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.


Roderick said...

Love the portraits and it was so interesting, revealing, and fun to sit for you. Many thanks! Mahalo.

Anonymous said...

Aloha or rather, hola from the other side of the planet. Really beautiful portraits. We are winding down our Barcelona portion of the trip... I think you could definitely do the portrait thing here, they have no one who does your style. It's more that usual charcoal detail stuff, or caricatures - I hate most of those -
tomorrow we go to madrid... t

David Westerfield said...

These portraits are really nice Arthur. I was looking through old emails and realized I'd forgotten to bookmark your blog. I'll keep watching. Aloha.