I created Mr. Eans a few years ago to enter the National Portrait Gallery’s portrait competition. He did not make into the semi-finals, but, the work got me started on working with portraits. For years I have been dabbling in all sorts of areas, but when I have time to myself I do portrait sketches. The process of doing the 20 has been a massive learning experience. I have done some works that are truly me, some that were compromises and some that were simply to big a project to bite off. Out of the 20, 6 or so are unfinished.
I have learned that it takes a great deal of time and time I was prepared to give, but the past couple of years have produced major life time constraints that were honestly out of my hands.
Now that I am unemployed it seems I finally have the time to finish them all. Very happy about this.
I work wet on dry. This mean I often have to wait days if not a week for something to dry before the next stage can occur. It’s a laborious process, but a process I love.
The second work of the series is Ms. Flage. She has a powerful and confident personality and I really wanted to capture that. On the other hand she has a long lineage of Southern tea drinking ladies. The combination is lovely. I wanted her eyes to portray her confidence and knowledge and her hands to evoke the elegance of a ladies tea party. I never realized until I began the work on the first 20 works how much I love the design of space. The abstractness of space within the figure is of paramount importance. The goal of these 20 was to present a half abstract – half realistic portrayal of each persons persona within a geometrically relational background. I also wanted to work in pure colors, almost out of the tube.
I have gone back into Mr. Manners (shown here) and have yet to have it photographed.
I especially loved working on this image and the wrangling of it’s design. The joy of the first 20 is that they are all experiments brought to fruition. Therefore the goal of the design and space changes between them but they are all of the same philosophy.
Miss Clark was an experiment in the aesthetics of space. The relationships between the spaces are what holds the aestheticism. Now that my techniques are becoming more honed, I would do this one again with more beauty and transitional characteristics. I used to think that each work was unique and set in stone, but as I experiment with my vocabulary I am finding they can be very different works and each has it’s own character, even if the same subject.
I found an image of my grandmother holding me when I was just a baby. Although the image is clearly her, I wanted to make it more about maternal bonds. It’s a lovely combination. I also abstracted it more than the others as space and design became more and more important. I also wanted to depart from color through and through to see what could be done with color glazed overlays. My sister however, stepped in and begged me not to touch it any further. I am glad she did. It has a very different feel and space that I love. I will do more works like this from some of the drawings from this blog.
I have more works to show but will add them in installments. I have to get to working on my commission. After all, creating is the point of this blog.
This subject, Brent, has a bold elegance and strength in the way he interacts with the world around him. I chose to distill these qualities in a nuanced concept of composure and containment. It’s what makes his persona uniquely his own.
My recent commission has been digitally blurred in the face so that I can keep the identity of the subject private. This 24 x 48″ work has just been completed. I am currently waiting for a new order of varnish to arrive.