Painting Video: A Child’s Portrait

Jonathan Linton pairs contemporary realism with traditional aesthetics to create masterly children’s portraits—paintings the artist refers to as “personal fine art.” Unlike so many works of the genre, Linton’s portraits forestall the cliché by dodging formulaic rendering and overt expressions of sentimentality. His results are paintings that speak for themselves.

Linton’s commission work is 60 percent children’s portraiture, and he maintains that painting children’s portraits can be a uniquely satisfying artistic endeavor. Unlike a portrait for a boardroom or a university library, a child’s likeness is both extremely personal and uniquely precious.

Avery (at right, oil on linen, 60×24) was painted as one of a group of three paintings—one each of Avery and her two siblings. The verdant setting is actually Avery’s backyard so, Linton says, it made a lot of sense to paint each child in that area. The benefit of a full-length portrait is that both the subject and the setting can be featured.

The article “Balancing Act” about Linton and his work—with the seven-step demonstration for Avery—appears in the May 2010 issue of The Artist’s Magazine.

Click here to learn more about the May 2010 issue of The Artist’s Magazine.

Click here for the digital download of the May 2010 issue.

Click here to see a free time-lapse video of Linton painting Avery.

Meet Jonathan Linton
Having received his bachelor of fine arts degree in painting from Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah, Jonathan Linton later studied at the Art Students League of New York and in Italy. As a child, the artist was fortunate to take classes with the late Helen Wiscombe and then with Harold Petersen and Patrick Eddington. Having illustrated several children’s picture books by popular Christian writer Richard Paul Evans, presently Linton prefers to focus his attention on his portraits and figurative works. He’s been featured in numerous magazines, is listed on and is represented by Portraits Inc. (New York City and Birmingham, Alabama) and by Clare Emerson Robbins, in Tampa, Florida. Linton lives with his wife and four children outside Washington, D.C. For more information, visit the artist’s website:

Meredith E. Lewis is a freelance writer and editor working in Central Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of the University of Oxford and Haverford College.


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