La Department of Military


Oil on a linen canvas
James H Mays
Command Sergeant Major
Louisiana Army National Gaurd
Size 24" x 30"


It can be challenging to show the work in progress. Over two months of work has been condensed into about 2 minutes.  

Kylie's Portrait

Minor changes are being made to Kylie, and major changes will be in the background.  

Signed, sealed, delivered.

Kylie's photoshoot was done over a year ago, she grew a lot since I last saw her.

Seeing the faces of the family when I deliver a painting is so much fun. I would like my art and my life to brighten the corner of a small place in this world each day. I love painting children, they inspire me with their sweet spirits & purity of heart. May we all become like children with a heart that is pure and full of love to share with others around us.

The Story behind the Arceneaux Portrait

Mr Arceneaux contacted me about createing a portrait for his wife (a surprise Christmas present).

He sent family pictures for me to work from, however I needed to add another person, his father-in-law.  His wife lost her father last year, his passing broke her heart.  A photo of him dancing with her at their wedding would suffice for this project. 


Their little boy needed some adjusting...

 liked his face here:

& his pose here:

For her dad, I would have to find someone to pose for some photos so I could create a new body of him for the portrait.  My husband was the model.  (He's a model husband.)

A rough draft was sent for approval & critiquing:

Two different photos were used to create the background.  Well, that's the beginning of the story.  The end of the story has not arrived as of yet.

PS. The drawing & underpainting was completed by Christmas, to give as a gift.


The first photo really did show enough of the Mom's likeness because her head was tilted downward...another photo was used to replace her head.


Here's a short video showing the whole progression of the painting:


Saving Photos after a flood


Family photographs often top the salvage priority list, and luckily, they can often be saved with a bit of work. If the photograph is clean, you can simply air dry, lay on towels flat to dry. If the photograph itself is dirty, dip it in a container of clean water to remove debris,  gently rubbing it with a soft  paint brush under the water. Try to remove any framed photographs from within their frames—it is important to try and keep photographs from drying onto glass.

For photographs in albums: move the entire album through a bin of clean water in one motion. Once the albums are cleaned, you can carefully use a pair of scissors to remove the individual photographs from the album and then very carefully separate the photograph from the plastic covering.

It's very important to let them dry, this can be a challenge if the humidity is high.  one option is to place photos in a freezer (keep away from air circulating that may have mold spores.) To freeze the objects, wrap them in wax paper—photographs should be separated with the wax or parchment paper—and place into freezer bags.

Prioritize photos, wedding, baby pictures and ancestor's photography may be at the top of your list.  Your photos are your memories...try to preserve them as best as you can.


I do digital photo restoration, and will give flood victims a huge discount.

A lady I did work for (after Katrina) told me I'm so glad you were able to help me with these few pictures, I wish we hadn't thrown all the other ones away.





Creating a custom piece

When someone request a custom piece of artwork, they usually already have an idea in their mind. The artist job is to bring that vision into reality.

For this painting, the art patron, Bonnie, wanted an eagle soaring.  I had her send me a picture of the wall she was needing the the artwork to hang on.  

The first part of the process was for me to send Bonnie some conceptual designs for her to get an idea of what was in my head.

Conceptual designs of painting:

We had to determine the exact size the painting needed to be. Painters tape was placed in the area, then measurements were taken.


It was decided to go with the center image.  She requested some "semi-abstract" (I think that's pretty funny).  The eagle was more realistic while the background had texture, gold leaf and some abstract components.

A large wooden panel as constructed for the artwork.

Images of the process:





 tape and texture

tape and texture

 begin detailed work on the eagle

begin detailed work on the eagle

 Painting the sky.

Painting the sky.

Detailed image of the sky:




Here is a photo of the finished painting, hung in here home: