How I re-energize

It has been an interesting stretch of doing tribute paintings, portraits of people who had passed on.  It is hard to put into words what it means to be asked to play a role in this very personal space.  I take it very seriously and do everything I can to produce a portrait that sparks good memories and positive feelings.

After three of these types of portraits in a row, I decided to play with something fun, and just for me.  The iconic image of Albert Einstein with his tongue sticking out popped out at me the other day.  I've looked at that image a hundred times over the years, but something about it made me think it was time to express it in my colours.

I've been thinking a lot about my shifting palette, probably too much.  When I look back at my early works, the choices I made were very bold and different.  There was also very little blending.  Over time, and with the exploration of skin tones, my portraits have changed dramatically.

In the case of Mr. Einstein, you'll notice I have painted him hairless.  This is one of the tricks I've learned after 500+ portraits: start by imagining there is no hair, then add it at the very end.  After I get the facial features complete, the hair will quickly get added and Albert will come to life.

I'm not sure if I could go back and paint like I did back in 2014.  My instrument is now playing in a different key, to use a music metaphor.

A portrait of Jack Avery popped up on my Facebook newsfeed this morning.  Look at the difference from then to now.  It is mind boggling.

I want to attempt a return to this wilder style just to see a) how it feels, and b) what would result.  It would force me to shake off hundreds of hours of evolution and learning, but I think it would be an interesting creative experiment.


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