I finished Red Shirt Man. After painting large scale I returned to the easel and my portrait wasn’t fitting the canvas. I flipped the canvas upside down and started anew. The second go-round was a good feeling. It was like putting on a glove I had already broken in. The strokes flowed and the paint went on smoothly. My eye focused on key character elements to define the likeness of the model. I was seeing the sitter on the canvas and I was using the paint to bring him out.
It was only a week later that I looked at the canvas again and realized, “he has no eyes”. I had seen them all along but failed to use the paint to mark them. So I went back a final time and stroked in the eyes.
With a few more details I finished Red Shirt Man.
I continued to work on Roman’s portrait. This was my third attempt to reach the point of being satisfied with the likeness. The portrait is now in observation phase, I let the work settle while I observe it during a period of time. I use this time to find what I may object to before considering it finished.
This portrait is a commission by his beloved grandmother. I painted his older sister four years ago. She was three at the time. A short time later, grandmother learned she would soon have a grandson and I was immediately commissioned to paint the new grandson’s portrait when he turned three years old.
Roman is all boy and I’ve enjoyed painting him. As I painted I was reminded of his sister’s features and I pulled out my file photo of the portrait. It was wonderful to see where my painting has gone in the last four years. Painting under the talented eye of William Kalwick for the last three years has brought out great things in my work. Kalwick is not just an instructor, he is a mentor and a friend. He loves what he does and wants to do more and more of it. It is a great opportunity to work with him right here in Houston.
For now, as the paint sets in, I am sending the client a progress photo to get her comments before finalizing the artwork. In the meantime, during the observation phase, I note any elements I want to tweak before completion. I can see three already.