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What is an heirloom painting?

What is an heirloom painting?

Twilight, 11" x 14" oil on canvas, Texas Collection Portfolio, by L. Nicholas Smith

Simply put, it’s one meant to be passed down from generation to generation in a family. Often the prize piece continuously on display at Grandma & Grandpa’s house that all the descendants can easily recall in conversation long after their loved ones have passed.

Most heirloom paintings are just paintings created by or well-liked by someone in the family but I’ve developed a way to bring even more depth to the practice.

Art has no limits and my heirloom paintings may never really finish. There is an issue date on the certificate of authenticity, but once the family owns it they can add or even "repaint" parts of the painting as time continues.

Here’s an example:

Twilight, 11” x 14” oil on canvas, Texas Collection Portfolio to the average viewer may simply see a lovely hill country which great giclée prints are available to purchase. To the commissioning family the meaning is much deeper. I’ll try to elaborate but be vague for the owner’s privacy. This family’s female elder loves purple. So, I began the painting by washing the entire canvas with 12 different purple shades of oil paints. Once dry I painted the landscape on top leaving open some of the purple to be seen in the clouds. She represents the air of the family. The live oak tree personifies her husband. These are very strong trees that can grow in many directions but rarely break even throughout droughts. The three daughters are represented by the three colors of wildflowers; bluebonnets, red poppies, and yellow indian paintbrush. The six active grandchildren are the colors of their mothers, the bluebirds, red cardinals and yellow warblers. Their fathers are the other animals: the longhorn, roadrunner and white heron. The fathers triangulate their gaze in the painting around the little birds always keeping watch on them. The water is the life flowing in the middle of this family. As the family grows, I or some other artist can add to the painting. I use premium oil paints on organic material so my oil paintings will last for many generations.

Feel free to contact me for further information if you too are looking for an heirloom painting to be made for your family. Right now, an 11” x 14” is taking around 2 months to finish and longer for larger pieces.

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