Wednesday, February 20, 2013

pants on fire: first "commission"

i know, i know. i said i wasn't going to post until i returned from borrego springs, but apparently i lied.
shortly before i left i went to the opening of my show at the pumphouse regional arts center and talked to marti schwemm who has been nothing if not supportive of my work over the last few years. in fact she is the person who alerted me to the opportunity to be juried into the 2013 pump house exhibitions. anyway, just before the opening reception ended she asked if i would paint a portrait of her deceased husband jack.

after first session of painting
needless to say, i was thrilled and a bit humbled to accept. i had imagined the process for doing this sort of thing would at least entail interviewing and photographing, if not sketching, the subject in life. as jack passed a few years ago this was not possible.

so i met with marti and we went over the photos that she had of jack. her daughter also contributed some photos. she lives in scotland so thanks to the internet we were able to get the digital file of the photo that everyone seemed to like best.

after the second painting session
i started the process by sketching a few value studies, a few sheets in the sketch book working on the various features of the face, and drew the image of jack on a piece of 11"X15" 300# hot press arches paper. i haven't liked the darker values i have been getting lately in my portraits so i decided to go with direct painting of the features and modeling without an initial wash.

here are the results following the first two sessions of painting. so far i am happy with the high key, fresh, and colorful washes as i watch jack emerge from the stark white, flat sheet of paper.


  1. Bob this is really looking great! So happy for you to have landed a commission. Smart woman to choose you to produce this portrait of her beloved husband! I was thinking about you earlier this morning and wondering when you and Joan would return and when I would see your posts again and here you are! Hurray!

    1. hi, dena. good to hear form you. hope your painting is going well.