Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Painting portraits

I am becoming interested in painting portraits again. The process and concentration required to make the likeness of a specific individual is I think the most demanding subject an artist can undertake. I draw the head freehand and then paint it as directly as possible. Paying careful attention to the way shapes combine to make a single object (the head) and any subtle nuance of color and tone that can be rendered as seen, emphasized or ignored.The primary objective is to render the model but it cannot be escaped that it is being done with paint and that the paint must have an interest of its own independent of but in relation to the head.
I read this article on JSSargents thoughts about painting a portrait and was impressed by his obsession and clearheaded, practical approach. It is a paradox of painting that there are so many technical aspects to realistic rendering but that the real power comes from the painters inner void and confidence beyond the box. This comes through in these words from JSS

Bill 11x15 watercolor. About 1 hour

Steve Kleier / Artist


  1. I am also interested in portraits for these same reasons. Thanks for an informative post!