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.
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.