Painting men vs painting women

"You realize that you've only painted men," said my wife Heather, after a long string of watercolour portraits.  "Why is that?"

(insert uncomfortable pause here)

As I reflect on 40 years of drawing and painting - and yes, I have a big pile of material that goes back that far - my subjects have largely been the male of the species.  Looking through the catalogue in my mind, there are a few exceptions to that rule: Maya Angelou, Marilyn Monroe, Billy Holiday being a few.  But by and large, I'm more comfortable working on portraits of men.

I spent much of Saturday working on one of the most sensuous women in the world - Katy Perry.  I was nervous going into the project and nervous coming out of it because the demands and expectations are so high when you're trying to capture a luminescent character like Ms. Perry.

After she was mostly done, I longed for a complete shift in subject. So, I went from one of the most striking female singers of the day, to one of the most grizzled males, Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones.

It was a breath of fresh air to pull out my larger brush and freely apply colour to his deeply contoured facial lines and wild mane.  His eyes, large and insistent, were a cake walk to capture compared to Katy's.

A friend has asked me to consider of doing a mural of her and her husband somewhere in their backyard, a potential surprise for a special occasion.  The guy would be easy to do, but the gal?  Whew!  Beauty is a fickle business, and I'm trying my best to get better at capturing it.  


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