Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Jack & Rod's Portraits

Here are a couple of portraits I did recently of a super-nice couple from San Francisco. They had emailed me some photos of their city-hall marriage ceremony, where I thought they looked like identical twins, but when I actually sat to paint their likenesses I discovered how very different they really are.

My technique is pretty idiosyncratic, and far from the ideal of the traditional atelier with its careful rendering and painstaking glazing. I block things in quickly and very casually, with the knowledge that I can always remove the paint if I make an error, which I usually do. My progressive bifocals can play havoc on my vertical and horizontal proportions, and I sometimes have to overlap an actual photo on my computer with a jpg of the painting to catch the problem areas. But over the years I have developed a pretty good feeling for putting things in place and anticipating what colors I will need. My favorite is the bluish tinge of a 5 o'clock shadow, much to the consternation of Rod, who was careful to shave for the following sitting!

My portrait heroine is the painter Alice Neel. I also adore and admire Don Bachardy who is an amazing artist.