Friday, August 31, 2012

My Journey - Day 14

So ... today is the last day of August. 31 days until my portfolio is due to Portraits, Inc. I want to stress that, I can turn my portfolio in at any time - I don't have to wait until October 1. I'm not procrastinating either, I just want to make sure all of my ducks are in order. With children, family, being a full time student, plus book cover designs, etc., I must admit that I'm a little more anxious than usual.

Yesterday, I made a list of every thing I needed to do on each portrait. It was then that it hit me that I have no people of color in my portfolio. This bothers me because I've probably completed just as many portraits of minorities that I have of Caucasians. I just don't have any in my portfolio, and it's much too late to begin one. I hope that if Portraits, Inc., are looking for this in my portfolio, they'll give me the opportunity to complete one. When I realized this, I got a little tense. All of those portraits through the years, and I didn't keep a single one for my portfolio ... great.

Anyway, all I can do now is push forward and see what happens. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rev. Frank Gooch - In Progress

Coming along. Now the book case has been mapped in.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Journey - Day 12

Below is the response I received from Portraits, Inc. I emailed them asking if they accepted charcoal portrait submissions, and if they offered feedback on rejected portfolios. I have not included the name of the individual responding to my inquiry, as I'm not certain she'd want me to put her name out there. I felt that if I'm going to document my journey, why not put it out there for everyone to see. I know it's just a response email, but it's somewhat exciting having them respond to me, considering this is a company I desire to work for.

Dear Mr. Price,

Thank you for your interest in Portraits, Inc. We do accept charcoal portraits as a medium, and you are welcome to include examples of your completed oil and charcoal portraits in your submission. We do offer limited feedback for those artists we are unable to accept on our roster, but please know that we do not attempt to be art critics. We only evaluate based on our understanding of our current markets and the requests we receive from our clients. For a more detailed critique of your work, we would recommend you take advantage of the critique services offered through the Portrait Society of America.

Thank you again for your interest, and we will look forward to reviewing your work.
Best regards,
XYZ Portraits, Inc.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Journey - Day 11

Today has been one of those blahhhh kind of days. I began working this morning around 6:30, and once I wrapped up a section some 30 minutes later, I found it difficult to continue working throughout the day. This happens from time to time. I even went over to my posted sign that reminds me, "how bad do you want it?" This plaque usually gives me the boost I need to really get charged. It's not that, I'm just having difficulty staying motivated. I don't know ... we'll see how the rest of the day turns out. I have exactly five days left as of today. I emailed Portraits, Inc., the other day to request some information about submitting my portfolio. I'll put their response up here in another day or so. I think seeing their response turned up the volume on my nervousness so to speak. I think I need to grab a friend and go to Starbucks and shoot the breeze one of these days. I'm extremely tense, but I think that's to be expected. Confidence ... at this moment, I have none. I felt pretty good this morning, but as I look back over the day, I can't believe how I slacked off.

Rev. Frank Gooch - In Progress

The outline has begun.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Rev. Frank Gooch - In Progress

Here we go. The photo references of Rev. Gooch were taken courtesy of Peter Webb. Some of his work can be seen at

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Rev. Frank Gooch - In Progress

This is a size comparison photo. Basically, I'm showing my height in relation to the portrait. This portrait will be a 3/4 painting. Meaning, the head, upper & lower torso will be painted.

My Journey - Day 9

So I have 35 days left, not including today. I still feel that twinge of butterflies within. Overall, I'm impressed with the progress I've made in my work. I contacted Portraits, Inc. to request some information about the submittal process, but I haven't heard back. Today, I head back into the studio to put more paint on the canvas. The painting study below this posting is actually complete for the most part, but I had some requests to post the 'in progress' photos of my work.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Portrait Study

Lights & Dark study for my next portrait.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 7

I still have those butterflies in my stomach when I think about the magnitude of this project. I have to get professional photographs of the paintings as well as gather my reference photos for them. Set up some meetings with the clients to pose with their portrait. According to the list on Portraits, Inc. I have to provide: • A digital portfolio in JPG or PDF format including 5-10 examples of your most recent portraits. Please size images appropriately so that the entire portfolio may be submitted in one email. Be sure to specify the medium and size of each portrait. Photographs of non-portrait work should be in addition to examples of your portrait work. • Reference photographs of your subjects, when possible, to show the quality of the likenesses. • Your current price list and a detailed description of your working methods. •Your resume, listing education, exhibition history, awards, and any articles published. In this moment, it seems like nothing else matters - school, family life, personal time ... nothing. It's do or die time, and the very thing that I have to wait on, is the paint to dry. And oil doesn't dry quick. Plus, I just noticed that they want non-portrait work included. Well, that alleviates some of the tension.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Completed Portrait - Donya

This is 1 of the 5 portraits I will be presenting to Portraits, Inc. For those of you who might be interested in knowing exactly who they are, at the bottom of this posting, I've pasted a link to their website. I'll be posting all 5 portraits before I present the portfolio to them. Even though you who are regular readers have seen all of these portraits, I think it'd be good to just show all of them in one posting so that you can see what the big guys over at Portraits, Inc., will be seeing. Donya was pleased with the overall look of the portrait, and other than extreme minor touchups, the painting is finished. I'll post photos of her looking at the final portrait once I get finished.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

In Progress Portrait

Here in the final stages, it doesn't look like much will be changing for the viewer. Maybe from now on, I'll just post the completed painting when it gets down to the "nitty-gritty" of it all. I have the highlights in her hair to still do, along with darkening small areas. The teeth, big button and small buttons. The completed images will be posted in a day or so. The lower half of her jaw looks slightly distorted, but I think that's the way the light is reflecting off the painting, because it doesn't look like that when I observe the canvas.

