Sisters by Wendy Roberts

24 X 36
Oil Paint

This oil painting depicts my daughters at the beach during this ephermeral phase of life for the two sisters. Elysia is entering the sunset of childhood, while Sora is already a teenager. They are three years apart in age, and this is one of the most divergent times in their lives, emotionally and physically. I love the contrast of their ages. It’s a visual reminder of how fast children grow up. Every day Elysia is catching up to Sora’s height and closing the gap in maturity. Soon I will have two teenagers. Although childhood never lasts, hopefully they will never outgrow their love of dipping toes in the tidepools and exploring the ocean’s edge. The idea for this piece began with Google Art Project. It’s kind of like Pinterest in high resolution for artists, and if you are an artist or love looking at masterpieces up close, you should really check this out – it has images of the paintings in such high resolution that you can zoom in and look at individual strokes. Nothing beats seeing a painting in person, but this is the next best thing. In my Google Gallery, I had selected maybe 10 or so beautiful Victorian era paintings of people on the beach in white clothing to go in my gallery of favorite portraits. Until I placed this collection of paintings side by side, I had not noticed my fascination with this theme. I love the way white cloth looks clean and minimal, yet it reflects all the colors around it. I had always wanted to paint my daughters, and I realized this was the setting I wanted.

It took a few months to get the right elements to line up for a photo session. First we were too busy, there was a lot of traffic to contend with so we could easily be late to the beach, especially if the beach was too far away. Often the sunset colors were not vivid enough or it was too cloudy. One time, we couldn’t get ready fast enough. Another time, we went to Kailua beach, but the lighting wasn’t how I wanted it to look. I finally chose a beach I could reach at the correct time (Magic Island), a day when the clouds were just right, and caught a great group of reference photos with my Nikon. Once I had the reference photos, I also used artistic license to change up the image so that it would better convey how the moment felt on an emotional level, and I could pick and choose certain elements from multiple photos to get the best results for the painting. It took a lot of effort, but I enjoyed the challenge and am happy to have a record of this time in our lives.