I recently completed a commission for a posthumous portrait. These types of portraits are perhaps some of the most challenging works of art to recreate. I’ve discovered as have other artists that it takes a special sensitivity to attempt one. One issue is unless the artist has good to excellent reference material one should avoid the job altogether despite the financial gain. You don’t want to disappoint. I mentioned having a special sensitivity earlier. I’ll explain. Simply put, your vision of the subject may not coincide with the client’s image of this person. You’re working from a flat two -dimensional surface and you’re intention is to make it a work of art, not a copy of a photo. When I have paint from someone else’s photo I’m thinking not only about mapping the face and recreating and adjusting the tones but also how are the surface planes showing up( what you’re seeing minus the depth. Flat areas) Plus the photos may be from a few years back. I was fortunate that the client gave me good reference material plus their own description of the subject(skin tone) And speaking of skin tones telling the artist that the person was light skinned or brown skinned or even dark skin runs the gamut between a Dorothy Dandridge or Thandie Newton or Halle Berry or Prince(light skinned and all warm tones) to a Wesley Snipes, Idris Elba, Danai Gurira to Serena Williams to Lupita Nyong’o(all cool dark tones) On a side note I’d kill to paint the last three!! Maybe kill is too strong of a word. How about I’d be highly motivated? Anyhow, I hope to post a picture of my latest portrait pending approval from the client. Later

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s