I received a special commission from a dear friend that I could not turn down. My friend asked that I paint a portrait for her partner in memory of his grandfather. My art career began with portrait pencil drawings of families, children, and individual people but it has been a long time since I accepted a portraiture commission so I was hesitant at first. Plus trying to capture someone’s face with paint is always a challenge. However, taking on this project has made me grow as a painter and has made me fall in love with painting the human face all over again.
Working on this painting made me develop a technique that I have never used before. In the past, I would always start with the eyes and work my way outwards when it came to a portrait painting. This technique took a vast amount of time. For this painting I found a quicker way to paint the human face. I blocked in the larger shapes and then proceeded to paint the smaller details at the end. I saw the face as shapes instead of the human figure. This technique helped block in everything very quickly so that I can move forward to my favorite part of painting; molding and details. The use of large brushes at the start of the painting, followed by smaller brushes at the end allowed me to work through this painting very quickly. It actually surprised me since it would have taken weeks to complete this painting in the past. But with a toddler around and working only when he naps, this would have taken months. Discovering this technique helped me save time and it also meant that I could send this painting to my dear friend much quicker than expected.
It was such a delight to paint this portrait. I enjoyed combining an expressive loose background with a more realistic figure. My goal for this painting was not to capture an exact replica of the photograph but to capture the man's spirit. I especially wanted to capture the happiness that I felt from looking at his smile.