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dark and mysterious works....

31 October 2008 31 comments

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Ivan Albright (1943)

Ivan Le Lorraine Albright (February 20, 1897 - November 18, 1983) was a magic realist painter and artist, most renowned for his self-portraits, character studies, and still lifes.
Ivan Albright and his identical twin brother, Malvin, were born near Chicago in North Harvey, Illinois, to Adam Emory Albright and Clara Wilson Albright. Their father was a landscape painter, and came from a family of master gunsmiths, whose original name was "Albrecht". The brothers were inseparable during childhood, and throughout much of their young adulthood. Both enrolled in The Art Institute of Chicago, a coin-flip deciding that Ivan would study painting and Malvin sculpture. Ivan particularly admired the work of El Greco and Rembrandt, but was quick to develop a style all his own.

Adam Albright moved his wife and sons to Warrenville, Illinois in 1924.
Albright attended Northwestern University, but dropped out and took up studies in architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During World War I he did medical drawings for a hospital in Nantes, France, morbid work that probably influenced his later style. After working in architecture and advertising briefly he was pushed away by commercialism and took seriously to painting. After living in Philadelphia through most of 1925 and 1926, he returned to Illinois, where he began to achieve some substantial success, having his first show in 1930.
Among Albright's typically dark, mysterious works are some of the most meticulously executed paintings ever made, often requiring years to complete. Lace curtains or splintered wood would be recreated using brushes of a single hair. The amount of effort that went into his paintings made him quite possessive of them. Even during the Great Depression he charged 30 to 60 times what comparable artists were charging, with the result that sales were infrequent. In order to survive he relied on the support of his father, and took odd carpentering jobs. An early painting of his, The Lineman won an award and made the cover of Electric Light and Power, a trade magazine. However his stooped and forlorn portrayal caused controversy among the readership, who did not consider such an image representative. The editors later distanced themselves from Albright's work.
Albright focused on a few themes through most of his works, particularly death, life, the material and the spirit, and the effects of time. He painted very complex works, and their titles matched their complexity. He would not name a painting until it was complete, at which time he would come up with several possibilities, more poetic than descriptive, before deciding on one. Such an example is Poor Room - There is No Time, No End, No Today, No Yesterday, No Tomorrow, Only the Forever, and Forever and Forever Without End (The Window), the last two words actually describing the painting (it was as such the painting is generally referred). Another painting, And Man Created God in His Own Image, was called God Created Man in His Own Image when it toured the South. One of his most famous paintings, which took him some ten years to complete, was titled That Which I Should Have Done I Did Not Do (The Door), which won top prize at three major exhibitions in New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia in 1941. The prize at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York earned him a $3,500 purchase award and a place in the permanent collection, but, not willing to part with the work for less than $125,000, Albright took the First medal instead, allowing him to keep the painting. Albright was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1942.

In 1943 he was commissioned to create the title painting for Albert Lewin's film adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. His realistic, but exaggerated, depictions of decay and corruption made him very well suited to undertake such a project. His brother was chosen to do the original uncorrupted painting of Gray, but the painting used on the film was from Henrique Medina. Ivan made the changes in the painting during the film. This original painting currently resides in the Art Institute of Chicago.

Albright was a prolific artist throughout his life, working as a printer and engraver as well as a painter. He made his own paints and charcoal, and carved his own elaborate frames. He was a stickler for detail, creating elaborate setups for paintings before starting work. He was obsessive about lighting to the point that he painted his studio black, and wore black clothing to cut out potential glare.
Later in life Albright lived in Woodstock, Vermont. His last visit to his old home town of Warrenville, Illinois was in 1978. The City declared Ivan Albright Day, and honored Albright with a full day of festivities. Albright's biographer, Michael Croydon, was on hand to present the newly-published richly-illustrated book called Ivan Albright. The library featured a large display of photographs from Albright's years spent in Warrenville.
Despite much time spent traveling the world, he never stopped working. Albright made over twenty self-portraits in his last three years, even on his deathbed, drawing the final ones after a stroke. He died in 1983.
On the 100th anniversary of Ivan Albright’s birth, February 20, 1997, the Art Institute of Chicago opened a major show of his work. Appears the Man, a photograph of Ivan Albright and his most famous work, The Picture of Dorian Gray, can be found in the Warrenville Gallery located at the Warrenville, Illinois City Hall.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is considered one of the last works of classic gothic horror fiction with a strong Faustian theme. It deals with the artistic movement of the decadents, and homosexuality, both of which caused some controversy when the book was first published. However, in modern times, the book has been referred to as "one of the modern classics of Western literature."

thanks to SHARON HART for her insights on this subject

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Music Monday - Que Sera, Sera

27 October 2008 37 comments

(Whatever Will Be, Will Be) - Doris Day

for daughter ...who is seventeen ...this song is for you...

thanks to Mariuca for introducing me to Music Monday......

