Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Half-Hour Portrait

I’m going to combine two of Phebe’s Most Excellent Questions here: Do you look at people differently [now]? When you meet someone for the first time, do you paint them in your mind? 

Yes, and yes! I don’t even know how I looked at people before I started painting lots of portraits, but I definitely think about how it would be to paint many of the people I encounter, and not just when I meet them for the first time. Someday I’d love to be successful enough and brave enough to go up to all those people with amazing faces on the subway and ask to paint them. How much fun would that be?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Half-Hour Portrait

My friend Phebe recently asked some really great questions. Her first one might be the hardest for me: Do you think the portraits you are doing now are different from your earlier work? If so, how? 

So I went back and looked at some portraits from 2010. And yes, they’re definitely different. But I’m having a hard time putting into words just how. I’m more confident, for one thing. That shows in stronger lines. I take a good chunk of time at the beginning of each portrait to get a basic drawing that captures a likeness. Once those lines are good, I stand by them. It also looks like I’m using slightly larger brushes, which probably is the case. No messing around with little strokes trying to figure out if the color and value are right. I’m not taking as much time figuring things out on the painting. That frees up a little time for what I see as the third difference, which is a little more attention to what’s going on in eyes and lips and shadows. OK for a start, Phebe?
Oh, and I've been wanting to paint this boy's eyes for a long time. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Half-Hour Portrait No. 203-ish


People sometimes ask me how many half-hour portraits I’ve painted. And I have known for a while that I should be keeping track. But when I started, I didn’t foresee how much I would love painting them, or how they would take off. And record-keeping has never been my strong suit. So, after a pretty un-scientific count, I estimate the number to be somewhere between 203 and 228. (This is just humans—dogs and cats get counted (or not) separately.) Let’s err on the low side and call this half-hour portrait number 203. And I will keep track from now on. I hope.