MY APPROACH TO PORTRAIT PAINTING

 

A portrait, to me, is a dialog between the sitter and the artist. I seek, as the artist, step by step to capture you, the sitter, in visual terms; it is a sort of magical process whereby various aspects of yourself are revealed as I paint and use my camera.

 

I came to make portraits through the discipline of figurative painting. I have a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art, and my paintings have always been involved with the interaction of figures in one way or another. My figurative painting is in another website, elinoreschnurr.com.

 

My strength in portraiture comes in merging the painterly qualities of figurative composition with the ability to capture a likeness; also in being able to place people in convincing environments, which I learned in the figurative disciplines.

 

I prefer to work on location in the place of your choosing. At the first meeting, the determination can be made as to what kind of a portrait you have in mind. We might discuss size, location, dress, etc., perhaps trying different set-ups and photographing them.

 

In a second session, we would complete the referencing process; do more photography, perhaps color sketches of the setting and a head study. Photography does not always give a clear idea of space, color and mood. Then we would meet again and decide, with the aid of the photographic and color sketches, on the composition.

 

When I paint a portrait of a group, the approach is similar; it can be a little like theater, especially when there are children involved. I capture a basic set-up with my camera, do a lot of individual shots, then cut and paste various elements together to create a working composition. I make head studies when time permits to further enhance my understanding of the subjects. You would be able to approve the final mock-up before I blocked it up on the canvas.

 

The painting is developed and finished in my studio. I enjoy working from life whenever possible; however, considering how busy most people are, further sittings may not be possible, and I would have already gathered enough information to make further referencing unnecessary. It is finished only when you are happy with the result; adjustments can be made.

ELINORE SCHNURR: PORTRAITS

 

© 2017 Elinore Schnurr | design by S. Newberg