TEN of My Most Favorite Family Portraits

I was asked recently about the family photographs I’ve created over the years and whether I had any favorites… so I wanted to share some of them with you! I’ve created images of families comprised of couples, families with children, pets...all of it!

My family is made up of the people I am related to, friends, and fur babies. They’re all holding a big piece of my heart and help me experience the most out of life.  What stands out to me about family is that it’s a unit of love and connection– no matter whether you’re related by blood or not… or species for that matter!  It’s that love and connection I enjoy capturing with my camera and microphone. 

 This family was very focused on a construction project on their house when I created this family portrait for them. Mom wanted to create something special that included their construction filled life at the time and this was a fun solution. We really enjoyed ourselves and the kids had a blast as they were given special "jobs" for the portrait. I highly valued having this creative opportunity that was also personal to the family.

This family was very focused on a construction project on their house when I created this family portrait for them. Mom wanted to create something special that included their construction filled life at the time and this was a fun solution. We really enjoyed ourselves and the kids had a blast as they were given special "jobs" for the portrait. I highly valued having this creative opportunity that was also personal to the family.

 The focus in this image is the dog, no doubt. There is so much love focused right at Moose. This was the family's last photo session with Moose before he passed away from a heart condition. I love this peaceful moment and the sweet look on Moose's face.

The focus in this image is the dog, no doubt. There is so much love focused right at Moose. This was the family's last photo session with Moose before he passed away from a heart condition. I love this peaceful moment and the sweet look on Moose's face.

 In addition to swooning over the aesthetics of this couple's space, I love this moment. For me, it's a joyful slice of their family's dynamic. They obviously have fun together and their pets are their beloved family members. This photo makes me happy.

In addition to swooning over the aesthetics of this couple's space, I love this moment. For me, it's a joyful slice of their family's dynamic. They obviously have fun together and their pets are their beloved family members. This photo makes me happy.

 I love creating images of children with pets. Often with young children these pets are the first they've known– their fur siblings. I love having the ability to capture their relationships so they have the ability to look back on them fondly when the children are grown.

I love creating images of children with pets. Often with young children these pets are the first they've known– their fur siblings. I love having the ability to capture their relationships so they have the ability to look back on them fondly when the children are grown.

 This family wanted to do something special to honor their mother who had been diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. We created this portrait of the family having a dance party of love around her, and it is one of my most favorite family portraits ever. In addition to creating a beautiful image, I wanted to leave the family with the memory of surrounding their mother with love, joy, and smiles.

This family wanted to do something special to honor their mother who had been diagnosed with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. We created this portrait of the family having a dance party of love around her, and it is one of my most favorite family portraits ever. In addition to creating a beautiful image, I wanted to leave the family with the memory of surrounding their mother with love, joy, and smiles.

 Besides the beautiful colors and people in this image, all I see is connection, wonder, and love. I can feel the adoration that these parents have for their baby in this image and I can truly get a sense of the baby's wonder as he gazes into his dad's eyes. Definitely one of my favorites.

Besides the beautiful colors and people in this image, all I see is connection, wonder, and love. I can feel the adoration that these parents have for their baby in this image and I can truly get a sense of the baby's wonder as he gazes into his dad's eyes. Definitely one of my favorites.

 This was one of those moments where I said "sure let's see what happens!" with regard to photographing cats, dogs, and children together. For me it's just plain fun and I especially enjoyed the little girl's hand pose, chosen by her. Maybe she is wishing for a kind hearted baby brother who will share all of his toys with her?

This was one of those moments where I said "sure let's see what happens!" with regard to photographing cats, dogs, and children together. For me it's just plain fun and I especially enjoyed the little girl's hand pose, chosen by her. Maybe she is wishing for a kind hearted baby brother who will share all of his toys with her?

 This photo isn't "perfect" but it feels like the moment is. It's a good representation of what I call "joyful chaos." Young children, especially toddler age, like to do their OWN THING and this little girl was no exception. I love the energy in this image and the sweet smiles on everyone's faces.

