So Many Portraits


The portraits are the largest category and they do not record all the pictures,some just vanished, some were sold before they were photographed an accurate accounting may never exist.The quality of the jpgs vary many are not good save as a documentary item. Some of the earliest portraits are on transparencies. I suspect I've painted nearly 200 portraits since I started in 1984-5.They are all painted on BFK Rives paper 41 X 29" with acrylic paint.The portraits are done in one 2 1/2 hour sitting.At first I thought it would be a commercial project but soon enough I realised this was a pipe dream and that most of the portraits would remain in inventory. Some have sold to sitters and to museums. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has 20 portraits thanks in part to Evan Maurer who told an interest in my work whilst he was director of MIA. Walker Art Center has 3 portraits.10 years ago 100 portraits were exhibited at MIA, at this time many portraits were borrowed from owners and the large pictures filled a huge gallery.

The portraits were inspired by Alexi Jawlensky whose work I frst saw in New York City  in 1965 while still a student at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago.Jawlensky was a friend of Wasily Kandinsky.The work is very like the Fauves. The moving force was the color, I've always felt color was to painting what space was to sculpture. Indeed that the emotional impact of painting was carried by color.And Jawlensky paintings seem to create a permission to use color at full hue in portraits. I didn't realize how powerful the work would be until I saw several portraits together and then I knew I was on to something very unusual and original.