Perceptions, emotions, likenesses… all come into play while working on portraits. I am not a portrait artist, but I do like painting them when something strikes me about the time or the person.
For example, in Mama & Baby, I painted this when my firstborn was off to college. The scene itself is very serene and beautiful, but the painting reflects the fractured state I was in at the time. The strokes are thicker, more turbulent, and color bolder than I would normally paint a scene like this in.
“Boy & His Dog” is more settled, even though the boy and the dog were both highly ornery. In my view, this painting shares a joy of familyhood – a love between the boy and his dog, and my love for the boy. This one was painted at the time depicted, along with his favorite blanket.
“The Poet”, below, is one of my favorite portraits. The boy is painted in his environment, showing his quiet introverted quality as a thinker, and his masculineness even as a toddler. It was vital for me in this painting, to capture the round, smoothness of his cheeks with fine rosy color, and his natural pose. I really wanted to hug him! This portrait was painted in a time just after my father’s death. A lot of my paintings at that time captured the environment of my father’s heritage. It seemed like the paintings then were stronger than at other times, I was painting almost non-stop, almost desperately.
“The Bride”. Can you see her anticipation and joy? What a beautiful, aware, loving woman. The simplicity of the watercolors really made this portrait work.
Portraits are painted because of love. Either their character, their beauty, their circumstances… or all, spur the desire to paint. Painting style is determined by my response to the subject.