I love to paint portraits, not only for creating a likeness of a person but also for capturing the person’s spirit. There are two ways to create a portrait. Each has advantages and disadvantages. My favorite is creating from life. When I paint from life I have an actual relationship with my subject and I get a sense of that person’s individual dignity. I can arrange them and see details I may or may not use. This can then reflect in their portrait.
There are many reasons why creating from a pose may not be possible; I then use photographs of the subject. The advantage of the photograph is that the subject is not moving about. The biggest disadvantage, however, is a lack of intuitive interaction. It is difficult to know the personality of the subject from a photograph. Photographs do not show how the subject moves. The quality of the photograph affects what details I see about the person. A small, poorly detailed photograph printed in coarse grain with heavy shadow makes it nearly impossible for me to understand how the real person looks.
Fortunately, there are ways to correct for, or at least reduce, these disadvantages. If you are commissioning a portrait of someone whom I will not meet, you can help me get to know the subject by telling me about the subject’s personality and significant facts and stories about that person. You can help me to see the person in motion by providing multiple photographs taken at different angles. It is virtually impossible to create a portrait in a pose that is different from the one you provide – especially when only one pose is provided. You can help me see the details by providing photographs that are clear and finely grained. If the final portrait is to be in color, then the color of the photograph needs to be accurate. At least one headshot photograph that is at least 8″ x 10″ should be provided. If you cannot provide such a photograph, I will have a harder time accomplishing the desired result and may take longer, therefore incurring more cost. It is always nice for me to see the person at least once.; it is even better if they can pose for a short time.
You will be asked to view the portrait in steps. This can be unsettling because things will not look finished. Each stage adds finer detail; the glint in the eye is applied last. When you view the portrait in progress, it is easier for me to make changes before the project has already had the finishing touches. At each stage, your critical eye can help. Share with me information about the shape, the skin color, and the feel of the person. The more precisely you describe any discrepancies, the better. But keep in mind that details won’t be applied until the painting is nearly finished.
Remember also that when I am painting from photographs, you are part of the creative team. You select the photographs that let me “see” the person. You provide the feeling and details for the subject. As members of the creative team, we both need to be positive and directed toward providing that distinctive impression.
A portrait is not meant to be a photograph of a photograph — it is meant to be more. It is the impression of a person that extends beyond the momentary capture of a person on film. It reflects my intuitive interaction with the person in the portrait.
A portrait painting can capture the essence of the subject in a way no camera can by capturing a fleeting expression and selecting the particular moment, as well as portion of hair or clothing that is just right. By putting it all together in a unified whole, the portrait will look better than any of those individual parts.
Giving a commissioned portrait painting to a loved one or yourself can be a very special, enjoyable and rare experience. It is usually reserved for occasions when only the finest will do. Investing in a commissioned portrait can be a special gift for weddings, commencement ceremonies, anniversaries, birthdays, retirements, or just because. A well-painted portrait is more real, more three-dimensional than any photograph. When painting a portrait I want to reveal what kind of a person is in that painting. While photographs may fade within decades, a portrait may still be alive for hundreds of years.
- Every time you look at original art you will see something new. The time of day, lighting, your angle and your mood are some of the things that affect your view.
- I want you to sit down and look at the painting and be happy that you asked me to create this piece of artwork.
- Most of my artwork is commissioned; that is, sold before I create it.
- Each piece of artwork is a part of me. I am pleased to have you own one of mine.
- To my many loyal customers I say, “Thank you for your business.”
- To my future customers I say, “Welcome to my studio.”
- I am an award-winning artist specializing in two-dimensional media including: Oils, Acrylic, Pastels, Watercolors, Pen & Ink, Graphite and Silver Point.
I am a member of the American Society of Portrait Artists, the Portrait Society of America and the New York Society of Portrait Artists. I am also listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who of American Women and Who’s Who in America.