My creative process for portraiture begins with what the

model projects.  Body language is a very important part of

achieving a likeness. There fore I do not pose my models.  I talk

with them after they seat  themselves. The more we talk the

more comfortable they tend to become in the chair and in my

company.  I watch them move about in the chair until I am struck

with a composition. Left to position them selves with no more

direction than sitting or standing, the subject will take a pose that

is characteristic of them.

Once we have a pose which suits both their comfort and my

inspiration I begin to choose back ground colors and set the lights.

Selecting the right size and proportioned canvas is next.  I

begin  drawing in charcoal on the canvas.  Correcting the anatomy

and placement continuously. Developing the drawing can take up

to an hour or more.  When satisfied I spray with fixative and begin

painting.  I first analyze the subjects flesh tones and decide on the

colors I will use.  I lay in my large dark shadow shapes first,

beginning with the eyes and then working all over the face and

down through the body.  Constantly painting the colors and values

I identify.  Then I paint in the local colors, or mid tone shapes.

Lastly I paint in the lights. I strive to cover the entire canvas with

paint as soon as possible. Since I work on a white canvas it is

important  to establish and over state my values in the first

stages. Now I have my “knock in” which I will then devote hours

to repainting until I am satisfied with the finish.  The face can take

me from six hours to infinity.  Sometimes new starts are needed.

Portraiture is one of the more difficult expressions of

painting.  It demands a command of the anatomy, color and

composition.  The success of portrait painting is to first and

foremost commit myself to the art of making a  good painting. A

well composed interesting painting conveying an inspired moment.

Ie: “A down ward glance.......”, “A woman in a red hat....” “A

woman defiantly smoking a cigarette.....”

I do not work from photos. The interaction between myself

and the model is of paramount importance.  The animation  of my

subject which occurs during our relaxed sessions is what helps me

to understand the structure of their face and body movements. In

which enables me to achieve the personality of the subject.

Secondly, the camera does not provide enough spacial depth (in

terms of subtle but necessary transitions of  temperature and

intensity of color ) needed to recede or project the form in space.

Since my approach to all work is that of the impressionist school

working from life is essential with still life and plein air painting as

well as portraiture.

My approach to laying in a portrait is also the progression of

steps I use in all my work.  I first decide what my most striking

impression is of my subject. Ie...the light.....the palette.....the

scale......the emotional response to a moment in time that will

never occur again.....etc.

I would say my most significant artistic accomplishment to

date was being commissioned by the Social Law Library

Committee of Boston, MA to paint their acting President, James

Brink in 1999.  The painting resides in the State House Collection,

Boston, MA along with Sargent’s, Tarbell’s , Copley’s and over one

hundred others.




artist statement






still life