Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Just in Time for Christmas

Gazella Bethlenfalvy

Years ago, our neighbor Marta had brought back a photograph of her grandmother from Europe. Unfortunately the fragile photograph became damaged in the trip home. When viewing Norman's work she brought the picture to Norman to have it restored.

Usually this would be easy, however a ghost story is involved here. 

The original photograph was quite large so my husband Norman set up the camera on an overhead boom to keep the camera steady and to get a good shot of the fragmented picture. Norman is a bit psychic. He started to feel a female presence and noticed that the batteries in his camera kept draining. Often the shots turned out black. He managed to get one but the picture looked twisted at an angle.

I could hear his frustration from the other side of the house and came down to see what all the commotion was all about. 

He told me that she, "the hot grandma" as he calls her, was messing with him and he didn't know quite what to do. 

After giving it some thought I suggested a theory. If it was her, she was probably upset seeing her portrait in pieces in a strange house with strange people and not knowing what we were doing. I told him to talk with her and put her at ease; telling her that he was restoring her portrait for her granddaughter and making copies for all her grandchildren and great-great grand child.

Norman did just that and then shot the fragmented photograph with no problem. That was the end of the ghost part of the story.

Norman restored the photograph and printed it on archival paper and framed several versions for Marta's family for Christmas.

One large one that measures 20" x 24". Four medium at 9" x 12" and the small one for the great-grandchild at 5" x 7" with a tighter crop to keep the detail of the face.

A Christmas ghost story with a happy ending.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Congratulations! You Won A Family Portrait!

Every once in a while we will donate free individual portrait to charity within a certain size range. It not only helps charities raise money, but it is like free advertising.

That is how we met Vicki and Gary Schar. 
They won the bid for a free portrait.

But what we discovered was, the portrait they wanted was of seven people! They wanted a portrait of their whole family. They brought tons of photos, but what was important was that they were all together.

After going through several photos we found a  photo of the Schar family all together by the lake. This seemed like a winner.

Even so the photo we selected to use as reference presented some challenges.

But then again we love a challenge and that is where the fun comes in.

 This is what we came up with.

 The portrait measures 30"x 24".  A family summer memory down by the lake now captured on canvas to warm and grace one of the walls of the Schar's living room.

T H A N K S   T O   G A R Y   A N D   V I C K I   S C H A R !
and to their beautiful family, for sharing your story and allowing us to paint your portrait.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rocky River Art Festival

I can't believe it is October and I am finally posting these pictures! Here is Rocky River's Art Festival that was held in mid September.

We had added some new paintings, reframed some older ones, and reprinted some on our Espon 9900 which has a wider color gamut and boast of eleven in colors. We were busy! We did a dry run the night before to see how the mix of paintings would fit on the lattice walls of our tent.

Norman also worked on reinforcing the latticework on the walls of our gazebo like tent which paid off in the set up early Saturday morning. We got our favorite spot which is on the end or the beginning depending where you enter the festival.  This end affords us a little more space as well as charm.

Norm kept watch while I took a break to check out the other venders. 

Here are some shots of the interior of our tent. 

Here are two framed prints of some of Normans more personal paintings. The top is one is a painting of a small town on the outer banks of North Carolina and the bottom is of the metro parks in Bayvillage, Ohio.

This is a close up of the interior folding wall that shows two of Norman's three children on the right.

This wall features many portraits that Norm has done for clients.

Here Norm catches me on camera above getting ready to talk with visitors.

Finally a chance to chill. All in all we couldn't have asked for better weather. We even got a chance to meet and talk with the Mayor of Rocky River! At first Norman thought I was kidding when I went to introduce her to him. I wonder if he thinks I am a bit of a prankster. 
All in all is was a beautiful day.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Last Touch

I have to admit it is always nice to see a finished piece framed. It is here in our studio till our show in September.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Getting Ready for Autumn

Some one said to me that August was the new September. With that in mind, I took it to mean that Fall is just around the corner. Although I am still clinging on those last days of Summer, I love the colors of Fall!

Last year I shoved Norman out the door to shoot some of those beautiful colors so he would have reference to paint some Autumn paintings in between clients. This is a painting he finished last week of trees and a creek in a small park in Bayvillage, Ohio. It is one that we are framing to display at the Rocky River Art Festival on Saturday September 17th.

Hope to see you there.

