Prints that Win: Something Old, Something New

Portrait photography

Lightning does strike twice, or at least the LexJet Sunset Award for outstanding photography did. Ann Naugher was honored earlier this year with a LexJet Sunset Award at PPA’s Southeast District competition for her portrait entitled Windswept, and most recently added another to her collection with another portrait entitled Monet’s Garden at the PPA’s Southwest District competition.

Naugher’s specialty is children’s portrait photography enhanced with Corel Painter, printed on fine-art canvas, embellished with oil paints and then finished with a lacquer. What results are classic yet timeless pieces of art that have gained a nationwide following of enthusiastic and appreciative customers.

Though Naugher has carved a popular and award-winning niche with her style of portrait photography, she likes to share credit with the artist who paints her backgrounds – David Maheu of Backgrounds by Maheu – and the subjects of the photos.

For the Monet’s Garden portrait, Maheu painted a rendition of Monet’s Rose Garden at Giverny, which Naugher then used as a background and the key element from which everything else in the photograph flowed.

“My business is primarily based on high-end, classic children’s work. When I do ‘classic’ I never want it to be stodgy, boring or monochromatic; I want to incorporate contemporary with classic,” explains Naugher. “The old master’s work at the time was very contemporary and the colors used are very much in vogue today. I wanted to give my client something new and vibrant, but born of something old and timeless.”

When Naugher visited with the judges following the PPA Southwest District competition, her goals were corroborated by their comments, such as that it’s a classic portrait that incorporates good lighting, balance and composition. “That’s what I was hoping to accomplish,” she says.

Monet’s Garden garnered a 99 out of 100 at the competition. Previously, at the Oklahoma competition (Naugher is based in Tulsa), it scored a 100.

Prints that Win: Bridging the Realism Gap

Painting photographs with Corel and Photoshop

Ann Naugher, owner of Hopkins Fine Portraits in Tulsa, is sought after far and wide for her artistic portraits of children. They bridge the gap between the realism of photography and what can be the surrealism of painting.

“My clients’ issue with a painting of their child is that it’s their child, and they don’t want to lose the realism of who their child is,” Naugher explains. “This bridges both worlds nicely where it’s an artistic feel but it looks like their child.”

In other words, with a painting, like a box of chocolates, you never really know what you’ll get. The image pictured here, called Windswept, perfectly illustrates this delicate balance. It’s a beautiful and artistic rendering of one of her client’s children, but it retains the character and essence of the subject.

Windswept won a LexJet Sunset Award in the Electronic Imaging category at the PPA’s Southeast district competition, and for good reason. It’s a tasteful, colorful and rich image that takes an ordinary portrait (displayed at the bottom right of the accompanying picture, below the final “painting”) and takes it to the next level.

“I’m more artist than technician, so the end result is based on feel. I retouch the photo so that the portrait starts out as the best possible portrait it can be. In Photoshop I start by drawing what I want that’s lacking in the image into the image. Then, I take the image into Corel Painter and not only paint what’s there, but I’ll add to it in Painter with the different brushes until it feels right,” explains Naugher. “I think it’s important to repeat colors and I tend to like images that have depth to them, so I like to work with the point where light is entering the portrait. In this case, it’s behind her, and instead of a tunnel of light I created a more circular feel to the background.”

Naugher adds that she usually applies oil painting highlights to the canvases that are produced from the digital work, which was not done for this competition. And, most of her competition prints are from actual client work, as was Windswept.