Portraits of Children and Caregivers

From an embrace to simply laying next to each other, I aim to create a large body of work that includes mothers, fathers, grandparents and other grownups with the children they care for.  As a mother of two young children, I notice how few paintings include children. Caring is such a huge component of many of our lives. I’ve overcome my fear of making art that might be labeled as sentimental so that I can paint both the significant and the routine moments. My references are photos from around around the world that I’ve taken of friends and family, self-portraits and those of me taken by my partner. Most of the references are snapshots and are rarely posed. I sometimes change clothing/background colors and also omit items that might distract in the painting.

If you have a moment you captured in a photo that would like me to consider painting, please email me a photo stating I have your permission to paint it along with the first names of those in the photo. Email me at betni.kalk@gmail.com

Aunt and cousin holding newborn
Melody, Gabe and Newborn Nasha / 16 x 20 / acrylic on board / 2022 /
My sister Melody and her son Gabe with my newborn Nasha

mom playing ukulele while sone touches her shoulder
Sharne and her son Otis / 18 x 24 inches / acrylic on canvas / I was visiting Sharne and her family in Brisbane and captured this moment as she was playing ukulele on her porch
My partner Kanayo and our daughter Ayama / 18 x 24 in / Acrylic on Canvas
My daughter Ayama and her Nigerian grandmother Elizabeth Ogochukwu / 36 x 60 inches / acrylic on canvas / 2022 / I took the reference photo on the day of Ayama’s baptism when Elizabeth was holding her on our front porch
Imari and her baby / 24 x 24 inches / acrylic on board / When my family lived in Wabualu (ESP, PNG) she and her family lived down the hill from us. She and her sister (who passed away when she was a teen from TB) used to hang out with us out in the bush or on our porch much of their days. Her dad Plani was one of my dad’s translators as my dad learned Sawiyano. On my last visit to Wabualu, Imari and her husband along with Plani and Sike (his new wife) had hiked nearly a day to come and say hi. Imari was exhausted but fed her baby and waited as her dad recorded messages for my father.