This series was made in 2020 and 2021. After a few weeks of Classical Academy Groningen (Model and Portrait), there was some basis to perform some portraits in oil paint. My goal is the mastery of the human face, its proportions and the most difficult but also the most fun: the skin color.
Portraits are mounted on bare canvas in charcoal, fixed and covered with a transparent ground layer of Transparent Oxide Red and Brown. The final painting is placed over this.
Portrait painting does provide a very special experience that you notice while working. Over time, a person arises in front of you who suddenly looks at you. From that moment on it is almost no longer oil paint, but you work on someone's face.
I discovered that we humans are apparently very focused on the eyes; as soon as an image takes on its own individual character, you suddenly lose a piece of objectivity. Painting turns into a conversation. You make adjustments with the respect that someone else deserves. Very weird but real.
My brother Paul passed away in 2021. I painted him in oil a few months later. Although based on a photo, I suddenly looked at my father (1921-1985), who died much earlier. Family traits. small details that normally don't stand out; I suddenly saw them sharply in front of me. An amazing experience.
The canvas went to his wife in the USA.
While this has been a learning experience, it is also a finite one. The portraits are who they are. The resemblance suffices, And then I come to a point where the occasion is a bit lost; the greatest tension with the question of whether a portrait seems sufficient is then no longer such an issue. Actually, I want to be able to do more with the portraits. Maybe it will come later.
It is not the first time that I go back to earlier styles.