Portraits don’t always have to take themselves too seriously
Everyone knows I love portraiture, that I love to study the human form and look deeply into my subjects. The process is compelling and there is no end to the what there is to learn about the subject. I have a lot of online tutorials, many on the subject or portraiture, for everyone to enjoy. With this portrait, I snapped photos at every stage along the way and am presenting them here without explanation. I think of the early stages as creating a mosaic of major shapes, making crucial decisions about value, hue and chroma. You may notice, as the process progresses from “cartoon” to finish, all the experimentation with color temperature.
Bill had the idea of the lab rat sitting on his shoulder, mimicking his pose and attitude. I thought the idea was hilarious. I hope you do too. I worked from a bunch of photos his wife took of him in the lab, with available light, mostly fluorescent. I enjoyed the different colors bouncing into his wonderfully expressive and joy-filled face. Getting just the right color and temperature of all the reflections was both challenging and fun. All the perspective lines point to the focal point of the painting. The contents on the shelves create an entry for the eye, which is then led on a journey into the face, to the mouse, down his arm and up again through the beaker, in a never ending loop. The only way out of the composition is through the door. But you don’t want to open the door and exit.
Bill is the current president of the Prismatic Club of Detroit, which is an amazing eclectic group of thinkers outstanding in a wide range of fields who get together monthly to tell stories and present work that is generally outside their main area of expertise. My father was a past president and we both have had the honor to create the annual president’s portrait. It’s been several years since my last Prismatic portrait. and I hope this one will be the first in a new flurry of portraits for this venerated club.