Come join us in the Music Monday and share your songs with us ok. Leave the actual link to the post here and we will all go and visit you :)
Please note this links are strictly for Music Monday participants.

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A Royal Tag for Peace

23 October 2008 21 comments

November 6, 2008

Get your own peace globe at Mimi Writes

I have been tagged by Mimi, the Queen of Memes to join the Blog for Peace Project
The story.

The Peace Globe project began in the fall of 2006 with a simple post from one blog, Mimi Writes. The post ignited a flame in the blogosphere. The flame became a passion. The passion became a movement. It amazingly traveled from blog to blog to blog across the globe. Bloggers wrote passionate articles on what peace means to them, along with the promise of three Latin words scribbled on a globe - Dona Nobis Pacem (Grant Us Peace) - branded with the integrity of their names or blog names. It was positively inspiring to watch. And it began to happen all over the world - from Singapore to China to Afghanistan to Brooklyn.
It was simple. And powerful.
In less than three weeks bloggers from all across the globe will blog for peace.We will speak with one voice. One subject. One day.Won't you join us?
Join The Revolution

Here are the rules
(1) Copy this into a post (2) ADD YOUR NAME to the bottom of the tag list(3) Tag as many people as you'd like.
How To Get Your Peace Globe
In 4 easy steps!
1. Right CLICK and SAVE the peace globe from the designs here.
2. Sign the globe using Paint, Photoshop or a similar graphics tool. Decorate the globe anyway you wish. You can even include the name of your blog. Click here for hundreds of inspiring examples from previous BlogBlasts.
3. Return the peace globe to Mimi via email ~ mimiwrites2005 at - Let her know your blog's name and url by leaving a comment here and signing the Mr. Linky. Your submission will be numbered and dated in the official gallery . Your globe and post will be listed on the Official BlogBlast For Peace website and The Peace Globe Posts page.
Here's the most important part.
4. On November 6, 2008 DISPLAY YOUR GLOBE IN A POST. Title your post "Dona Nobis Pacem". This is important. The goal is for all blog post titles to say the same thing on the same day. Write about peace or simply fly your globe.
Go HERE for the other 3 globe template choices!)

Mimi Queen of Memes, has royally tagged the following.......
(Before you copy this list on your blogs, ADD YOUR OWN NAME to the bottom of the list. )

