Painting portrait art

I have been painting a lot of portraits over the last several months and will gradually start sharing them with the world. I normally feel excited to share my art with people, but portraits seem a little more private and personal—for somewhat self-evident reasons, I suppose, since they are a direct interpretation of my experience with another human being.

I did a residency in Paris in the winter of 2015-2016 at the Cité Internationale des Arts, and I was making a lot of portraits while I was there. That series of portraits was of Syrian refugees who were displaced to Paris over the last several years, some of them arriving during my residency, some who had come to Paris at the beginning of the revolution in 2011, & everything in between. Those images are not public yet because I'm still working on a more wholistic product that combines image + written (non-fictional) stories they told me as we got to know each other during my months at the Cité Internationale des Arts. But... if you ask nicely, I'll share a preview!

So, back to this portrait.... your fun fact of the day is that I am twin (we are fraternal). I made this for her as a gift for her. Although at times, it felt like I was making a self portrait. Weird.

Painting portrait art is so fun once you are past the frustration. The tiniest details make all the difference. In the most frustrating portrait I've painted, I did 5 unique underdrawings to get his likeness, 3 versions of a so-called "final" painting on nice paper, and I am still going to re-do the final painting a third time because I'm not satisfied. When you have so many almost-but-not-quite-perfect drawings in front of you, it's a real puzzle to figure out which parts of each should be brought into your final image. I don't want my portraits to be photographic because I don't believe in that concept... people photograph so differently from photo to photo anyway. So why should portraits be perfect? What is perfect?

For the portrait above, I only did 2 underdrawings before I was satisfied with the likeness (or, technically, one drawing since I just erased the first one and drew on top of it...) and only one final painting. Maybe the fact that she's my twin made it easier... Or maybe I'm just getting better at this!

And yes, I am accepting portrait commissions. Email me.