Here are more links on the painting:
http://www.yourpreciousportraits.com/index.php/gallery/scenic/ and http://fineartamerica.com/products/autumn-in-the-park-norman-drake-canvas-print.html

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Parklawn Beach: Update from Behind the Scenes

Here is the painting that resulted from the photo shoot. This is a painting of Parklawn Beach which is a small private beach along the coast of Lake Erie in Rocky River, Ohio.

The beach holds special memories for our client and her family. The stairs were a special request to be included in the painting. This created a challenge in that the painting needed to be a horizontal layout to fit in the wall space over our clients fireplace. Our clients photographs were all vertical shots, hence we needed to reshoot the beach area to come up with a horizontal layout that would be pleasing to the eye.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Behind the Scenes

Sometimes in creating a painting for a client, the photographs we receive do not provide us with enough to paint from. So when such cases arise, Norm goes out to reshoot the site or person that he is going to paint.

This time I tagged along with my camera.

Norm had to shoot a beach scene that included the steps down to the beach which was a bit steep.

While he stood in the foliage I kept thinking things like poison ivy and snakes. I am such a wimp.

After being away from the lake during the winter, I forgot how beautiful Lake Erie can be. Here is a shot I took of the private beach of a home that adjoins the site Norm was shooting. Some of the beach fronts are steeper than others. 

It was a beautiful peaceful day. The driftwood on the beach was a subtle reminder of the earlier storms of the year. 

Finally it was a wrap. The sky disappeared into the water at the horizon. It was time to go. I know I should go down to the lake more often, but my to do list seems to get in the way. We are lucky to have such a beautiful lake near by.

We are still working on touch ups on the Shar Family portrait. I hope to have their story next. The beach painting will be next. After that are weddings! This time two of them in our own family this year!

We will keep you updated.

Friday, May 13, 2011


I love flowers and when I heard that the Cleveland Botanical Gardens was having an orchid show in March, I sent Norm packing with his camera.

Here are just a few shots he took of the many orchids that were on display.

These images and more are available for sale at http://fineartamerica.com/shop/norman-drake.html.

They are available in different sizes with different paper and framing options. They are also available as note cards.

I hope to be publishing a few more of Norm's photos taken at the orchid show as time permits. They certainly are a welcome after a long gray winter.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Painting for Leslie

I have been pestering Norman to do a portrait of his daughter, Leslie.  After all, he has painted his other two children Joshua and Matthew.

It was not that he didn't want to. The difficulty lay in finding a good picture of her for reference. Taking one was another matter. Most children do not relish being in front of their parent's camera. All magic is lost when you invade their personal space with a digital lens telling them to act normal.  But finally after sifting through various photos Norman found one and the painting was done in record time.

This one is for you Leslie, with love from her dad.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Beating the Grayness of Winter

Our Studio and Winter Retreat

It has been a long winter this year. Even with spring like temperatures today, we still have the last remanent of snow huddling in the shadows of our cul-de-sac.  Norman has been house bound in the studio painting.

Of course to chase the winter blahs away he decided to paint a warm summer memory of a little yellow house that hugs the inlet waters of Swansboro, NC.

We have taken many a vacation down around the islands that hug the North Carolina coast and bump around in its many coastal towns. We have seen this house often traveling through Swansboro. The house captures that quaintness of the many little vacation cottages that dot the coastal waters.

To have a closer look at the painting click on the following link: http://www.yourpreciousportraits.com/index.php/gallery_ii/  and click on the image to enlarge it.

I will sadly miss the beach this year unless our plans change. Two of our children are getting married this year which will promise more interesting adventures.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sweetness in a Pink Dress

Sometimes sweetness just passes your way.

Last year when Norman and I were showing his work at one of the summer festivals in Ohio, this little girl past by our tent with her parents. Norman snapped her photo as she passed by the kettle corn venders.

While reviewing the photos he took, this sugared perfection jumped out at us as great inspiration for a painting.

I love portraits of children. I am not quite sure why, but maybe because it relates to the child within all of us. The little green hat and purse with the pink flowers sweetened the image all the more.

Of course the background setting had to go. She needed another setting that would show off her sweet femininity. 

A little garden by the side walk would do nicely; as if she just skipped down the steps and checked to see if there was anything that she had forgotten before she went on her way.

I guess I am a romantic at heart. 

Come visit our children's gallery to see more of Norman Drake's portraits.

To purchase a print click on this link: http://fineartamerica.com/featured/little-girl-in-pink-dress-norman-drake.html