Day 5

So here I am, five days into my journey. Actually, my journey began well over a decade ago. I just began documenting it five days ago. I may do a blog in the future about why I do portraits, and how long I've been doing them. Yesterday I felt a strange, overwhelming sense of nervousness that I haven't felt in a long time. Some of it has to do with the completion of a piece of artwork. When I get finished with a piece I've been working on for a long time, be it several months to several years, there's this sense of loss. It's almost like losing a good friend. The struggle to complete a piece is time-consuming and daunting. The desire to do a good job, and make a masterpiece is consistently on my mind, as I'm sure it is with many artists. Sometimes the colors and brush strokes don't seem to add up, but as each layer is applied, the painting begins to form. One brick doesn't make a house, but thousands of bricks, mortar, etc., later, a dwelling place is built. When I start a portrait, I get excited. Mind you, actually laying the actual paint can be intimidating. Once I get the paint going, it's not necessarily downhill from there, but it is downhill if you know what I mean. It's that single step that is the hardest. Then, I begin the struggle of putting the person's face on canvas, and my ultimate desire is to see the happiness of the customer. But the weird part is, when I get finished with a painting, I come down from the "high" if you will, and find a sense of depression. I've become attached to this painting for 'X' amount of months, and now, it's over and lives in someone's house. I haven't posted the final image of this 'in progress painting,' because I have one or two more images to post of it. The painting is complete, and the face that I looked at for all those months, will be leaving my easel and living in the house of someone else. Parting truly is such sweet sorrow.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Lord of the Rings boxes part II

Here's another cheap $2 box that I turned into a Lord of the Rings piece of art. The sides of the box are woodburned and the elvish broach is painted on both sides, along with the ring on the front. The elvish script is woodburned on top. Both of the boxes have been lacquered to seal in the paint and give the boxes a nice gloss. As you can see when the box fully opened, the 'one ring' script is woodburned on the inside. The spacing is off on this one, but it was done for fun. I had a good time making these.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lord of the Rings boxes

Basically, The Lord of the Rings is an epic book about total epicness. I don't even know if epicness is a real word, but in this case, it will just have to be. This was a cheap $2 box from Michael's Arts & Crafts. I took the box, woodburned a dwarvish design on the side, painted the top, woodburned the elvish script that's in the book, which when opened, is translated into the 'One Ring' dialogue. I don't do too much woodburning anymore, but I couldn't help it. So a $2 box is now a $50 box. I then woodburned the 'One Ring' dialogue on the inside. Yes, I do use it to place valuables in. There's even a rubberband in there. Why? I don't know, but it's in there.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 1

So it's Sunday, August 19, 2012 (as you can already see at the top above the posting, and already, I'm finding myself a bit distracted. There's a painting that I really want to do of a wildlife scene. I bought a 6'x4' canvas earlier this year from a person off craigslist for $10. The canvas is in excellent condition. I have this idea of either saving it for a phenomenal giant full length portrait, or of a lioness jumping on the back of either a zebra, a wildebeest, or a water buffalo. I've always admired the hunting ability of lions/lionesses, and just to capture that moment of impact where she is right about to sink her claws into this animal who is running to save its life, I think would make an amazing painting. The dust, the fear, the desire to survive ... all wrapped up in a huge, stunning work of art. I don't know ... these are my thoughts. Focus, John! Focus!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

My Journey

In the next 40 days, I will be wrapping up the final portraits in my portfolio for Portraits Inc., a portrait foundation that handles the official commissions for federal judges, CEOs, businessmen/women, presidents, dignitaries, etc. etc. etc., I think you get the idea. For over 10 years, I have been wanting to do this, and for the last few years, I've really gone through great lengths to study portraiture in graphite, charcoal, pastel, and oil. I've settled mainly in oils, particularly because of the longevity of oil paints. My wife has let me know that in recent weeks, I have been extremely on edge, and some of this has to do with my desire to not only be accepted at Portraits Inc., but to continue a lasting career in Fine Art Portraiture. While a rejection from Portraits Inc., does not dictate whether or not I'll have a career in this field, it does set my future in place for the most part. I am nervous about this, and "on edge," as my wife so delicately put it. I felt that, instead of putting up a bunch of artwork, I'd document this process. I know that the stakes are high, and if I am to succeed, I have to not only put my best foot forward, but push my ability in a way I have never done so before. So here goes. And in the words of Norman Rockwell, "do your best always." I intend to Mr. Rockwell, and I intend to make the finest portraits available.

In Progress Portrait

All that's left to do on this is the hair, buttons, teeth, and highlights - in that order. And this one will be a wrap.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In Progress Portrait

It's getting there ... coming along slowly.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012