Creating portraits has been my passion since childhood. Through years of private study with master portrait artists I’ve been able to make my passion my career, and have now accrued over forty years of professional portrait experience and thousands of satisfied clients. I would caution anyone to be careful when giving a portrait commission to the first artist you see. As with other occupations, artists specialize, and just because someone is a designer, a landscape painter, a sign painter or even an illustrator, does not mean they have the years of experience and subtle command of this most difficult of all artistic challenges. Even an illustrator tends to put too much “zing” into a face, which is wanted for reproduction but not right for a painting hanging on your wall for years.
With every portrait my goal is to bring the person to life on canvas. This means each painting or drawing I create has a natural, typical expression, a spot-on likeness, and is a sensitive rendering full of life – never stony or wooden. On top of this, the portrait must satisfy as a beautiful work of art. With so many years of experience, I understand and can control all of these elements. I work to bring out natural poses and subtle expressions which suggest the intelligence, humor and passion of the subject and the overall mood of the piece. This, in turn, influences the colors and tones I choose to complete the painting. One reason that I work only from photographs is that I enjoy capturing the expression exactly, whether it is serious, slightly smiling, or a moment of sheer exuberance such as a candid shot of children playing. Only then can the personality come through, to get a sense of what the person is thinking and feeling.
I take my own photographs of the subject whenever possible, preferring to light them with soft shadows on the face, such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Sargent and many other classic artists did. This creates a three-dimensional, painterly appeal, rather than the flat-light mug shots of too many of today’s photos. Even so, I do not emphasize wrinkles, preferring to capture the best side of everyone.
Realistic skin tones are important to me and definitely influence the likeness. Flesh colors, in all their variations, are known to be some of the hardest, most subtle colors to reproduce. This challenge fires me up! Many portrait artists are satisfied with a vaguely orange-brown tone, or blackish or brown shadows, but I am not one of them. For this reason it is best to view my work in person, since photographs, prints or scans can distort the delicate colors in the originals.
Excerpt of letter from J. Brazan, Sr., Whittier, CA:
“I just want you to know that I sincerely appreciate the beautiful work you did on my portrait and the portrait of my mother. The likenesses and the colors were superb, and both portraits made wonderful gifts…”
Excerpt of letter from Leroy D. Baca, Sheriff of Los Angeles County, CA:
“The portraits cannot be more lifelike and capture the essence of these remarkable young men…”
Excerpt of letter from V. Kagan, Ventura, CA regarding a child‘s portrait:
“Everyone noticed all the wonderful and giggly detail you included in the portrait, even and including his impish grin and dirty fingernails. You are truly a very fine artist…”
Nothing matches the variety and originality of the projects that my clients bring to me in their commissions. I am always excited to see what I will be asked to paint next. I hope you’ll give me the chance to make your personal project special!