Lifestyle, Shop Local, Shop Small

Shop Small: Shadow Portraits

Eeeeeeeeeee! I am so so so so excited to share this business in the Shop Small series with you guys today! Once again, I have the pleasure of introducing you to a small business owned by a local teacher. This one just has the added bonus of being related to me:).  Let me introduce you to my sister-in-law, Jenna Swartwout. Jenna teaches 4th and 5th-grade math in Charlotte and has one of the strongest passions for students I’ve ever seen. The only thing that might rival her love for her students is her love for art. I will try my best in this post, but I know there’s no way I can do her justice. You really just need to see her work in Shadow Portraits for yourself!

Psssstt: I might also have a coupon code for you this week, too!! 

Every artist has their specialty, the type in which they are at home with. For Jenna, that’s graphite drawing. And believe it or not, instead of using fancy pencils to create her masterpieces, she uses what we all might use on a daily basis – a mechanical pencil. It’s just what she does with that pencil that I’d bet few of us could manage to do.

You’d be hard pressed to ever find Jenna without a sketchbook close by. Her method is to take a photograph of something, be it person or pet or landscape or object, and recreate it through shading. She handles some of the trickiest aspects of drawing ease, like facial features or detail in fur.

Jenna works primarily on commissioned pieces. Each and every drawing is personalized. She’s replicated family portraits, engagement pictures, newborn photos, and so much more. She’s spectacular at animals and I personally love all her landscape drawings! She wants her drawings to show how special the object of the drawing is to the owner of the drawing; she wants to portray their love.

You’d think it would be hard for drawings of other photographs to reflect the artist, but it really isn’t with these. Jenna as a person is exactly who she presents herself to be, much like her drawings. However, she’s got hidden depth when you get to know her, much like the depth in her drawings. She’s also detail oriented in all things, as she is in her drawings. I was chatting with her about it this weekend, and something she said stuck with me. Art is so often a form of expression for the artist, but Jenna has a different perspective: “I don’t draw to express what’s in my brain, I draw to control it.”

Jenna loves to create portraits that are near and dear to the hearts of others. This little one above is actually a surprise she’s letting me announce through this post! If you frequent my Instagram stories, you might recognize that handsome man:). He’s my nephew!

This is one of my favorites of her then-boyfriend, now-husband, above. She’s drawn pictures for local businesses, including this shot below of the Blowing Rock Town Tavern that is now on many of their shirts! I honestly believe Jenna can take a picture of just about anything and make it into a masterpiece. I’m a sucker for the ones of her and her brother, like in the top left corner. They always seem to capture how much she loves him, which just fills my heart right up.

Because Jenna works completely on custom pieces, the only way to currently order is to contact her directly through her website or Facebook page. You can see a complete portfolio of her pieces on either of these… and prepare to be stunned. I can tell you why her works are the best for your home or for gifts, but she says it best: “When you buy something from an artist, you’re buying more than an object. You’re buying hundreds of hours of crying, errors, and experimentation. You’re buying years of frustration and moments of pure joy. You’re buying a piece of a heart, a peace of a soul, a small piece of someone else’s life.” That is why a piece of her work makes a great gift. They are also a perfect way to commemorate the loss of a loved one or pet.

Now for that discount, right? Jenna’s graciously offered 40% off any of her different sizes, with the code darlingdearest! She has a ballpark price for her pieces, varying based on the level of detail in the picture. You can find more information on her contact page here! Be sure to follow along with her work on Facebook and Instagram. She runs various promotion throughout the year!




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