An Ethereal Moment ~ Endeavoring to capture true love

Magnant portrait by William R. Beebe, 20 x 20, oil on canvas, commissioned

Magnant portrait by William R. Beebe, 20 x 20, oil on canvas, commissioned

When I was asked if I would be interested in painting this portrait, I instantly knew it would be one of those special projects I could get lost in. The couple’s story is a bittersweet one. Byllie Ann and Larry Magnant met when they were 15, were high school sweethearts, and had been together ever since. Sadly, last year Larry, a husband/father/grandfather passed away at the young age of 65.  

The moment in time is a family wedding in Hawaii, one of their favorite places on earth. The couple is depicted cheek to cheek with twinkles in their eyes. Wrapped in Hawaiian leis with Cymbidium and Dendrobium orchids, the leis envelop and unite them. Byllie Ann has a Spider Lily arrangement in her hair as is traditional in Hawaiian ceremonies. Larry’s Hawaiian shirt goes wonderfully with the flowers and instantly helps identify the location~ paradise.

Magnant portrait by William R. Beebe, detail shot

Magnant portrait by William R. Beebe, detail shot

Magnant portrait by William R. Beebe, detail shot

Magnant portrait by William R. Beebe, detail shot

Magnant portrait by William R. Beebe, detail shot

Magnant portrait by William R. Beebe, detail shot

Their favorite color was blue, so Byllie Ann decided on a blue background. I added various shades of blue and gray, and white to the background in order to give a bit of an ethereal look. After a review near the end of the painting process, we agreed that some texture added to the background would add more interest. It created a more painterly feel to the entire painting.

I also added touches of Cerulean and Ultramarine blue into the clothing and flowers to reflect the background colors and add harmony to the painting. 

In the beginning stage, I worked diligently with measurements and proportions in order to capture a likeness. After I was about a week or more into it, I asked my client for a critique to see if I was on the right track. She was most helpful, offering little tweaks here and there which helped me hone in on their likeness.  

It was an honor to paint their portrait. I always enjoy sitting down at my easel and getting started on a new project, but this time it was different. It was a very personal project. My overriding goal was to capture the love between the two of them, highlight the sparkle in their eyes, and present them united as one.  

There is something about painting people that is very rewarding. I can see why many artists devote themselves to specializing in portraiture. It’s a high risk, high reward business.  Pleasing someone with a likeness of themselves or of their spouse is never easy. 

In this case, I’m grateful to say I have a happy client, which gives me a great deal of satisfaction as an artist. Thank you to Byllie Ann for giving me this opportunity.  

Thank you as always for your interest in my art and for reading my journal. Please check back soon to see what’s on the easel next. Chances are it could be something Charleston! 


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
What's next? Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe