Since 2014, I have been painting large-scale, close-up portraits of faces. The eyes gaze directly at the viewer. My paintings are an intimate, powerful experience of truly meeting another.
I choose models from my family, friends and acquaintances, all of whom have some quality that intrigues me and from which I learn.
I take photographs of my models, and my intention is to find the real in the photograph and put that into paint. Real, as opposed to photo-realism. Photo-realism is not my goal, and I agree with Matisse that exactitude is not truth. What’s real can’t be captured by any concept or limitation, even as it also can’t be denied.
I don’t use grids or projections, because I want my portraits to be true to the being of someone during the entire painting process. So, while my paintings are quite realistic, there may also be slight inaccuracies.
The more I work on someone’s portrait, the deeper I see into their being. The more I see into their being, the more I can put that into the portrait. But this process can’t really be separated into parts, as it all happens together.
When you are with someone in an intimate way, where you are close and meeting their gaze, for a moment time is stopped. For a moment, there is no distinction between you and me - no separation is created by the mind.
This is the goal of my art – to invoke that experience of stillness and oneness that we feel when we truly connect, and which I feel deeper and deeper in the painting process. In this mind-stopping connection, transmission is a beautiful and natural byproduct.
My paintings aim for a sense of timelessness, but the process itself takes a long time. Each of my paintings have taken up to a year to complete. I paint as long as I see more depth I can bring to the portrait.
I learn more and more that the depths we can explore with painting and portraiture are truly endless, just as each subject has infinite being to explore. Each portrait has enriched me and my paintings have likewise matured over time.
The paintings must be seen in person, as photographs of the paintings return them to photographs, and the scale, intimacy and physical presence, essential to experiencing the portraits, are lost.
I'd like to share my deep gratitude to all my models. You are all wonderful teachers and it was an honor to paint you.