A Great Pleasure
A Journey Into The Mind & Life Of A Teenager
A Piece Of My Mind
A Room Of Crazy Scrapper
A Simple Life
A Word In Edgewise
Alasandra & The Cats
Amazing Life
Amel's Realm
Amori,poesie,arte,chat by Hanna
And Miles To Go Before We Sleep...
Angell'z Secretz
Another Desert Rat
Anyhow Blogs
Anything Goes
Apples Of The Eyes
Are We There Yet?
Are You Grateful?
Asara's Mental Meanderings
Ask A Lesbian
Attitude, The Ultimate Power
Backroads West Virginia
Balitang Kalye
Beggar's Shot Glass
Betty's This and That
Bijoux & Banter
Billy Warhol's Billion Dollar Baloney
Bits and Pieces
Bits and Pieces by Jan
Blessings In Life
Blogger Happy
Blue Dreamer's Top Five
Bogie's Wonderland
Byrningbunny's Challenge Page
Cafe At the End Of The Universe
california is a recipe for a black hole
Candid Karina
Cap'n Dyke Lesbian Pirate Queen and Rogue Blogger
Captain Picard's Journal
Carver's Site Or Is That Sight?
Castle Of Nannbugg
Cathy's Resurrection Corner
Caught In The Stream
Chanel's Journal
Chocolate Mint Girl
Chronicles and Tales Unlimited (RED)
Chrysalis Angel
Clean And Simple
Comedy Plus
Communique by Ivanhoe
Crazy Working Mom
Crows and Daisies
Daisy The Curly Cat
Dana's Random Blatherings
Dating Profile Of The Day
Deep DownThe Heart
Diario de Iza
Dixie's Heart And Soul
Dottie's Place
Down River Drivel
Drowsey Monkey
Duward Discussion
Emila's Illustrated Blog
Everyday Healy
Everything and Nothing
Expressions and Thoughts
Feathering On My Nest
Fil-Am Never Ending Stories
Filipina In Hawaii
Find Out What Jen Finds
Fishing Around
Foster Me Up
Foxxyfyrre's Honk 'n Hollr
From The Roads
Good thoughts, good trades, good life
Hahn At Home
Happy and Scrappy In Ohio
Happy Life
Health Psych
Heart Of Rachel
Hello?....Is This Thing On?
Hnetka Goes HMmmm
Hobbies And Such
Home In France
Hootin' Anni's
Idaho Daily Photo
In Search Of Life
Inner Wall
Isis Dominguez Lahora
It's All Good
It's Not A Weekend: It's A Lifestyle
It's Sanni-licious
JB's Small World
Journey To Authenticity
Julie Pippert: Using My Words
Julie's Blog
Julie's Jewels & Junque
Just About Scrapping
Just Me And My Creations
Just Write
Keep Fondly In My Mind (Twinkletoe)
Kids, Cats, & Books....What Else Is There?
Lakeside Lair
Larry Hnetka Goes HMmmm
Last Minute Lyn's Life
Late Bloomer Boomer
Late Night Latte
Leaf Float Down River
Leaping Before I Look
Life and Adventure
Life Is A Roller Coaster
Life's A Dance You Learn As You Go
Lowdown From Lois
Luz de Luma, yes party!
Mama Pajama
Managing Autism
Marie Millard
Mattress Police
Maya's Window
Meezer Tails
Memoirs Of A Chaotic Mom
Mickey's Musings
Mighty Mom
Mimi Writes
Minnesota Mom
Minority Kills
Modern Musings
Mom Knows Everything
Mom's Musings
moms...check nyo
Monday Morning Power
Mother Of Shrek
Ms Cellania
Much Of A Muchness
My Blog Rules
My Colorful World
My Dogs Keep Me Sane
Namnet's Philosophizing Playground
New England Lighthouse Treasures
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Nyumix's Blog
O'Ceallaigh & The Quill
On A Limb With Claudia
On The Wall
Opinionated Black Woman
Our Two Little Princes
Pet Monologues
Pimp Your Blog
Pinaymama's Dairy
Points Of View
Precious Moments
Queen-Size Funny Bone
Quilly's Pacific...Paradise?
Ramblings and Whatnot
Ramblings Of An Idle Insomniac
Random Autumness
Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts
Rojoy's Daily Update
Rooms Of My Heart
Rose Of Sharon
Rose' World
Royal Kitties
Run Away Thoughts Of EMZ
Sacred Ruminations
Sarah Spelled The Right Way
Sarge Charlie
Saturday 9
Screw Perfection
Second Effort
Secret Agent Mama
Secret Monologues
Shannon's Moments of Introspection
Ship's Log Of GT281
Simply Sassy
Slavery Bliss
Space Of Reality
Speedcat Hollydale
Straight Forward Comic
Strange But True
Stray Thoughts
Sunday Stealing with Judd Corizan
Tangled Up In Twyla
Tarheel Ramblings
Teacher Julie
Tell Me About It
Teri Teri Quite Contrary
Tertium Quid
That Grrrl
The Backwoods Drifter
The Beacon
The Best Is Yet To Come
The Big Leather Couch
The Calalilly Space
The Cookie Sheet
The Evil Blogger Twin
The Furry Bambinos
The Furry Diva
The Gaytheist Agenda
The House Of The Flying Monkeys
The Ice Box
The Junk Drawer
The Kat House
The Morning Meeting
The Painted Veil
The Puppy's Palace
The Random Forest
The Rising Blogger
The Salty Mooch
The Starr Ann Chronicles
This And That
this is Jo Kate Moss, but not
This That and The Other Thing
Trav's Thoughts
Twisted Sister
Vaguetarian Tea Room
Valerie Joy
Valley Girl
Vixen's Den
Wading Through My Stream of Consciousness
Wandering Consciousness
Weird Sanctuary
Weird Sanctuary
What She Said Too
When Silence Speaks
When Your Only Tool Is A Hammer
Will Think 4 Wine
Will Write For Food
Witty Writer Gal
Wonderland Or Not
Work Of The Poet
World So Wide
Writer Cramps
WTIT Tape Radio
Your Caring Angels
Zaius Nation
Driven To Distraction
Why? What Have You Heard?
....................................YOUR NAME HERE.


The Uber Amazing Blog Award

Mariuca's friend Ruby
passed this award on to her and then Mariuca passed it onto me. Thanks very much Mariuca...
Uber (synonym to Super) Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to sites who:
~ inspires you
~ makes you smile and laugh
~ or maybe gives amazing information
~ a great read
~ has an amazing design~ and any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing!
The rules of this award are:
* Put the logo on your blog or post.
* Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
* Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog.
* Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.


this was a fun tag from Mariuca too. She was tagged by Nick
I have to name 5 quirky things about me so here they are:
1. I once stood under a horse when I was little.
2. I eat a lot of chicken and I mean a lot..
3. I like to dance to any music a lot..
4. I drink very strong tea..3 teabags..
5. I've lost count of the number of paintings and portraits that I've painted over ..

