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People who aren't familiar with my type of work will sometimes ask if I get tired of painting people or if it ever becomes routine. For some reason, people tend to equate portraiture with repetition, as if to paint a portrait is to employ a formula that works time and again. Of course I face the same frustrations and challenges as anyone who works hard at doing a particular thing well, and each day is not always overflowing with inspiration and energy. There are days when I have to think about each brushstroke and every mixture of color, and those days, although rare, can be tiresome indeed. But the notion that painting people could somehow be repetitive is unimaginable to me. Behind every face is a one of a kind spirit, each hand holds a unique story, and every gesture reflects true individuality. So although it's true most people have two eyes, a nose and skin of varying texture and color, these things are secondary to what I try to capture, and that's the difference for me; I see a portrait as a journey beyond the obvious, a journey that starts inside, it just needs skin, hair, and a few other things to complete the trip.

I've painted many people, some of great notoriety and some unknown, some of unimaginable wealth and some of modest means. I've painted a woman of one hundred years and a baby whose age was still counted in days. For each and every one, it's been with grateful eyes that I've studied theirs. I never forget that it is an honor to be able to do what I do. It's a trust I've been given to present the truth and humanity of another person, to see in them what they alone possess, their own unique divinity. It's a privilege to help tell the stories of the people I've met, just as their paintings tell so much of mine.


 

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