Friday Focus: Children's Portrait Artists

Friday Focus: Children’s Portrait Artists



Most of our homes are filled with photos of our children and families, but there are so many other wonderful art forms that should not be neglected. Watercolors, sketches, charcoals, and oil paintings can beautifully capture our loved ones in ways photographs cannot. More that that, these works of art can be treasured for years to come.

Sometimes it’s hard to know how to go about finding the right artist for your family and home. So I’ve been doing some research and have compiled a list of fabulous children’s portrait artists from around the country (okay, the South, mostly, because that’s just what I know!).  Some of these artists can work from photos you submit and others work on commissioned pieces only.

These first few artists can work from photos you submit:

1. Susan Woodard

Source: Susan Woodard Watercolors

Years ago Susan Woodard was sitting on the beach painting in her watercolor journal when a keen mother spotted her and asked Susan if she would paint her children. The rest is history!

I came upon Susan’s work while reading The Ribbon in My Journal blog a few months ago and was quickly drawn to her ability to paint children, and their personalities, without actually painting their faces.

Now based out of New Orleans, Susan does several shows throughout the South every year. (I asked her if she would come to Dallas soon!). But with two small children, she mostly works from photos that are sent to her. She also paints houses which I love and think make wonderful gifts!

Source: Susan Woodard Watercolors

Pricing starts at $225 for a 5 x7 watercolor of one person and go up from there. (Additional people and houses have an extra charge.) You can find more detailed pricing on her website at

2. Gayle Hurley


A graduate of Vanderbilt (so I have to feature her!) artist Gayle Hurley does charcoal, watercolor, oil, and mixed media. From browsing her website it looks like she can work from a photo and her prices start at $600. Update: Gayle is no longer taking portrait. commissions. 

3. Donna McMahon Art

Sallie Manning0005_2_1finished
Source: Donna McMahon

Based out of Hendersonville, NC, Donna McMahon often travels to children’s boutiques around the South to paint children and give lifelong treasure to their parents. She uses pencil, pastels, and watercolors.

You can schedule a visit with her or she can work from a photo. (She also does pets!). Her prices start at $225 for a 11 x 14 pencil sketch and go up from there. Email her at for more information.


Next, I’ve listed some wonderful artists that can be commissioned to paint your child. These artists need to work with your child in person, but many of them will travel for a fee. The process for a commission painting can take up to 9 months or longer. Click on name to go to artist’s website for more information.

1. Kay Polk, Dallas, TX.

“Cami” Source: Kay Polk

A friend has paintings by Kay Polk in her entry hallway and they are just precious. Dallas families have commissioned her to paint their children for the past 30 years. Contact for pricing.

2. Glenda Brown, Memphis, TN.

Source: Glenda Brown

Glenda Brown’s style is described on her website as “contemporary realistic with a touch of impressionism.” Paintings from $5,000-10,000.

3. Emily Leonard, Nashville, TN.

“Ana at the Window” Source: Garden and Gun, Emily Leonard

Known for her  Tennessee landscapes, Emily Leonard was recently featured in Garden and Gun magazine for her mixed media on paper and oil paintings. She only accepts 5 commission pieces a year. Contact for pricing.

4. Kate Bradley, Memphis, TN .

Source: Kate Bradley

Auburn graduate, and favorite of Memphis moms, Kate Bradley only does charcoal and oil paintings. She accepts 12 commissions a year. ($3,000-$10,000). She is moving to Texas this summer and is now accepting commissions in Dallas and Austin!

5. Megan Grinder, Memphis, TN.

Source: Megan Grinder

With formal training at Princeton University, Megan Grinder specializes in oil on canvas and linen. Her beautiful works start at $3,500 for head and shoulder portrait and $5,500 for a full length portrait.


I am sure there are many more wonderful artists that I did not include, so please feel free to share your favorite artists (who specializes in children) in the Comments section below. I would love to have a running list for my readers!

If you use one of these artists in the future, I would be so appreciative if you would tell them you heard about them on DoSayGive. And please share this post on social media if you think your friends will enjoy this post as well.

Remember, a piece of art always makes a wonderful gift!








What do you think?
Leave a Comment

5 thoughts on “Friday Focus: Children’s Portrait Artists

  1. I recently joined DoSayGive and saw your blog about portraits. I am a representative for Portraits, Inc. and actually represent several of the artist you featured and about 200 more. My company is a great resource for all your portrait needs and as a representative living in Atlanta I can help anyone. I’m enjoying your blog! Ann Richards

    1. Oh thanks so much, Ann! What a wonderful thing to know! Please feel free to send me your contact information or add it to your comment so readers can reach out to you if they are trying to find the right portrait artist for their family. If you ever do an event in Dallas, please let me know!

  2. Giving a timeless gift of a portrait — so thoughtful. I love to paint children, working from my own photos or the client’s. Please see my website for samples of my work and customer comments.