If you are interested in a custom painted portrait of your bundle of joy, or would like to surprise someone with a painting of theirs… I create one of a kind, hand painted portraits of babies that are a little bit quirky and a little bit FUN.
The Kiss the Baby venture started not long after I became a mum in 2016. My background was in Art Teaching, so it wasn’t long before my friends were asking if I would paint portraits of their babies. Lucky for me I started this mum gig with some amazing people, who coincidently, had some amazing babies.
Baby photography is so huge now, I too had the newborn photos taken, but I wanted to offer an alternative to the super realistic photo… something a little juicier, something like a big, fat, wet, baby kiss.
Long story short, Kiss the Baby was born, literally. X
I’m a 38 year old Mum who lives in Bendigo, Victoria, AUSTRALIA. I’ve been an Art Teacher all my adult life (it’s debatable how long that’s been), lived and worked in Bristol UK for two years, where I had the opportunity to travel the globe. I fell in love with Europe and since returning to Australia have spent every waking second trying to figure out how I could buy a holiday house/art studio in Ireland, Italy, and France (be greedy, live the dream!).
In 2012 I took my long service leave from teaching and applied to the Rome Art Program which I was accepted with a scholarship to spend 4 glorious weeks painting and drawing on the streets of Rome. ITALY. This is where I began my love/hate relationship with watercolours. This trip was food for my artistic soul and I returned to Australia renewed with a determination to practice my art more.
In 2014, I got married to my partner of 10 years. The Honeymoon was another great excuse to visit Italy, reminding me just how much I wanted that holiday house! This time on my return, I found the stamina to commit to my studio practice. Determined to teach myself to draw architecture (initially I was an oil painter of figures) I dedicated an hour a day to drawing. It became a real mission to find an hour a day and once it became habit I challenged myself to create one drawing a day for 365 days. I began posting my ‘One Drawing a Day’ on a dedicated Facebook page and before I knew it there were offers to buy my art and excitement brewing (that holiday house may be a reality yet)! I fell pregnant not long into my project, and on day 310 my waters broke and on day 311 we welcomed baby Florence into the world. I didn’t miss a drawing!
2016 was a busy year, giving birth, finishing my 365 drawings, holding an exhibition to sell all 365 drawings. And all this with a newborn in my arms! I look back now and have no idea how I did it. The opening night of my first solo exhibition, One Drawing a Day by Frankie O, was a massive success. I sold more than 85% of my artworks and started to believe in myself and my art.
After the hype from the exhibition died down I started to get the itch to create again. Several people had asked if I painted portraits. I hadn’t really considered it but I am always up for a challenge. I decided to use a few friend’s children to experiment on, trying to find a style I loved… and eventually after many, many, many bad portraits I found one! It’s colourful, exciting, dramatic, and alive. I really enjoy the beautiful blooms and watermarks created with watercolour paints. These are usually considered mistakes in the traditional painting world, but I just loved their fluid nature and unpredictability. I am never guaranteed a portrait will turn out when I begin, honestly, I often make two or three before I am happy. But it’s the thrill of the uncertainty that makes creating portraits this way so exciting! I love how there is so much going on but when you stand back and look, it just all seems to come together, like a big, fat, wet, baby kiss!
So here we are… Mwwaahhh!