Although I prefer to paint people that I photograph in person, I have often made portraits from existing photographs. An assortment of photos and snapshots of the subject help me see unique gestures and forms, and to acquire a "feel" for the personality I will try to convey in the painting or drawing. Stories and comments from parents or other family members aid in finding the not-so-hidden Huckleberry Finn or Laura Ingalls Wilder in each child.
Recently, I have begun painting new portraits from old snapshots. When relatives in black and white photo albums are brought to life through family storytelling, we smile, even giggle, in remembrance, flooding our minds with memories. These emotions can be translated in painting by enlarging the image size and adding color. Go to the Paintings from Snapshots section of the Gallery to see how Jerry and Tom were transformed through scale and color.
I have been privileged to make paintings of children who are deceased. Life size portraits have comforted families who are, as one woman wrote, afraid that they might forget the spirit of the child. In this process, I borrow lots of photos and some personal items like sneakers or a stuffed animal that could be included in the composition. I need to know the general height of the child and enjoy hearing some background information about them.
I would be happy to work with anyone interested on a Special Project of this kind. It is critical that the photographic images used are clear enough for me to translate detail.