My Little Sister :: Portraits at the Santa Monica Pier :: Sunset on the California Beach

This past Winter while I was traveling for work I got to visit the West Coast for the first time ever. And even more exciting than seeing Las Vegas and California, I got to visit my little sister who lives out there. I don't want to gush too much here and make you all jealous, but, now that we're well past those pesky high school years, my sister is not only my family, she is my friend. And a great friend to have. Even though she lives so far away and neither of us picks up the phone as often as we should, I feel so privileged to have her in my life. She is energetic, thoughtful, supportive, sincere, intelligent, kind-hearted, silly, fun.. just an all around great person.

While Jeff and I were visiting we all made it out to the Santa Monica Pier, and Jill agreed to be my model for a little while. These photos, months later, still make me smile. Though it seems obvious, me being a photographer and all, I'm sometimes still surprised by the emotion that photos can bring back. I get to remember playing on the beach with her and the whirlwind visit we had. Her big laugh. The prancing into the water on my request despite how cold it was. I can't wait until there's another visit on the books! Until then at least I have some fun photos that will remind me to dial this girl's number more often!

Guestbook Alternative :: Custom Signature Painting with Details Highlighting the Couples Lives Together

I've mentioned here once or twice that I enjoy painting, though I rarely make time to do it, so when my good friend Jillian announced to me that she was getting married though it seemed like a good time to pick up a brush! As a gift to her and her husband-to-be, Jake, I asked her (always ask!) if I could handle the 'guestbook' portion of her wedding last Fall. She agreed, seeming happy to have a piece of the wedding being taken care of. I decided on a two part 'guestbook alternative'. This post is about part one. 

Jillian has a fun, colorful, punk rock vibe to her and with that in mind I decided to do a piece of wall art for Jillian and Jake where the painting had a little bit of a colorful, bold tattoo vibe. I started with a large (I believe it was two foot square) wooden canvas. I chose the wood partly to be different and partly because I know it's actually hard to write on a canvas texture versus a flat surface. 

Next, I considered Jillian and Jake's history. I included lovebirds centrally on the canvas to represent the bride and groom because, well, they're lovebirds! And from there I added other elements that are special to them and are pieces of their relationship. Pink roses to represent Alpha Xi Delta, the sorority that Jillian I are members of. Red roses for Jake's fraternity, Kappa Delta Rho. These organizations in college were probably what enabled Jillian and Jake to meet as friends in the first place. Music notes for a shared love of music. A red ball for when they played kickball on a team together after college. Fall leaves for the time of year they were getting married. Peacock feathers for their wedding's colorful theme. The Bonnaroo symbol because it was there that they realized they were meant to be more than friends. And a couple other personal pieces around the board.

In the center, beneath a banner with lyrics from what was to be their first dance song, is plenty of white space for guests to sign their names with Sharpies I brought along with me. After it was all signed Jillian and Jake brought it home and it now hangs on the wall in their living room. Check out how it all came together in the photos below and stay tuned for my next post on the second part of their 'alternative guestbook'.