Portraits 1985- 2014


In the mid 1980's when I started my portraits I thought I might make some money selling them. I did sell them some of them but it was hardly a living though the critical response was very positive. I felt like a band that got good reviews but couldn't sell many records. I understood of course that though the portraits were less intense than my other works they were still an outside the pail style and intensity wise here in the midwest. Indeed my considerable inventory of portraits is a reality of the lack of a market here for them. I've slowed down lately as the storage is over full and I'm trying to be more selective in choosing sitters.  I'm slow to paint older gents with white beards hence getting around to my old friend Roman { jpg. here} was rather a long process. We met up at  the Northern Spark party and he showed great enthusiasm for sitting and I finally got around to painting him in late Septmber. His white beard was easy enough but he sank to the left as he sat and it made it difficult to get his head on straight. And he was a talker which meant more movement and changing expressions. The results were good the likeness slight but the zeitgeist was on the money. I hit the no sale key last week which is fine retired professors are not known for having deep pockets. The thing is exhibiting these portraits in clusters requires having lots of them to choose from and in museums you can retrieve the ones that sell to show a deeper view of the ongoing project. I'm guessing I've painted more than 200 of these things. The effect of walls covered with these portraits can be pretty engaging for the viewers. So the variety and diversity contributes to the over all effect of these installations

 But like anything we do at some point one looks for a new way to do things. Not to mention just looking for ways to freshen up a long continuing project. Recently my spouse Pamela joined me in working from the models that is we work in tandem from the same sitter. These double portraits have been exhibited several times in different settings and they have added some new aspects to the installations and exhibits . The differences play out between our approaches and something happens in people seeing these two views of the same sitter. It's partly a different emphasis and different aims. Pamela gets better likenesses most times using photos of the sitters to refine her portraits whilst I don't usually get much of a likeness I look for a picture and for certain dynamics inherent in the pose, my color is more vivid and used more to fracture the picture. That is to create a thing in itself rather than mimesis I aim for something more alarming and original. Often my portraits seem a bit like monsters. But that maybe why the two artist's works together create such a satisfying result several clients have purchased both of their portraits which creates this odd dimension to these pieces as works unto themselves by two artists. It's an experiment about the binary nature of difference and it has created some very unusual pairs of portraits.