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Updated 4/3/06

Ancestor Portraits in Oil by Elin Pendleton

Do you have old tintypes of your long-dead relatives? Would you like to have one or more images created into a 16 x 20 or larger canvas as an original oil painting?

Many people have boxes of old photographs of relatives and family members long useless in boxes and ancient scrapbooks. I know. I did, too. Lately I have been taking some of those images and translating them into canvas oil portraits for my family members. I have painted my grandmother and also my great grandparents. It is very satisfying to bring color and life to these long-dead important people in my life.

I thought, "If this is important for me, wouldn't it also be a great gift for other people? To have a real painting of their real relatives?" Thus this page was born.

Here are the stories behind the two paintings I have completed so far.

The first painting is from a 3" x 3" black and white photograph (on the left below) I took of my grandmother, at age 82, back in the 1960s. She was living with us as the lone surviving grandparent while I was in my teens. I learned many things from her, not the least of which was the importance of family. On the day my sister was married, I took this photograph. It sat in the box of images for over 30 years before I became the artist I am today, able to depict her as a living person again. I painted this image and gave it to my mother the year after my father passed away. The plates in the photograph are significant, because when one ordered a house from Sears and Roebuck, as my great grandmother had done, those plates came in the "package" of the house. It was SO satisfying to have her see her own mother in living color once again.

The painting now hangs in my mother's front hall.

The second one is from a tintype of my great grandparents (on the left below) on their wedding day, Alma Warriner and Lawrence Truslove Dale. This painting went to my brother for his 60th birthday as a surprise present. Our great grandparents had an interesting life, which has been documented in letters he wrote to his Aunt Hattie Tate (his stepmother). He walked from New York to Nevada during the Civil War and returned to the family farm in Michigan, and then ended up in Missouri, where he married Alma Warriner. They had seven children, and my grandmother took many images of their growing up, and also of their home in "old Mizzoo".

So if you have a photograph of someone whom you would like to have painted, please contact me.

In general, I can use CDs of scanned images (so you keep your originals) or good Xerox copies of your image, enlarged to be as big as possible. Scanned images should be at 300 ppi and at least 5 x 7 inches in the final output. What does it cost? You can have an ancestral portrait done similar to the two 16 x 20 inch portraits for $450. That includes insured shipping to you within the Continental United States. A deposit of $95 (non-refundable) is required to begin the portrait.

I would really enjoy doing these for families interested in having their own history on their walls. I know how it feels, and I'd be honored to do it for you! Please contact me if you are interested.