I am not tagging anyone in particular...
I'm just leaving the tags open to everyone on my 2008 Blogroll...

If you wish to participate in any of these tags let me know in the comments section and I will add your name..

Silent Voices Loud Screams

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Portraits in the Pink

19 October 2008 32 comments

Jonathan Yeo
Study for a Portrait

Because it is Breast Cancer Month I have decided to showcase some of my favourite portraits in pink.
These works all feature stunning portraits with a focus on pink.
Don't forget to click on the banner to support Breast Cancer too..

Esther Erlich has been exhibiting her figurative works since 1983..
She was the winner of the prestigious Doug Moran National Portrait Prize in 1998 and the Archibald People’s Choice Award in 2000.
Her paintings and drawings feature in prominent public and private collections throughout Australia and overseas including collections of the National Portrait Gallery, National Library and Performing Arts Museum.
Esther Erlich lives and works in Melbourne.
Esther Erlich is represented by:

Andy Warhol
Turquoise Marilyn
See also: Famous Marilyn Monroe Quotes, 4 Marilyns, Pink Marilyn Monroe

Annie Leibovitz
MARCH 2008: “FRESH FACES” Emily Blunt, Amy Adams, Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway, Alice Braga, Ellen Page, Zoë Saldana, Elizabeth Banks, Ginnifer Goodwin, and America Ferrera.
V.F.’s Hollywood Issue: The Annie Leibovitz Covers
It all began in 1995 with 10 alluring beauties on a three-page foldout cover. With the current issue—fronted by fresh faces Emily Blunt, Amy Adams, Jessica Biel, and Anne Hathaway—Vanity Fair marks the 14th year of its gigantic annual Hollywood Issue, and thus the 14th year of Annie Leibovitz’s spectacular gatefold covers. These classic photographs capture Tinseltown talent and glamour like nothing else. Here’s a look back at all of them. (The left third of each image is what was visible on the cover before unfolding.)
photographs by Annie Leibovitz WEB EXCLUSIVE February 5, 2008
View Slideshow

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Put an end to Poverty

15 October 2008 25 comments

Rations of Fresh Produce Following World War II, c.1946 by George Rodger
Rations of Fresh Produce Following World War II, c.1946

“Poverty is the worst form of violence.”

Mahatma Gandhi quotes (Indian Philosopher, internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent protest, 1869-1948)
Similar Quotes. About: Poverty quotes.

Lump sum payment 'delivers relief to pensioners'

Pensioner groups have welcomed the Federal Government's decision to offer a lump sum payment to pensioners as part of the Federal Government's move to inject $10.4 billion into the Australian economy. [More]

Single aged pensioners will receive a payment of $1,400. (ABC News: file photo)

Video: Kevin Rudd announces the package (ABC News)
Related Story: Pensioners big winners in $10.4b stimulus splurge

Check it out!!!
WIN: The Learn About Poverty Blog Action Day Competition

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A Perfect Day for Lunch

10 October 2008 38 comments

well it's been a busy week with the launch of the

Win a Free Portrait for Christmas # 3

and it's off to a good start!!!
9 entries so far and all great choices..
I took a break today to have lunch with some very good friends..the weather was springtime perfect and my "stuffed" capsicum dish turned out pretty ok too...

I've had some lovely deliveries to my mail box over the last few weeks ..
the gorgeous portrait of Charlotte painted by
Christy and I couldn't help buying these adorable fairy works as well!!
I also bought these wonderful SWAN photos and cards from
many thanks gals!!! you are true professionals...
I can't wait to get these framed!!!
click on the image to zoom

meanwhile Alexander and Kelly's Portrait has been peering over my October is definitely the month for a little less procrastination and a lot more painting.....

More Awards...

muchas gracios to John for the wonderful Arty Pico Award (awarded to John by The Zen-Images Ikebana Blog)
The bloggers at
Arte y Pico (this is a Spanish language blog, so if you don't read Spanish, get your Internet translators ready) created the Arte y Pico Award to honor artists who create, design, and inspire regardless of language or culture. It's an international award for a global community of artist-bloggers, acknowledging that what we create helps make the world a finer place.

Here are the rules for the Arte y Pico Award:
1) Award five blogs that contribute to the blogging community through creativity, design, and interesting material, regardless of language.
2) Name each of the five blog authors and provide a link to his or her blog.
3) Award recipients must show the Arte y Pico Award image and the name of the award-giving blog author, as well as the award-giving blog author's blog link.
4) Award recipients must provide a link to the Arte y Pico blog.
5) Award recipients must show these rules.

