Father and Son, SOLD
This painting (top) is a private commission I've been working on all week. My reference was a slightly overexposed flash photo. Of course, since the camera flashed, there are no shadows on the faces which makes it much harder to define the planes of the face. My favorite portraits have a strong light coming from the side. A basic understanding of the bones of the skull is helpful in painting portraits, especially if the reference is a flash photo.
Clothing can add a lot to a portrait. I loved doing the boy's striped shirt because the stripes help define the lay of the fabric. I would have liked a shirt with a few more details on the father.
I like to blur the background on portraits. Too much detail in the background of a painting can compete with the faces for attention and the faces should be the most important thing.
When pricing commissions, I usually consider how many faces and hands are in the photo. In this portrait I blurred the boy's hands, but showed more detail in the father's hand. Adult hands usually show the underlying bone structure which makes them look believable. Small children do not have a lot of definition to their hands.
My series of 12 portraits I did a while ago in fauvist style are a favorite of mine - see the category of "figures" on my website. Fauvism was a style of painting popular around the turn of the century and is characterized by wild colors and strong brushwork. My 12 people are mounted on my bathroom wall so they are all looking at you when you're using the facility. I know that's a little weird, but I really like them there. We call them the Bathroom People.