we’ve been doing some experimenting with close up portraits of individuals, and last week he photographed Malina Coto. She is stunning, and a perfect model for the project. I thought it would be fun to post a quick sketch I’ve made from Mark’s camera study. Malina and her mother Yadi are coming to the studio today to see all the images, and I’ll be sure to post the painting when I complete it in a month or two.
January 16th, 2012
Remember film? Back in the olden days, I was a wedding photographer when there were no easy-to-use digital cameras. The challenges were completely different, and few people dared to be photographers. We typically shot between 180-200 images at an entire 9 hour wedding. We had to plan ahead, to think carefully and to know before we even clicked the shutter exactly what the end result would be. Things were so different then
Those years of experience shooting weddings launched me into what I hope is a lifelong career in portraiture. From the very beginning I’ve been blessed. I’ve had incredible opportunities to create innumerable portraits of people all over the world.
And, I get to do what I love most. My passion is for families: especially families with grandparents, little children and everyone in between.
I also love the equestrian world that has welcomed me so graciously. I’m experiencing an intensely creative time of doing individual portraits. Some of these are young children and “soon-to-be adult” young men and women. I’m collaborating with April in painted portraiture.
It’s a time of great experimentation that’s based on years of experience with you, my kind and trusting clients.
It may be time for you to update your portrait. Heather Hawkins and her family came back last year and we created this gorgeous portrait. Wouldn’t it be fun for you to have something equally interesting – and beautiful – made this year? I hope to hear from you soon.
January 3rd, 2012
April and I went to see The Artist, which is a wonderful contemporary silent film in black and white. It’s true that a picture says a thousand words, and this silent film reminded me of why I love what I do: Thanks to my clients, I get to tell the visual stories of their lives. Exciting things await in 2012!
December 22nd, 2011
Wow, what a year! Mark and I got to talking about 2011, and came away with an incredible sense of gratitude. God has blessed us through countless people, and especially through our clients.
In 2011, we saw many of you come back to update your portraits. What a compliment that is! Mark’s commissions have been more diverse than ever: under scruffy beach bridges, in crowded urban settings, at gorgeous estates from Montecito to Newport Beach, and at our studio property in Calabasas. We even photographed my 90 year old dad’s wedding! On top of that, Mark published a book for RideOn Therapeutic Horsemanship, and we helped raise thousands of dollars for many other charities as well.
It means the world to us that so many people continue to seek us out, and then come back again and again. You enable us to do what we love most: tell visual stories. We can’t thank you all enough. If we haven’t heard from you in awhile, we’d love to reconnect.
We wish you peace and joy this Christmas season and in the coming year.
April and Mark
December 15th, 2011
A couple of years back, Mark and I thought it would be interesting to create a family portrait for our (then) pregnant daughter Kelly and her husband Andrew Harman, at the crowded Balboa Pier in Newport Beach. Everyone who we know loves the images, which hang as a gallery in her home.
Now that Luke has come along, they need a new portrait. I thought it would be fun for Mark to take them to the Grove in LA. It didn’t occur to me that a Sunday afternoon would be an insane time to do a portrait there. Nevertheless, everyone was up for the idea.
As usual, Mark pulled it off beautifully. The portraits will make another wonderful grouping for Kelly, and it will be a very special gift that she’ll enjoy for a long time!
I’m so proud of Mark – it takes a bit of nerve to shoot in some of the locations we’ve been visiting lately.
November 19th, 2011
Ah, the digital age.
When digital imaging was first introduced, the color wasn’t exactly great. Actually, it seemed improbable that digital images could ever measure up to traditional printing methods. I can’t tell you how many times Mark rejected work from the lab because the people looked grey. As in dead.
But, boy, things have changed.
Those of us who’ve been doing this for a long time have been stretched, we’ve complained, and (finally!) we discovered something new about ourselves as artists.
Change is good.
Here are some images from a session we did with Andrew and Frances Bransby and their family. Both Mark and I love the dramatic role that design and color play in the top one, which Andrew and Frances ordered as a 48” image.
I also love that Mark understands classic portraiture and lighting, and that we’ve been doing this long enough to know that they really art pieces our clients love for decades. So, we have come to love both the happy innovation of the seemingly impromptu portrait, and yet we also know that classic portraiture will endure all the passing trends.
