I was approached about a portrait commission during a recent show. I hesitated because I don't really "do" portraits. I had painted a genre-type painting that included a figure, which a lot of people seemed to like, but I wasn't very confident about capturing a likeness where it mattered. I reviewed a lot of snapshots and spent some time with a charismatic young girl whose ideal pet is an African hissing cockroach. Eventually we settled on a photo of the girl feeding Birdeelee, a rescue who had become imprinted and would hang out on the patio waiting to be fed.
I struggled with just about everything. Getting the head to be that of a young child. Dealing with the background, which needed to have some reality but also needed to "step back" to give focus to the figure. The light in the photo was indirect, so I didn't have any obvious drama. As a result, I looked at a lot of impressionist portraits along with John Singer Sergeant -- a did the best I could. Now on to landscapes!