I am passing this award onto the following outstanding artists:
1. Amy 2. Christy 3. Jacquelyn 4. Sharon 5. Corrine and 6. Boyd

and a big thank you to the lovely Jackie @ The Painted Veil for the beautiful Butterfly award...
check out her absolutely stunning photos and wonderful blog makeover by those talented Cats
Chica & Pumuckl !!
I'm passing this award to my TOP 5 Droppers at EC..thanks so much for your visits and support...
Turnip of Power
Picture to People
Online Games
Photography by KML and
Technically Easy

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Win a Free Portrait for Christmas # 3

5 October 2008 59 comments

Christmas is coming around quite fast again this year so I thought it was time to ANNOUNCE my 3rd Win a Free Portrait Competition...

Portrait of Kelly
Portrait of Charlotte
Portrait of Andre Rieu


A free portrait of ONE subject of your OR...your partner OR.....your son/daughter OR...your grannie OR...your favourite pet!!!
value: $6,000+ plus free postage (including international)
size/medium: Acrylic or Oil on Gallery Wrapped Canvas/90cm x 1m
Judge - Jan Dean

Entry Details:

1. → Post about the competition on your blog with a link back to laketrees

2. → Subscribe to laketrees by Email

3. → Comment in this post to let me know when you have done 1 and 2 and write a short paragraph describing who you would choose for your portrait and why...

About the Judge - Jan Dean

As a resident of Cardiff, Lake Macquarie, Jan Dean has published widely in journals, anthologies and the literary pages of newspapers. She has won prizes in local and national competitions, and her poems have been selected for inclusion in the Best Australian Poetry (UQP) and The Best Australian Poems (Black Inc).

With One Brush includes a selection of her previously published and awarded poems.
Aftermath by Jan Dean
Jan Dean - Guest Poet @ PoeARTica

Conditions of Entry

# The Portrait is for ONE person/subject only
# The comment/paragraph should be about 250 words in total.
# The portrait will be declared as a gift and will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity (for insurance purposes)
# Postage will be paid for by me. I will not be responsible for payment of excess delivery tax etc (in your country) upon delivery to you.
# Please allow 6 weeks for completion and delivery of Portrait.
# The prize shall be awarded to the entry which on the recommendation of the Judge is considered to have the highest literary merit.
# The Judge's decision shall be final and no correspondence will be entered into with regard to the Judge's decision
# The Winner will be announced in the first week of November.
# The winner will be required to provide a minimum of two A4 clear, colour photographs of the subject (these can be emailed in JPEG format).

Competition closes on the 31st October 2008 at 12 pm

the Entries so far....

1. Netster
I like to take part in this contest too. I like to win a portrait of my mom.
Every time I look into my mom eyes I know there’s one thing she kept screaming and screaming inside. My lack of present with her, I know I’m dumb! I am near and yet so far. I spend very least time with my mom it’s hard to explain why. I was her gold and I can’t be parted with her when I was young, I would cry so hard that people around me just hate me because I’m loud! I love my mom so much that I just can’t live without her! But that’s has changed, I guess life taught me to be independence and I cry no more and I was so independence that I forgot to go home and when I did, I just don’t know what to do or say. I wish I could still be so close, I like to be her baby again like she uses to cuddle me when I cry, happy or sad. Buy me stuff when I act cute bring to me to every where she go and in her heart I was the number one.
If I win this portrait I will try to make it work again… “Mom I have something special for you and it’s really really special!” I hope to see her shinning eyes with hope and dream again.

2. Daily Blissings
I wanna win this so bad I'm nearly wetting my pants. Ever since Leonie Allan did a customised soul art piece for me I'm now keen to have an original portrait of my husband to sit beside "me" on the wall.

3. Lilly's Life
I would love to win a portrait of my only child, my daughter Jordan. Just to remember the way she looks at a point in time. She changes her style regularly as per this post Message from your Mother so I never know what is coming next. She is the joy of my life even though she lives far away.

4. Sharon Hart
If I am fortunate enough to win, I'd want you to paint my granddaughter's portrait because children grow so quickly that it's important to capture a sense of their beauty and innocence while they're young. I wish I had painted portraits of my kids when they were toddlers, but alas I was too busy playing 'mom' to paint.
One of my favorite quotations is by the author of the Little Prince,Antoine de Saint-Exupery: “A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” I'm not sure that there's a cathedral to be found within my granddaughter, but I'm confident if it's to be found, it'll be by an artist holding a paintbrush. Here's to the artists and to the "rocks" that await their vision!
The Heroic Tardis of Portraiture

5. John
Before photography there was a time that only a portrait could capture the depth and clarity of a face, a life, and of a soul. Since photography, portraiture still captures in mankind that which is less fleeting – a great portrait reveals a core that cannot be unearthed in 1/100 of a second. A good portrait preserves an age and a spirit, rather than a moment. In portraiture, art is generated by the synthesis of subject and a formidable painter. Kim, I believe daughter, Mariana, would be a wonderful subject for your commensurate talent. She is my little angel. Sorry for bragging.
Mariana is six, soon to be seven, and she is charming. She can play with dolls one minute and then score a goal past larger kids in soccer. Her eyes twinkle and she has a warm engaging smile. She is small for her age, but she is sharp and friendly and funny. She is photogenic,\ tough and kind. She would love to participate in the creation of a Kim Barker painting, to be a part of your vision and creativity. It would be an honor to your subject. Thank you for considering us…..
PS. To assist I can supply as many pictures as you need and can also post small video clips so that you get a sense of Mariana.

