A while back I was honored when a fellow blogger and portrait artist,
Mr. Graham Hanks asked if he could paint my portrait. At first, I had tons of problems finding a suitable photo reference. I tend to laugh a lot, which moves my cheeks up into my eyes, giving me a squinting look. That narrowed it down to a handful of photos that were either too blurry, at bad angles or else. Now I feel for all of my clients who I kept pestering to submit better photos! Anyhow, after finally finding one, I send it to off to Graham. Yesterday, I got my fist glimpse at the pastel study Graham has done in preparation for the painting and "wau" what a thrill it was. No one has ever painted my portrait and I have to say it is amazing to see how others see you. This is so exciting and I can't wait to see the finished painting! But let me introduce Graham ~
Graham spend 3 years at Doncaster Art college and worked over 12 years as a professional prototype sculptor and then 10 years working in computers and engineering. He lives in the UK and I asked him to share a little bit about himself and his work and here is what he had to say:
Although being an engineer paid the bills it didn't feed my soul, and eventually I just couldn't suppress my artistic nature anymore, so about 9 months ago I decided to return to being a full time artist again.
After a few false starts experimenting with different mediums I came across water soluble oil paints about 7 months ago, and it was love at first sight. I'd never been able to work in oils before because of the solvents (I'm asthmatic and only ever managed to do one oil painting at art college) so it was a revelation to finally be able to work in oils and I very quickly found a great empathy for the medium and a reborn love of painting.
Becoming a father four years ago has completely changed my perspective on the world and made me much more drawn to subjects of a warm and humanistic nature, so my paintings these days tend to be mostly portrait and figurative work. I love the challenge of trying to capture the human spirit in paint, to create something that is more than just a 'photographic' image of the person I'm trying to portray, I don't always succeed but that doesn't deter me from constantly trying.
Apart from my self portraits I don't generally 'stage' my paintings, instead I look for images that already inspire me to paint, sometimes its a chance photo of my family and other times I might see a photo on the internet and think wow I just have to paint that - usually because there's some spark of humanity in the image that I want to expand on in my painting.
The other source of subjects for me is the people I meet or get to know that I find myself drawn to and wanting to paint, some people you just feel the need to interact with in a creative way. This is why I decided to do a portrait of Enzie Shamiri, because even though I've never actually met her in person I can see the intelligent humanity in her - partially through my communications with Enzie, and partially because she has one of those faces that just radiate warmth and personality. Of course painting someone you have never met is a challenge in its own right, but that just means you have to look that bit harder for the soul behind the eyes as it were.
I have to say after I read all this, I was really moved ~ Thanks you so much Graham!
Please make sure to visit
Graham at Greywolf Art and look at the other nice portraits he has painted.