House Portraits: Holding Space

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I often forget until I am painting a home portrait, the joy that these projects bring me. One reason I love them, is the opportunity these paintings provide me to “hold space” for others in my own way. “Holding Space” as I’ve come to understand it, is a practice in which one lets go of themselves and suspends judgement, where one opens their heart and allows another to have the experience they are having, while giving your complete attention to that situation/other person. This practice is most helpful when supporting others or assisting someone through a difficult time, but I enjoy incorporating it as part of my process and I think it results in better paintings.

When painting a home I think about the people who live or have lived there. I think of those I am creating the painting for and their love for the house and its residents, the pets that have roamed the landscape, and the flowers and plants they thoughtfully placed and care for. Since many paintings are gifts that coincide with couples getting engaged or married, kids going off to college, owners retiring or moving, I like to envision those I’m painting for starting off on their new journeys and I send them well wishes for the future with my brushstrokes. I wish strength as I paint for those clients who I know are facing challenges. When I know the home contains precious childhood memories, I try to infuse the painting with the stories and feelings the client shares with me through my color and stylistic choices.

Maybe this sounds like a bunch of new age fluff, but even if it is who couldn’t use an outpouring of caring, well-wishes, and another “holding space” for them in an artistic way? Custom home portraits are $250.00 for an 8×10 or 9×12 original. For more information email erin@erinmckennanowak.com.

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