O R I G I N A L S P A S T E L S
I began painting with pastels as
a high school junior. I can say with
some honesty that my first attempt at portrait painting was not very good.
You see, I was following the
techniques used for generations by oil portrait painters. Lights, darks and then you build the face out from
I couldn’t seem to mentally understand
this traditional technique. Hence the not very good first attempt.
In my senior year, I decided to
add two pastels for my Senior Graduation Project. This might have been a very foolish idea
since my grade was dependent on my success. I selected the pastels anyway. Ah, youth!
I painted most of these two
paintings at home and away from my teacher. It was during this time that I
turned away from proper techniques and decided to paint in a way that seemed
right to me. The result was starling!
I am, at my core, a left-brained
artist. There it is . . . the
truth. I begin my portraits (either of
humans, animals or birds) at the top of the subject. I work down from there confronting each
feature, feather or fur as it comes. The
only thing I can compare this to is an old dot-matrix printer. The image appears line by line.
The two portraits on this page were completed through my own way of painting. They were both painted when I was seventeen years old. The Richard Boone piece is owned by his niece and god-daughter. The second piece hangs in my home and is the only surviving artwork I have from my high school years.
Although these were but the first of, my exclusively portrait period, I still marvel at what I created when I found my own voice as an artist.
I have often been asked to teach my painting technique. I always decline. Not because I wish to keep it to myself, but because I know that the techniques originally taught to me are correct for the majority of new artists.
So, what’s my message? Find your own voice and follow it wherever it leads.