My art has always been a visual diary of the people and places in my life. It makes a notable difference in the quality and emotion of the work if I have a relationship with the subject of the painting. Currently I’m most interested in representing the people that I know and love. Especially now, almost 60 years old and in this weird not-quite-post-pandemic state, I want to paint this quiet life I have and the small group of people with whom I share it. I am focusing on portraiture, something I have always been obsessed with, and exploring ways of making it more interesting to the viewer who doesn’t know the subject.
In a figure painting course with Christian Fagerlund at UNT, my graduate project for the course was to create 30 self portraits with certain parameters: from life, alla prima, a 2-3 hour time limit, consistent size and medium, and no going back and fixing the ugly ones. Not used to painting alla prima (or myself), many of them are not good. Even so, there was something that was “me” in each portrait, and that sparked an interest in exploring the idea of creating multiple portraits of a subject.
I am currently painting multiple portraits of my husband, Billy, with similar parameters: a time limit (2.5 hours), alla prima, 6”x 8” oil on panel. These are painted from daily photos taken of him. As with the first project, the first several are rough, to say the least, but all have some element of “Billy”-ness. I am currently on number nine out of the series, and the challenge is to show all the facets of the Billy that I know. I hope that what also comes across is my knowledge of and love for the subject.
I’m not interested in these portraits as individual works, but in the viewer seeing them in the aggregate. I’m not sure what it is I’m going for yet, but am interested in following this and seeing what happens.