Paint me Like I'm not there
People have all kinds of reactions to the notion of being made the subject of a painting. Some are eager to see the finished product and hang it proudly on their wall, while others prefer to shy away from the concept. For the latter, a realistic depiction is less than ideal.
When I was asked to paint this portrait, I knew the subject fell into the second category. Because of this, I jumped at the opportunity to sit down and share brunch and conversation with both her and her partner. Over a breakfast buffet that I was not equipped to handle—my hunger was quickly conquered—I gleaned a few details about the subject. The detail that helped me determine how I would approach the piece was the fact that she loves plants, particularly the potted kind that thrive indoors.
Using this detail, I created a layer of abstraction for the piece. Positioning leaves and flowers in and around her hair, the subject almost belongs to another world where humans and nature are one.
Additionally, the subject is depicted using a diverse palette—her skin is composed of various blocks of color.
There is a level of irony to the piece when one considers that she is looking directly at the viewer, which is not expected of someone who has reservations about being captured on canvas. However, as you can see in the process video below, I worked off of a real photo of the individual.