Portrait Painting as a Present

Portrait of Jean Floyd by Marina Kim
Portrait of Jean Floyd

Portrat is Jean Floyd was commissioned by her husband Barry for her 80th Birthday. As it was a surprise present, the portrait was painted from a photograph.

I wasn’t acquainted with Jean, but since Barry gave me the photographs of her, I could recognise her walking around the town. So, there was a chance for me to note a very upright posture and a charming openness  of manner characteristic for Jean. These are the features I tried to emphasise in the painting.

More often than not, I work on the commissions using photographs. This is simply more convenient for my clients for one reason or another. (Although I’d prefer to paint from life :-)) In such cases, my challenge is to make the portrait mine. Not just a replica of a photo, but something I myself emotionally related to. Because, I believe, this becomes evident in the finished picture – makes it warmer, or livelier,  or more intimate… I am not sure how to express it in words, but I hope you understand.

So, for this purpose, I need some sort of link between me and the person on the photograph. Talking about them with the person who commissions the portrait helps, seeing them (like with Jean, without her knowing) helps…

It is very rewarding to see recognition and joy in the client’s eyes when they see the portrait for the first time. Then I know that I definitely pleased the client, possibly got it right (for there is never a total satisfaction with one’s work) and hopefully created something for people to enjoy.

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