What an incredible time we live in, don’t you think?.
November 12th, 2011
There are two portraits of women in our painting studio right now. They seem so completely unlike one another, yet to me, I’m not so sure.
Whitney lives here in Southern California, and has been trained in classical ballet. She is refined and elegant, and she dreams of a future career as a ballerina. Whitney is already an artist in her own right, having danced for both dignitaries and little ballerinas in training. She brings a lot of joy to many people. Mark loved her confident gracefulness, and he captured it beautifully in this painting.
The other portrait is of a simple woman who lives with her husband, a potato farmer on the untamed slopes above Cuszo, Peru. She has no electricity, and only recently installed running water inside her home. Yet like women around the globe, she too loves beauty. I can’t help but notice that she has painted the inside of her adobe hut robins egg blue. Mark met her family on his recent trip to Peru and wanted to make an image that says she too, lives a rich and beautiful life.
True beauty and wealth actually have so little to do with where we live and what we own. It has far more to do with gratitude to the Creator God who made each one of us in His image.
What an amazing talent Mark has, that he could so well depict the stories of two women living different, equally wonderful lives.
I’m a little bit jealous.
November 7th, 2011
As you probably know, Mark recently published the book Grand Prix Hopes as a fundraiser for RideOn Therapeutic Horsemanship. Mark and I thought that’d he have a little more free time now that it is done. Alas, he is still working 6 days a week.
We thought it would be fun for me to blog on Mark’ behalf until things calm down around here. Besides, I love bringing a different viewpoint to Mark’s creative story. So, here we go…
Topping my list for great – no ,incredible – news is the feature story you’ll find in the 805 Living Magazine this month titled Giving Back. It begins with a full page photograph of one of Mark’s equestrian paintings, and mentions the new book we keep talking about.
We are so grateful to Lynne Andujar and 805 Living for this article, and also for making it a priority to feature a charitable cause in almost every issue.
Mark worked so hard on the book, and it was really wonderful to open the magazine to page 23 and see it!
That’s all for now,
October 25th, 2011
My mom’s getting up in years. She and I are the last 2 of my original family remaining from the original 4 who did life together for decades. Mom is the one who took us to the photographer up the road from our house in Banning every year for our family portrait. She’s the one who got me my first camera so I could photograph President Eisenhower when he visited my first grade class in Banning, Ca.
My mother leaves a rich legacy. She had a wonderful daughter (my sister Marla), and she has 4 granddaughters and 3 great grandchildren. Not as big as your family, perhaps, but they are mine, and every single one of them is dear to me.
I wish I could gather my original little family together again and photograph a simple day in our lives. But if I can’t do that with mine, the second best thing for me would be to capture that for YOU. If your family is getting together for the holidays, wouldn’t it be great to have a family portrait experience that gives you the treasure of both a beautiful portrait for the wall, as well as a photographic essay that captures what life was about while you were all just together enjoying a day in your lives together?
October 4th, 2011
Most of you might expect that the best day one could experience in Peru would be watching the first rays of sunrise on Machu Picchu. Not so for me…although that sunrise was incredible. More on that later.On Sept. 7th, after spending so many days in the smog and haze of Lima, Aaron Young and I had the privilege of visiting a Quetchuan couple who live in the mountains above Cusco. They live at an altitude just short of 14,000 feet, and are farmers who grow root vegetables…potatoes, onions, beets, etc. The air is thin, but it’s the view from the front door of their low, adobe home that will take your breath away.
I don’t know but a few words of Spanish, and I know nothing of the Quetchuan language, but I didn’t need words to absorb the lesson God taught me that day.
Here’s a couple who have four children, and their two older children walk about 6 hours one way to school (they’re gone from Monday to Friday). They have no electricity, just recently got running water, and the “kitchen” where they cook their simple meals is basically just a two burner wood stove.
Are they poor? I don’t think so. Personally, I believe they live a very rich life.
I didn’t want to leave…I’ll probably go back. But even if I don’t, I’ll remember their smiles, and their affection for each other for many years to come. Their joy wasn’t because of worldly comforts. It was because of relationships with each other, with their family, with the land they till, and with their God.
Lesson learned…Lord help me live it here.