This photo isn't "perfect" but it feels like the moment is. It's a good representation of what I call "joyful chaos." Young children, especially toddler age, like to do their OWN THING and this little girl was no exception. I love the energy in this image and the sweet smiles on everyone's faces.

 Some of us have family members that shed a lot! I love this sweet couple's space and having the chance to capture their environment with their beloved fur babies in it. Photographing in my client's home environment is one of my favorite things to do.

Some of us have family members that shed a lot! I love this sweet couple's space and having the chance to capture their environment with their beloved fur babies in it. Photographing in my client's home environment is one of my favorite things to do.

 I created this family portrait as part of a project (The Better with You project) for an incredible animal welfare organization called Emancipet. I love the colors in this image and most of all the perfect expression on Carolyn's face. Learn more about Emancipet here:  https://emancipet.org /

I created this family portrait as part of a project (The Better with You project) for an incredible animal welfare organization called Emancipet. I love the colors in this image and most of all the perfect expression on Carolyn's face. Learn more about Emancipet here: https://emancipet.org/

Which one is your favorite?  Let me know!

Showcasing My Encaustic Paintings at Convergence Gallery

I’ve been expanding my creative efforts over the last few years and have been so grateful for the opportunities that have come my way as a result of listening and responding to what inspires me.

I am extremely excited to announce that my work is now available at a beautiful Art gallery located on the world-renowned Canyon Road in sunny Santa Fe, New Mexico! Convergence Gallery is a stunning space and I am honored to have some of my artwork adorn its walls. 

You can view the current selection of work on their website or better yet, plan a trip to Santa Fe and stop in and see the work for yourself. I believe that viewing art in person is always the best way to really get a proper sense of how it might resonate with you.


 Interior images of Convergence Gallery, Santa Fe, NM. Photos courtesy of Convergence Gallery.


When I started combining my photography with the medium of encaustic I didn’t have any idea as to where it would take me. I knew that I needed to give myself permission to begin and see what developed from there. I am so glad that I did! I’m now experiencing the next stage with showcasing these works of art for others to enjoy and my hope is that they find new homes to be loved and appreciated. 

 

About Norah’s art:

Norah’s work currently incorporates the medium of encaustic (bee’s wax and resin), oil pigment stick, pigments and embedded photography. Her pieces are comprised of many layers of these materials that are fused together with a torch or heat gun. She thoughtfully and intuitively scrapes, incises, etches and paints the colors and textures and layers to create her final product. Her pieces draw inspiration from her photography, and each original photograph influences the colors, textures and markings that Norah includes in the final piece.  

"Rise and Shine" 24x24 bees wax, resin, pigments, embedded photography on birch panel.

"Potential" 24x24 bees wax, resin, pigments, embedded photography on birch panel.

These pieces are available through Convergence Gallery here

The Process Behind my Encaustic Paintings

For the last few years I have expanded my creative world and started working with encaustic painting, which incorporates my photographic imagery. I started by working on a smaller scale and have begun working on larger pieces. I have shared a little about this journey along the way and I intend to expand as my experiences with this art form continue. Since many people are curious, I want to detail a bit about my process and what inspires me about working in this medium. 

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My fine art incorporates the medium of encaustic, pigments, and embedded photographic imagery on birch panels. The encaustic medium is comprised of bees wax and resin and I apply it in many layers along with the other materials. Using a rigid support, each layer is fused together with a heat gun or torch so it combines with the layer before it. One of the many unique qualities of encaustic is the possibility of transparency between the layers, giving the viewer of the artwork a glimpse into the “history” of the artists markings, scrapings, painting, and other creative choices below the surface. You get to see, in effect, the process of the artist, which I love.