6. Le
I think I would ask to have my darling MIC captured ... he is father to our wee lads and is a little camera shy ... so I think this would work perfectly :) I even have the spot picked out

7. Bokjae
How many of you remember the song 'Protrait of My Love' sung by Matt Monroe back in the late 60's? The starting 2 lines go like this, There could never be, ....A portrait of my love...........
There is a such melancholy to hear the song and the pining for the love of his or her life!
For us this coming Christmas, number one on our Wish List will be 'A Portrait of our love'. We want it to be displayed in the family house for our future generation to know that marriage works. We cannot afford to have the portrait painted by re-known artist but hey! there is a chance to have your dream Portrait done for free by re-known artist from Australia!
We would like to have the photo on our blog here to be the subject for the portrait. It was the best smile Rock has since after her stroke and she looks perfectly happy! What a beautiful stroke survivor and it shows there is life after a stroke!

8. MissKris
On Christmas Eve my husband and I will be celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary. We eloped to Surfers Paradise and whilst we never had a professional photographer we were lucky enough to have one or two pictures snapped.
It would be so fantastic to be able to give my husband a portrait of our wedding for his anniversary gift.
My husband is my hero, he encourages me to go after my dreams and helps me each step of the way. He works incredibly hard to support our little family and always has time to listen to me ramble on about my day

9. Cindy
When I first thought about who I would really want to have a portrait of I thought of my Mother. But then I realized that could cause some hurt feelings and I wouldn't want to do that, though I would love to have a portrait of her. So, I thought, maybe I would like a portrait of my cat, Ricky. He's getting old and I won't have him much longer. A portrait of him would be a wonderful reminder and remembrance but, he is my cat and no one else is as partial to him as I am. Then, it came to me- I would choose a portrait of our old Smokey. Smokey belonged to all of us and was a member of our family for nearly 17 years. He's been gone for two months now and I still keep listening for him to paw at the door, wanting to come in the house. I still cry when I remember that he won't be back. Some would say, "he was just a dog..." and he was, but he was also so much more to all of us. He was a member of our family and he was so loyal. When Smokey was about a year old (we've had him since he was four weeks old), our barn was hit by lightning. Smokey was in the barn. The barn was full of hay upstairs and the hay and the old barn timbers burnt very quickly. When we realized the barn was burning (just a moment or two after the lightning strike) we rushed to save any of the animals that we could. My sister who lived with us at the time was able to free Smokey and we worked at getting the other animals out until the fireman arrived and made us stop. We saved as many as we could but we were not able to get them all. Smokey was not hurt in the fire but he never forgot it and after that he would never even let the girls burn papers on their own. He would go with them to the burn barrel and wait until they were ready to go back to the house. He used to walk over town with the kids and would sit at the window in front of the store until they came out. He liked to watch them through the window and would wag his tail when they were in the candy aisle. Smokey loved candy- especially chocolate. I know- dogs are not supposed to have chocolate. We were never able to convince Smokey of that though and he once ate 6 pounds of chocolate Easter bunnies one Easter. Every night before he would lay down and sleep he would make a patrol through the house, making sure he knew where each person was sleeping. During thunder storms he would sleep for a little while in each person's room. When anyone, and it didn't matter if it was an adult or one of the kids, mowed the lawn Smokey walked beside the mower every step of the way. When the lawn was mowed Smokey's feet were green. We had a big lawn but he never missed a step. There were those who were not fans of Smokey and his vet clinic was full of them. Most of the vets were afraid of him. He would not let them muzzle him to give him any shots that he needed. The vets got so that one would lead him out back and pull his head through one of the headlocks, hanging on tight, while the other vet sneaked up behind Smokey to administer the shot. One day our oldest daughter accidentally ran over Smokey with the pick up. He ran and hid under the house and I ran to call the vet. On the other end of the line a tremulous voice asked me, "Is this for Smokey?" Expecting to hear "Bring him right in!" I told her that yes, it was Smokey that was hurt. She then told me, "Well,you know that they would have to knock him out to examine him and that's not good for head injuries. If he was able to run under the house, and if he's still alive after two hours, I would think that he's going to survive. He did.
The kids used to have a little campfire wood business as we lived close to the entrance of a state park. People used to pull in and get wood, leaving the money in a box if no one was home. One day a very large woman pulled in, loaded some wood in the trunk of her car and before she had time to get back in her car, Smokey suddenly realized that someone was there. He came flying around the corner of the house barking ferociously. Our pickup was right beside the woodpile and the lady must have thought safety was more quickly gained there than in her car. She put her hands on the tailgate of the pickup and her feet cleared it just about simultaneously. I never would have thought anyone quite so large could be so agile. We still laugh about that one.
So, you see, Smokey was way more than "just a dog". He was loved by each and every one of us and is missed terribly by us all. A portrait of him would be a wonderful tribute to his love and devotion to us and a wonderful reminder to us of our Smokey.

