Portrait Commission: Keri Zamora

Posted with permission from the client.

One day, a very sweet lady wrote to me to have a portrait done.

Her name is is Keri Zamora.

She’s a lovely lady with an exquisite sense of style.

I was pleasantly surprised when she expressed that she appreciated the anime influence in my work! When I asked her for visual pegs she would like me to draw inspiration from, she sent me images from the Studio Ghibli film, Spirited Away. I knew then that I would definitely enjoy working on this portrait.

One of the scenes from Spirited Away that I found visually striking was when Chihiro was running through the field of flowers. Perhaps you’ll see its influence on my painting when I show the final work at the end of this blog post!

I started out with soft washes, going from light to dark.

 I chose warm, sweet, summery colors that I felt Keri would like. I had also started adding the gold ink at this point.  I chose to outline some details in gold because it’s an element I really enjoy when looking at yukata or kimono prints.

They add a whole other dimension to a piece because of how it can look different when it catches light a certain way.

Chihiro was wearing traditional Japanese clothes, so I thought to draw Keri in a kimono. As I’ve mentioned, she really wanted me to incorporate the anime influence in this portrait so she was very game about being drawn in a kimono.

I filled in the colors of the flower details first, because I would base the color of the kimono and obi on their overall look. They are such big areas of color that I needed to be very careful with how I treated them so maintain the balance of the composition, as well as to compliment the colors of the smaller details around them.

 Here are the colors I decided on for the obi. And another look at the different qualities of the gold detailing based on the way light hits them.

 After coloring in the obi, I went to work on the rest of the kimono.

 I selected mainly shades of peach and pink for the kimono. I added some smaller bursts of similar but darker colors on areas where I needed the details to stand out more. It also added more balance by reflecting the color of the obi.

One of my favorite spots to work on.

Keri. Watercolor and gold ink on aquarelle paper. 15 x 20 inches.

And here is the final work, my portrait of Keri.

Rather than having her simply wear a floral-printed kimono, I wanted to add a bit of dimension and touch of whimsy by having the flowers growing out of the print. I also had her hold a chrysanthemum because it’s a flower that is traditionally given to mothers during Mother’s Day in some cultures, and it is also said to attract good luck in a household.

I’m very happy that she loved the painting and was such a wonderful client to work with! I hope somehow it does bring more good fortune and happiness to her home. :)

I’m currently open for commissions, so please feel free to send me an email (josonjin at gmail dot com) or use my contact form if you’d like to send an inquiry!

Thanks for looking!