MY APPROACH TO PORTRAIT PAINTING
A portrait, to me, is a dialogue between the sitter and myself, the artist. I seek, 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 and captured as I sketch 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 web site http://www.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. 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, usually without further referencing
being necessary. It is finished only when you are happy with the result; adjustments can