When Reston's Debby Bird saw the newly-elected Pope Francis introduced to the world last spring, she knew she wanted to paint a picture of him.
"I just love the way he is so humble," Bird said. "His humility has really inspired me."
So she went into her studio and captured the pontiff in oil on canvas. The painting now hangs at Bird's church, St. John Neumann in Reston. It is also among dozens of Pope portraits from all over the world entered in Catholic News Service's Pope Francis Art Contest.
The entries range from serious and regal to whimsical and cartoon-like. Voting in the contest goes through Sunday and winners will be announced Monday. Click here to see all the entries and vote.
Bird is a former architect and who also studied Studio Art in college and recently rediscovered her love of painting portraits. She is currently raising three children under 5, so she says she paints during naptime and in the evening.
"Although we are Catholic my husband was not sure if he wanted a large painting of the Pope on permanent display in our house so I decided to ask our Parish if they would be interested," said Bird. "I worked with the priest, Fr. Tom, to decide on a final composition that would be suitable for the church and then completed the painting in about two weeks."
Bird was searching online for other Pope likenesses when saw info about the contest.
"Since I already had the painting completed it was very easy," she said.