10. Jackie
Thank you Kim for this very special opportunity for everyone to have a chance to have their portrait done by you. You are a wonderful person with talent extraordinaire. Just the thought of possibly winning this fills my heart with so much happiness.
I started down this road we call life fifty one years ago. And like many, my road has been a tough one to follow. From the very start while still in my mother's womb the pattern was set and my destiny sealed to enter this world with many injustices to fight and over come.
I was blessed by God to be given the strength to fight the battles and win. For that I thank God every day. I thank him this very moment and ask his guidance in revealing my personal story of my life.
I am an adopted child. My biological mother was wild, careless, and would go forward, in life to have three children, of which, she kept none. I am the oldest of the three. I have a younger sister whom I have never met. Since I was the oldest she was never told by her adoptive parents that she had an older sibling.
A younger brother was born five years after me but died within seven hours. I was fortunate later in life to track down both of my biological parents, meet them, and confirm the story of how my life began and why things were done as they were.
My biological parents were in their twenties when I was conceived. They had been living together for a while but were not married. My father, an artist, wanted to get married and keep me. But, my mother did not want the responsibility. So she packed her bags and disappeared out of his life forever taking me along with her.
For many months she lived in a tent on the Sabine river in east Texas with her father in hiding while I was in her womb. What money she made during this time and for a great portion of her life was earned via smuggling heroin out of Mexico and into the United States.
My biological mother and my adoptive parents met through one of those illegal baby mill hospitals that we now hear so much about. This particular one was located in Henderson, Texas. It was closed down years and years ago. But, none the less, hundreds of babies were born there and adopted out. It was the place to go if you could not adopt anywhere else.
Also it was the perfect destination for any young woman wishing to hide the fact of her pregnancy, or to hide the birth of a child when the father would not consent to release parental rights.
So on January twenty third, nineteen hundred and fifty seven I was born. And for the sum of five thousand dollars the name on my official sealed birth certificate was falsified as was my mother's. My father was listed as unknown. The move was very successful. My heritage was stolen.
It would be almost forty five years later before I found my biological father and met him. He died six months after our meeting. He had spent his life time hoping to find me. I thank God to this day that his prayers were answered before he passed away. He never married and never had any other children. He lived his life in solitude with his art. Many of his paintings hang in some of the most prestigious homes and public places in the great state of Louisiana.
For an adoptive child there are so many questions that always linger in the back of your head: What is your heritage, why did they choose to give you away, what medical conditions are prevalent in your genetic make up, and who do you look like? In my case I did discover that it is my father whom I favor the most. And my oldest grandson is a walking twin of his lost biological great grand father. His passing was sudden and sadly I have no pictures of him.
I could continue on and type hundreds of words relating to many more obstacles that I have had to over come due to this illegal adoption. But, I won't out of respect for my parents who did adopt me. The only thing I will say is that they had been denied by the state to adopt for nine years. An illegal adoption was their only alternative.
The reasons for denial through the state were valid, critical and very responsible on the state's part. My child hood was very far removed from anything that could be deemed even reasonable much less normal. They are long since passed away also. Although my life as a child was difficult I still and always will love them.
I have been blessed with two wonderful, intelligent, talented and hard working daughters who both have hearts of gold. My oldest is an Assistant Professor of English Literature currently working on tenure track at one of the top twenty universities in the south eastern part of the United States.
My youngest is a registered nurse who is charge on her shift, in the emergency room, at a large and busy hospital. She is also the mother of my four most treasured and loved grandsons. They range in age from fourteen to five months old. They too are bright and very talented. All of them have the soul of an artist and the natural ability and talent that was handed down from some one that they have only heard stories about.
Perhaps it seems selfish to want the portrait done of myself. But, I have spent most of my adult life trying to put the pieces together related to my heritage. So that my off spring for generations to come will know theirs and where they draw the colors of their lives from.
To be able to also have a true family heirloom, a portrait of myself, painted by some one so special would be the ultimate gift to me, beyond my family, that I could ever hope for in this life time.
For generation after generation my decedents would not only know their heritage verbally. They would also have something tangible to look at. Yet another validation of where they come from and maybe even who they look like.

