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From the desk of Lauren Palmer

Hey guys!

Remember back in the spring when I shared with you about the local artist Christen Benat who paints portraits of children and horses? (You can read all about her process Meet Christen Benat, Portraiture, and Horse Portraiture.) Well, I wanted to share with you the beautiful portraits she did of the boys, the framing process, and where I decided to hang them.

First of all these are the photos that I took with my iPhone and send to Christen to use as reference photos. This all happened during quarantine–normally a meeting is scheduled for Christen to come meet her subjects and take photos herself, but since we were sheltering in place at the time, I took the photos and texted them to her. From these photos she created the beautiful portraits.


Reference photo of James

Reference photo of Caleb

My favorite part of Caleb’s portrait is his eyes and freckles. She nailed it!

And as funny as this sounds, I love the way she painted James’ hair. So James is basically the spitting image of my husband, Brian, in both personality and looks. And I think it’s hilarious that both of them are so into their hair. James had styled his hair very intentionally this day  (aka super tall) and Christen painted it perfectly! It’s such a sweet part of his personality that she captured. 

I also  love the soft blues and greens she used as the background which goes so beautifully in our home.

Here are a few pictures of Christen delivering the portraits to the boys a few months later. They were so excited…and SO WAS I!!

Once we received them, I took the portraits to be framed at Art and Frame Warehouse here in McKinney. (We have been taking our pictures to Andy to frame probably for 15-20 years. He does a great job and has very fair prices.) I brought him the portraits and he gave me his professional opinions on color and sizes. We chose a goldish-pewter frame with a thin linen matte, and I have to say I absolutely LOVE what we chose. The finished product looks beautiful!

And the finished product is…

When deciding where to hang the portraits, I immediately thought of the gallery wall Ashley and I would be constructing for the fall magazine. This would be the perfect spot! Gallery wall’s are meant to be artsy, playful, and sentimental. Hanging the portraits here was the perfect choice and I love how it turned out!


(Initially, I put the gallery wall in the entry way of our home and absolutely loved it. But then we decided to redo the dining room (#allthegreatquarantineideas) and the gallery wall felt too casual, so I ended up moving the entire wall to my office–more about this next week.)

Thank you so much Christen for creating such exquisite portraits of the boys. I will cherish them forever and ever. If your babies are growing up faster than you’d like, reach out to Christen and let her capture this sweet period of time with her beautiful talent. You will NOT regret it!! You can email her at




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

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