The above painting is as close as I will ever come to doing a portrait of my daughter Amanda. My mother painted portraits and hated every moment of it. I won't even try. I know it is a failing, a weakness of spirit, that prevents me. All the really good realist artists have mastered the figure and portrait. I did take classes with the noted portrait master Danni Dawson, but painted still lifes while the rest of class worked from a model. I listened to all of her comments and kidded myself that I was learning portraiture. Then came the weekly portrait homework.
Something odd happens when I try to paint the human face. And it's not Kandinsky-odd. An eight inch head suddenly grows to be eleven inches with the chin drooping off the canvas. Ears get gnarly. Colors muddy and threaten to turn viral. I think I have the mouth right and then one brush stroke later it is all lost. It's like playing touch tag with the devil.
This is the only self-portrait still above ground. I have kept this portrait only because my brother, Randy says it captures my personality perfectly. That's a damned nasty thing to say about such a gently thrusting chin. In spite of this, I still love him.
Maybe I'll surprise him with a portrait for Christmas.