In January of 2015, after a busy holiday season of portrait commissions, I stopped taking orders for portraits. I made the commitment to get outside and attempt to paint the incredible colors of the ocean and sky that were just down the street from my house. But it was a scary decision to stop taking portrait commissions because it meant that all income would stop, at least until I started selling landscape paintings although I had no idea whether I would be good at it or not. Although I’ve always had a feeling of “I could do that” when it came to landscapes.
I had tried before to create paintings from photographs of beautiful places I had visited, but the paintings were lacking that special quality of color that I love in so many impressionist and contemporary landscape paintings. I knew I had to get outside if I was going to create anything that I was proud of.
Fast forward two and half years later, painting outside at least once a month (which is not much at all but give me a break I have two little kids) and many workshops aimed at perfecting the challenge of oil painting outdoors and now I’m itching to get back at portraits. But not in the way I did before. This time it’s different. This time it’s from life, with oil paints, in a quick session of 1 to 2 hours. I am finally comfortable with these parameters and looking forward to using all that I’ve learned in landscape paintings and apply it to portraits.
This portrait I did two nights ago of my daughter Ever, 10 years old. The time was between 1 and 2 hours and I can’t wait until I get another willing subject to sit for me. Landscape painting en plein air is the hardest art technique I have ever tried to master, and I’ve tried most of them. It will take a lifetime to perfect, but in the mean time I will compliment this work with portrait studies, and maybe combine them both at some point in time. The future is bright and looking very colorful!