I don’t usually paint real people. Dogs, on occasion, but people, no. Then, something happened last month. A big event. No, wait. I need to get this right. A HUGE event. My beautiful niece was turning Twenty One! What to get her? That was the question. Hm… I decided to try my hand at a portrait. I felt compelled to capture, in paint, this pivotal moment in her life. I figured, geez, if I can paint a dog portrait, how hard could a person be? I found out in a hurry… HARD. I was happy though, when it turned out to be a pretty good likeness of her. A few quirks, but she loved it! I felt encouraged…
Brandon with Cigar
So, the next thing I know, a photo of my nephew pops up on Facebook. Oh my gosh! How perfect this photo. From the color of his shirt, to the brick wall, to the look on his face, a really fine photograph. With a few background tweaks, clutter removal, so to speak, I could dabble in people portraits yet again. Yeh… I had had HAD to paint it and I did. Oh, it has its quirks too, or maybe they are Tammyisms, but not bad! I am learning as I go.
I was going to mail it to him as a surprise, but I changed my mind and had a little fun on Facebook. I posted the painting and said, “If this painting resembles you, you may want to check your mail in a few days!” Of course, he was tickled, as was I…
“Far Away Gaze”
Portrait of Artist
Now, for my current portrait. A little game, you could say. I double dog dared myself to try someone famous, recognizable, revered by many in the art world. I decided on Frida Kahlo. Let me say, I am not a big fan of ‘celebrity’ paintings (I use the term loosely). Really, who wants a painting of Rick (don’t know his actual name) from the Walking Dead hanging on their wall? I guess there are some. Frida is different somehow. She herself might have appreciated my attempt, as she painted over fifty self portraits. So, I found a wonderful black and white photograph of her, flowers in her hair, cigarette in her hand. It was the inspiration for my painting titled “Far Away Gaze”. A few days of paints flying, hair pulling, hubby’s critical eye, monkey tweaking, and viola! Pulled it off! Surprised myself… 🙂
Now for the big wrap up, my conclusion on painting real people (notice I don’t call it painting realism, obviously not even close). It really is quite a challenge. I enjoy painting from fabulous photos. There has to be something about the photo that speaks to me, colors, a look, the pose. I prefer painting people over animals, though I prefer the company of animals over most people. Don’t ask me to paint Brian Cranston. Ain’t happening. And I really don’t want to paint your mom either. I’m one of those that only want to paint what I want to paint when I want to paint it. Seems like lately it’s been a couple special kids and Frida Kahlo! Go figure…