Stay Courageous: Portraits

As I continue my journey as an artist, studying and learning, painting portraits seemed a logical next step, dovetailing nicely with my study of the human form. I explored the works of various artists, using various techniques and varied palettes.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, although an impressionist painter, used a fairly traditional palette. His under paintings of Dutch yellow glowed when overlaid with his other colors used for skin tone. My first portrait was done using his work as inspiration.


Another artist whose work has greatly influenced my portraiture is Pin0, born Giuseppe Dangelico in Italy in 1939. Unlike the palette of Renoir, Pino used a startling group of colors: sap green, cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, transparent orange. Using this palette gave such vibrancy to the subjects. My colleague in class, Nancy, and I replicated his works to get a feel for what he did. The first copy was of his Indigo, the second was of his Silk Taffeta. Then I used his painting entitled Lauren as inspiration to create an original of my daughter Sara.

Indigo, after Pino


                                                                           Silk Taffeta, after Pino


Sara, after Pino’s Lauren


The above portrait of Max, my grandson was done using Pino’s palette. The underpainting of sap green is hardly visible but lends depth to the shadows.


Final version Paul McCartney

Finally, I used the style of two artists, both who used broken color: Leroy Neiman and C. Weber. Neiman used swift, energetic strokes to enhance his fractured colors, and was known for his signature portraits of  sports athletes and leisure participants. C. Weber is a Wisconsin artist who also uses a high energy, impressionist style. He strives for a “technical likeness, yet not allowing the good to diminish a vibrant, dynamic work of art.”

I read a quotation about portraiture that said we should strive for the essence of the subject not just an accurate rendering. My better work exudes the joy of the person or the pathos, hence the importance of choice of color.

The above portrait of Ava, by  using colors that suit her personality, feels joyful and confident, just like her.

Happy portraiture!!