Successful Portraits. “Drawing reality takes patience and some form of divine intervention.”

(Move the circle slider in the middle of the image either ‘right or left’ to reveal the ‘before and after’ of these portraits)

Drawing reality takes years of education and perfection. Today the talent to draw portraits pushes the envelope and some people have accepted mediocre artwork of themselves, friends, and loved ones. Art is not like photography where we press a button and capture the portrait, Art portraits are etched, penciled, painted and drawn into reality.

Drawing portraits for me is the most difficult and challenging of all my styles, When I first start a portrait I must know my subject matter well. I need to know who they are or were, what they represented, and an understanding of their life accomplishments. Starting out I need some reference images of them, photographs, images, and in many cases the person being in the studio for a sit down session. A great portrait is when you capture their spirit and soul.

The example portraits above of the older couples were drawn in pencil. I was given a 2″ x 2″ black and white photo to reference from to help me draw their features. It took me many days and hours to get the portrait right, always adjusting until I felt they were looking back at me smiling with their approval. At one time while I was drawing and thinking about their incredible life they lived, their struggles, successes, and the family they created, I noticed a drop of water hit the drawing table. It was at that time I knew I reached their spirit, wiping my tears away I continued capturing their souls on my canvas. Drawing is that spiritual, it is not just learning to copy an image, it is capturing the life of that image. If an Artist can’t draw reality they cannot move to objective, subjective or symbolic art. They are stuck in one form of art and that is purely decorative.