Jeffrey Vallis is a freelance writer and communications specialist living in Toronto.

Thoughts and reflections on my life and work.

Thoughts and reflections on my life and work.

Our love in portrait mode


The age-old tradition of portraiture is so elegant and enduring, and a little bit eccentric but that’s why I love it.

Granted, it does seem like a bygone art form reserved only for the royals or aristocrats. That’s probably why when I suggested to Chris that we get an engagement portrait, he protested in a (third-rate) English accent.

But, for some reason, portraits have been in my orbit a lot more frequently lately.

First, I had the pleasure of interviewing Toronto artist and elementary school teacher Gordon Shadrach for CBC earlier this year. His portraits challenge anyone looking at them to consider what stereotypes they might have about black men.

Then, there’s Winnipegger Cori Jaye, who quit her job to pursue art full time. I’ve been following her on Instagram for a while and love her colourful paintings of couples and playful portraits of cute animals.

So I commissioned Cori to turn one of my favourite photos from our engagement photo shoot in Hawaii with Gallivan Photo into a 24x30 abstract, semi-realist acrylic painting on gallery wrapped canvas. And I couldn’t have imagined how amazing this would turn out.

After I sent her the photo, she asked me to tell her a little bit about Chris and me, to help her get to know us better and find inspiration for the painting. So I sent her a couple casual montage videos from our first anniversary and second anniversary and that seemed to do the trick! Cori even made a time-lapse video of the whole thing for your viewing pleasure.

In the card she gave us with the painting, she thanked us for supporting her artwork (class act!) and said “This piece was such a pleasure to create for you. I hope it forever reminds you of the strong bond you both share and brings warmth and joy to your home.”

I have no doubt that it will, and I can’t wait to put it up in our new place.

Check out Cori’s work and reach out to her if you’re interested in getting a portrait of your own. But, if you don’t live in Winnipeg, it’s probably best to just let her ship it to you because we had a hell of a time trying to get this sucker on the plane!