Portraits serve a purpose. They surround us with images of loved ones (including ourselves) and remind us of our past sensations, emotions and places. I grew up around artists and posed for some of them as a model myself. There wasn't a time when we didn't have art on our walls of ourselves and our friends. I only recently learned that this was somewhat unusual. I want to relate to the art on my walls on a personal level and have a connection to it or the artist. Surrounding oneself with positive personal history is a pleasure and a grounding tool (yet I'm averse to the ubiquitous family snapshot gallery.)
My goal with portraiture is to capture an individual's character. I love the process of studying an old snapshot to figure out what the subject actually looked like and to get a feel for his or her personality. If I know the persons it's often easier (as is working with a live model), but each is a fascinating process. Once the likeness comes together, I then try to bring a textural and decorative quality to the rest of the painting.
I'm attracted to the qualities of both old and new photographs. I like the beauty and graphic refinement of the former and the spontaneity of the latter. Sometimes I keep the original look, but often I change them and make up my own color-filled or monochromatic versions. Each form takes on a new life when rendered on a large scale and in paint. It's a way of giving emphasis and longevity to a treasured memory.
The responses and have been extremely rewarding. The connection people have to a work of art can be very powerful and I've seen first-hand how portraiture can affect people on a deeply emotional level. I want to make things that people enjoy living with for generations to come.