 

Encaustic painting has been around for many years and there are multiple ways to work with it. This is an incredibly versatile medium that is used differently by each artist. Some artists love to work in thick layers with lots of texture and some even use it sculpturally. The wax can be painted, dripped, brushed or poured in hot liquid form onto the piece. As the wax cools, it hardens but doesn’t need to dry. The material can be incised, scraped, melted and remelted, carved and more. I am very much drawn to creating a smooth surface that highlights the beautiful sheen of the wax after it is buffed. I sometimes choose to include texture, but my preference is that this texture is a meaningful compliment to the imagery and piece as a whole. My photographic image is printed and layered into the wax very carefully with a tacking iron and layered with additional medium and sometimes paint. I love giving new life to images that would otherwise stay dormant on my computer. 

 

I began working with photography many years ago in a darkroom, rolling and developing my own film and enlarging prints. Although technological advances have dramatically shifted the world of photography, I fell in love with the hands-on process of developing my own photographs. While I appreciate and love digital photography and all that can be accomplished on a computer, a few years ago I found myself yearning for an outlet to work with my hands again.  I am continuing my career as a photographer but am expanding to include fine art as well. 

 

My process is very physical and working with encaustic can be difficult during the hot summer weather in Austin, Texas.  The process can take a lot of patience and requires a proper ventilation system and sometimes a (not so sexy) face mask to protect me from dangerous fumes.  I find it incredibly satisfying using my hands in this way and find myself continuing to be pulled back into my art studio. I am inspired by so many artists, but one artist who has very much impacted my journey is Shawna Moore, a prolific artist based out of Whitefish, Montana. 

 

I look forward to continuing to create this work and travel along this path. I am currently accepting commissions from both my own photography as well as imagery that is provided by my clients.

 

To see more of my work, visit my website and follow along on Instagram for current projects. 

 

 

Thank you to my dear friend Amy Smith for all photographs in this post.  Amy can be found on Instagram at @amyrsmithphoto.

Combining Sights and Sounds To Curate Unique Memories

On this recent session I had the opportunity to capture the sights and sounds of life with baby Penley and her loving moms.

Creating an Audio Portrait for this family was a very special experience for them (and for me).

Since I know that life changes so quickly, especially with little ones, I thought it would be valuable to provide Chelsea and Kerry with a final Audio Portrait that represents and reflects their life right now. I wanted them to be able to watch their slideshow years from now and feel exactly how they felt while their little girl was making all of her fun noises, crawling around  house as her dog brothers took advantage of her leftover scraps of food. I knew it would be valuable to Penley to have later in life as well. We can all take snippets of videos, photos, etc., but I wanted this to be a curated piece that represented them in an artful, thoughtful way. I can’t get over Penley’s little growl and I am in love with those big beautiful brown eyes. 

I’m so inspired by creating these audio portraits for my clients. This format really allows me to dive deeper into connection on every level, and honestly that’s a huge part of why I do what I do.

Here’s what Chelsea had to say about her Audio Portrait experience:

"Norah’s creativity shines in the Audio Portrait she did for us, which so beautifully captures our baby girl’s personality and character at 8 months old. It’s amazing how she was able to deliver such a personal and touching piece— from the audio arrangement to the photo arrangement, each second of the video holds the potential for a smile or shed a tear of joy. Photographs are wonderful but having a piece like this, with a story and voices built into it, and that is so shareable and is just the right length to watch over and over again, is truly special. Norah crafted something that we intend to play at every one of our daughter’s birthday celebrations, every graduation, when she gets engaged, and married, and has babies herself!"

The Value of Hiring a Professional Photographer

Today everyone and their grandmother has a smart phone.

The cameras on these phones are improving with each new version. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t I love using my phone to capture everyday moments of my friends, family, pets, and take fun selfies with my husband. I find that snapping photos with my phone is a convenient way to help me remember the events in my every day life. 

My husband complains that my cell phone photos are so much better than his. Well, I should hope they are! I’ve been photographing professionally since the concept of camera phones was just someone’s wild idea. 

With all of this easy access to cameras, why hire a professional? In this post I’ll share with you why I value hiring a professional, as well as how I believe that I bring value to my clients. 

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