This painting is a portrait of Shirley, a friend of mine, who is 91 yrs of age this year.
She is such a lovely, energetic little lady. Going to concert and theater, teaching piano, entertaining friends....Hard to believe her age.
Last year for her 90th Birthday, I made a small drawing of her as a gift. It was a three quarter view from a photo I had, and she didn't like it at all. Few month later she sent me a photograph and asked me if I could paint her from it, because she likes how she looks in the photo. This is the first portrait painting I ever did by the request and I will say that it was not easy.
I do head studies often from the model since the art school till now here and there through 20 yrs of my artist life.
Many of them are quite successful to my eye. Also I don't mind whether the model likes or not how they look in my paintings.
I couldn't be spontaneous at all while I am working on this painting. First of all, I am painting from a photograph, not from live model. I was just so concerned about the likeness and keep worrying whether she would like it or not.
I was so relieved and so glad that I was able to pull this painting together and finished the painting,. without giving up!
Shirley was pleased with her portrait!. Yeah!
She is going to give this portrait to her only son for his Birthday.
With this experience, I truly understand the hardship of the portrait painters.
"You lose a friend whenever you paint a portrait of a friend"..... by Sargent