11. Jane
I would like the portrait of myself. Not that I am vain.but rather for the very simple fact that until I was in my 30's I never had anyone that I could identify with when I looked at a single photograph.
Until I found my birth mother and sister and the rest of the family in the UK and received some photos and was like OMG they look just like me..
For my own two beautiful children I would like them to be able to look upon such a portrait of me and always know where they came from and who their Mother is..There is nothing better than seeing yourself reflected in someone else and knowing that you belong...

12. Diane
I was going to enter this competition but after reading some of the other entries, I realised I couldn't even begin to come up with a reason why I should win that would compare with some of those, I don't envy the judge the task of choosing the winer!
As I already have a wonderful portrait of me drawn on paper which I won here last year (and I think the chances of winning twice are infinitesimal), a portrait on canvas would be a stunning thing to own, however, two portraits of me smacks of vanity!
So now, I have an even bigger problem - who to choose as a subject? One of my boys maybe? But who to choose? They are both so gorgeous in their very different ways - one dark, one blonde - I couldn't possibly choose between them. I have no partner at the moment so that's out - which leaves Milo...gorgeous in all his puppyness, which is going to pass so quickly. I have only owned him a week and already I can see changes. So I choose him so you can capture his cuteness, his puppy scruffiness and charm in your inimitable way. A wonderful moment frozen in time, with more character and depth than any photograph - and a portrait of him would be so suitable for one of your amazing monochrome paintings!
Now I'm off to post about this on my blog....

13. Amy
Kim has offered to do a portrait, a free portrait, worth thousands of dollars, as a gift, a free gift for someone for Christmas. This gift that Kim is offering is PRICELESS. I am asking that Kim paint a portrait of my Mom, Bunny Sherman. Mom will be 85 in January. She just recently had a serious bout with pneumonia. Her lungs have taken a beating from the many years of smoking and her vision is failing. But, she is still very much ‘Bunny’. She is smart, she loves to play bridge, she swims, and she does yoga. She lives in New York City and makes full use of the many services offered to Senior Citizens in the City. She lives a full life, she loves the theatre, going to the latest movie, going out to eat with her friends and family, she loves her grandchildren. She is generous and thoughtful. She has friends from when she was in 7th grade and many, many more from college, camp, when she was an executive director of a non-profit organization, when she was president of the Board of a school for children with Autism and now, has many new friends in her building for Seniors which offers her independent living with lots of bells and whistles in case of emergency. These people, many of them well into their 90’s, along with the ‘young ones’, the staff, were extra-ordinary these past few weeks while she was in the hospital and when she came back to apartment after almost 3weeks. I know that she will be able to SEE Kim’s portrait of her, because that’s Kim’s style, bold and strong, yet capturing the essence, the spirit of her subjects. So, I submit to you, my Mom, affectionately know simply as ‘Bunny’.

14. Durano
I have instilled in my children the idea of looking for signs or gestures that validate or contradict what people say to them; actions that go beyond mere words.
Among them, my eldest, Daphne, was most exposed to this concept, and also bore the brunt of the ups and downs in my career. I always felt I had a lot of making up to do where she is concerned. Such incidents as her refusal to leave the church during her First Communion until I arrived, which was 11 hours later because of flight delays. Or, her refusal to change into her night clothes during New Year's Eve at age 10, and feebly attempting to keep her head up waiting for me till 4:00 AM to light our traditional fireworks. I arrived 6 days later because a civil war erupted in the country where I was.
She knew I didn't want to let her go because I owed her the most. The night before her wedding,she kept asking me if I was comfortable with the idea of giving her away. I gave her assurances that I was, but I believe she was looking for a sign.
I would want her to be the subject of the portrait if I'm fortunate, garbed in her wedding gown. It will be the sign Daphne seeks that says I have graciously surrendered her to her husband - to love, care for, and cherish for the rest of her life. :-) Durano, done!

related posts at:
John's place
Cooper's place
Eric aka Speedy/Dr Shoal with an L not a D!!'s place
Life Is Never Defined By Appearance-My Story

Previous recipients of free Artworks:
Colin Deborah Diane Pearl and Sue

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About The Author
Kim Barker is a Visual Artist (Diploma in Art and Graduate Diploma in Education). She is also a fully trained Reading Recovery Teacher. She has taught RAD (Royal Academy of Dancing) and Cecchetti Ballet Syllabii. Kim also manages the Top Artist' Directory and PoeARTica as well as her blog laketrees She lives with her family on the Eastern Central Coast of Australia. Follow Kim at laketrees on Twitter for updates and news