My aim in painting a portrait is to first still myself, to begin to truly see the subject of the portrait, an individual unlike any other. I ask myself many questions: Will I sense and feel not just the shapes, colours and textures but the thoughts, feelings and life experience that are emanating from this being? Can I perceive how light reveals their form?
I believe that the look and the feel of the subject are equally important. For this reason I prefer to paint from life, to have the subject present. I sometimes use photographs as an aid for details of jewelry and clothing, which saves time for the sitter. Accuracy of physical likeness is essential, and so is capturing the character; the resonance of that unique individual that doesn’t stop at their physical boundaries but radiates into the space around them. I am aware of this while painting the background, and that can help set the portrait properly in space, giving it a sense of atmosphere.