"It is truly useful since it is beautiful..." said Le Petit Prince from Saint Exupéry. Such was the inspiration behind last spring's "Princess & Posies Contest" held with the talented portrait artist Shari Ford and won by Maya.

From picture to painting, from a beautiful capture in Belmont Mansion's gardens, Nashville, to a work of art to cherish forever, we are thrilled to reveal the full bloom of the winner's portrait and its story. 

Charlotte sy Dimby Shari Ford tradition child portrait, garden portraiture


Painting Maya was truly a joy!

She has the most gorgeous, luminous eyes and I loved the natural and almost playful positioning of her hands. The billowing hydrangeas and the pink petal collar of her dress brought spring into my studio! I will have a hard time letting her go!

In the video below, discover the making-of process and watch the portrait coming to life. Images sometimes speak better than words!

You can also read more about my step by step working method here.

THE PORTRAIT FROM THE MODEL’S POINT OF VIEW (written by Lidiya, Maya’s mother)

Charlotte sy Dimby Shari Ford classic children's portrait heirloom smocked dress

Can you please remind us about the setting and story behind this garden portrait picture? 

Maya's portrait photo was taken at Belmont University and Mansion Grounds. It is one of my favorite places in Nashville. After moving from NYC in the middle of the pandemic, it soon became our little oasis of peace and beauty. We love coming there for picnics, riding scooters, feeding squirrels, and dipping our toes in the creek on hot summer days. There is also a beautiful rose garden that we always take time to admire, especially in spring.

Where will you place the portrait and how will you introduce it to Maya?

Our house build is very close to completion and we should be moving into our new home just in time for Maya's third birthday. We will place this painting in Maya's new room. I cannot wait to see Maya's expression when we reveal her new room with her portrait in it!

Since Maya is still very young, we will talk about this moment and reminisce about when this photo was taken. I want Maya to look at this portrait painting daily and see herself through my eyes, as the most beautiful tender flower she is.

The portrait contest theme was “Princess and Posies”. How do you incorporate flowers in your life? 

Flowers are the best way to put a smile on my face. My husband always brings home flowers when he goes grocery shopping. Now even my son knows it and 'wants papa to buy flowers for mama' when they are shopping together. We also love to add flowers to our home decor each time we celebrate or host families and friends.

 If you had to gift a flower to the world this week, what would it be?

Tulips would be my flower of choice to gift because they are the first sign of spring and new life. No matter how long winter might be, spring is always on the way!

A tip on how to best picture children?

I find it easiest to photograph my children when they are busy and having fun! I usually set up a tea party or picture them outdoors while they are playing. Morning time or after their nap is the best time for me since they are usually well rested and in a happy mood.

Children's portrait delivery a special moment Charlotte sy Dimby
Children's portrait delivery a special moment Charlotte sy Dimby

Follow Lidiya and her sweet family on Instagram

Follow Shari on Instagram. Visit her website.

Maya’s petal collar smocked dress is a Charlotte sy Dimby design.

Maya’s shoes are the Milania design from the Spanish footwear brand Amati Steps.

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