Always something to learn! That’s what I tell my husband when he wonders why I keep going to workshops. If I walk away with one thing that inspires me, points me in a new direction, solves a problem I’ve been wrestling with, it’s so worth the time and money. You see I’m old. I didn’t keep at this painting thing after college. I studied painting in school but I had that idea that I could never make a living at it so I tried everything else. Everything else always seemed to be somehow related to art though. Stained glass —there may still be some restaurants in Kankakee, Illinois with some of my windows. Handpainted and silkscreened clothing — children’s line and an adult beachwear line. Graphic design — did titles for Marty Stouffer’s wildlife series. Faux finishing and murals—painted lots of houses here in the Charlotte area. I’ve finally come back to strictly art for art’s sake. I love to paint! I am passionate about it — plein air, people, dogs….
This portrait was done in Dawn Whitelaw’s portrait workshop. I’ve always admired Dawn’s work. It has a loose freshness that I really enjoy. And I was pleasantly surprised at what an incredible teacher she is. She obviously takes it very seriously and puts lots of time and energy into preparing her workshops. One of the things she stressed was to really look at your subject and decide what to focus on. What’s compelling about that face? She also asked that we really address our whole canvas as we go. How to handle the background, etc. It’s so easy to just focus on the portrait and fill in the background later — but they all relate. We studied lots of successful portraits to see what worked and didn’t.
I’m pleased with the results of this painting of Don. He was an incredible model. Typically the model sits for 20 minutes, takes a break, sits again, etc. Don was happy to keep sitting despite our efforts for him to take a break. He has such a strong face with so much character — I think that makes it easier. This is one of the few paintings that I have not touched since that session— frequently I will rework them once I get them back to the studio.
This painting thing is a never-ending source of joy and frustration! I’m happy to say I’m completely addicted. Always challenging and always something to learn! Happy painting!