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From the desk of Lauren Palmer

“I think not having kids of my own allows me to see children from a different perspective — free of all the responsibility that comes with being a parent.” —Christen Benat

Capturing the likeness of a child through portraiture is the art form for which Christen Benat is best known. Each small face is characterized by the pureness, innocence, and positivity infused into Christen’s paintings through her perceptive eye for color and skillful use of some of her favorite tools which include handmade paint brushes from Rosemary & Co. of England and Blue Ridge Oil Color paints from Asheville, NC.

A portrait session with Christen typically begins with an in-person meeting where Christen will photograph the child or children (she often does several siblings at once.) However, during the quarantine, Christen has relied on Facetime and/or photos taken by the parent to use as a reference photo, “My goal isn’t to take a professional quality photograph anyway,” Christen explains, “Instead, my aim is to collect several natural reference photos that I can work from and translate into a pleasing and natural likeness of the child.” These photos are approved by the parents and relied on over the 3-6 months it takes Christen to create the portrait. During this time, she is working hard to recognize the unique characteristics of her subjects, using her paints and brushes to interpret the fleeting age when the photos were taken and to create a lasting piece of art.

 

Once the portrait(s) is complete, Christen is happy to offer a framing package to her clients. She works with a Dallas framer and can assist in selecting the proper size and aesthetic to showcase the portrait at its best. Christen can also provide mounted high-quality prints of the portrait. This is an excellent way to share these beautiful pieces of art with grandparents and other family members for special occasions. Christen even provides gift certificates if this is an experience you would like to gift someone, such a Mother’s Day or a birthday, but don’t have time to have the portrait painted before then.

Our experience having the boys portraits painted during quarantine was fun and simple. Christen FaceTimed with both James and Caleb, and then instructed me to take photos and videos of them from various angles. We went back and forth deciding on which picture she would use for reference–this part was especially fun for me because it allowed me to really look for the each of their personalities in the photos, something I’ve become even more familiar with during quarantine. 

Reference photo of James

progress shot of James

Reference photo of Caleb

Progress shot of Caleb

Friends, to have a local portrait artist with the talent and professionalism that Christen has is a true gift to the North Texas community. Don’t allow the quarantine to slow this opportunity. Reach out to Christen to commission a portrait of your young ones and allow her to gift you that moment in time, a beautiful piece of art—innocent, alive, and precious all at the same time.

Reach out to Christen via her website or send an email to christen@christenbenat.com. 

To learn more about Lauren and The Art of Living Beautifully, please visit our ‘about’ page.

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