Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Portrait in Progress

sketch with beginnings of under-painting

Recently I was contacted by an Orlando law firm about doing a very special portrait. The gentleman in this sketch passed away earlier this year from cancer. The partners and employees of the firm wanted to do something special in his memory, a collage portrait utilizing ephemera provided by his coworkers as well as his family.

sketch with beginnings of under-painting

One day a few weeks ago I was given a huge box of papers that reminded the people in his life about Bob. I have Orlando Magic tickets and golf score cards, cigar wrappers, old baseball cards, hand written notes, emails, business cards, beer labels and even a ticket stub to a Rangers game from the very first date he ever had with his wife Daisy. Ray took the time to go through the box with me and explain the significance of everything that had been submitted. It was a process that I could see was helpful for Ray to remember some of the things he loved the most about his friend Bob.


It is an amazing responsibility to hand paint all of these very special papers and do a good job incorporating them into a portrait of such a loved man. I made sure to paint all of my papers in tones and colors of the underpainting I had established.

papers hand painted in tones for the portrait

How in the world do you create a portrait from a pile of colored papers?
One piece at a time. :)

blocking in the background

This is where we stand as of this afternoon. I'm blocking in the background first and then I'll go into the face. I plan to use more subdued papers in the face with less texture/pattern so as to be less busy. Flesh tones are always a challenge as you can just never have enough shades. I end up infusing a lot of color in order to establish the right values.

Stay tuned for more progression on this very special portrait.


  1. What an interesting commission. He looks like he was an interesting and likeable person, too. You're doing a great job.

  2. What a perfect way to honor a life. Can't wait to see your finished product!


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