Portrait-a-day Frequently Asked Questions:
I love getting emails with questions, so thank you~
“How did you come up with the idea for this project?”
This answer is layered. I am an artist. I paint. I love it. I usually paint in oil and use watercolor for field sketches and when I travel. Before my last trip to France I had bought myself new brushes, from Rosemary~ (yes, you should order her handmade brushes from England and no she doesn’t pay me to say that!) They were magic… That coupled with lovely French paper, was one part, I loved watercolor more. The second part of this is my philosophy. Art is for everyone. If you appreciate art~ you learn to verbalize beauty and humanity. This helps to gain perspective to look at life in the world we live in. This is a good thing for everyone. Having art in your home encourages conversations and makes connections with the world. Children who grow up with art have a certain je ne se quoi. They grow up to appreciate and discern sensitivity. The third part is that I am an NPR junkie. Truly. One of my favorite segments is Story Core. Every week I listen to it with anticipation. I love how it’s a small slice of someone’s life, so many different perspectives, always inspiring. I like to think Portrait-a-day is a little like that, a visual Story Core, a place for everyone.
One of my biggest issues in art is its accessibility. It is not in everyone’s reach. An artist has to make a living. Materials are surprisingly expensive, and the investment of time is great. Commissioning art is a luxury that few can afford~ and in this economy even less. To better explain it, commissioning art is like hiring a ghost~writer. You are asking someone to help you communicate an idea that you have. It’s a great thrill for both the artist and the collector to go through this process.
So I took the love of a new paintbrush and the desire to spread art to everyone and came up with this idea. Portrait-a-day is for everyone
“How long does it take you to paint one?”
People love this question, all artists find it difficult and strange to answer. Art is not standard by nature, its not easy to measure. Painting a picture is very different from creating an image. For the artist the question is about creating an image, an idea, its far more complex than the actual painting part. Inevitably the artist will see the person do the mental math to figure what they must make an hour. Unfortunately it’s not accurate. What they don’t figure in is the hours of warm up sketching to get to the point of where it looks effortless, the days of ponder, the weeks of searching for ideas, the years of study, not to mention the cost of paint and canvas and brushes… you get the picture. (fyi- most artists pay out of pocket for ALL benefits.) Personally I have taken a different approach to answering… in years. A number somewhere near my age, as it’s my collective experience that allows me to paint that picture. Besides painting~ its acquiring the reference, sketching, planning, filming, uploading, downloading, music, video, posting… That’s why I try to get one a day done, and that’s why some days, I don’t. I continue to create other work~ as I cannot give up my oil paints, charcoals, graphite, experimenting and painting plein air!
“I want one, how do I get one?”
One of the goals of this project was to make this simple. You tell me “I want one” and then, send me a photo. You can email it to me or mail me one snail~mail, either way is fine. I will ask you for a few details about the subject to include for the anecdote at the bottom of the video. I will also ask you if you want anything referenced: an event, an organization, blog, project etc. I am happy to add the links for you. I will also ask you if you want names used or not. Privacy is important. The cost is figured and billed with taxes & shipping & handling- you can pay online in our boutique I email you with the link to the video, and send you the painting. A framing option is currently being developed and I hope to be able to offer it soon. I am working with someone local (to me) to come up with beautiful affordable options~
Watercolor dries fast. I don’t have to wait for days like oils. This project was to allow me to continue to create my other work. The idea was to turn my “sketching time” into watercolor sketching time. (The reality is that it takes longer!)
“How much does it cost?”
About as much as a nice dinner for two~with wine or a pair of shoes, less than a silver place setting , more than flip flops. In other words one subject for about $199 plus tax and shipping and handling. What this means is one person, one dog, one tomato, one something. If you want to add two, (or three)? Please add $80 for each additional figure. ~that being said rubber duckies clutched in babies hands are not extra. Use your best judgment or just ask me!
And yes, in response to our collectors suggestions we now offer prints on demand! At $65 each, they are an easy way to share your gift. We have gone to great lengths to ensure the same fine detail, brilliant color and archival quality that you would expect from a fastidious artist! The same care should be taken for prints as for original watercolors~
“How do I care for my new painting?”
Firstly you should know, its watercolor. It will fade, you must use care. Even though I create with the best pigments and archival paper but it will still fade when exposed to the uv rays of the sun. I suggest framing it in conservation glass, its slightly more expensive but worth it as it has uv protection and therefore protects better than regular glass. The framing options that I have all use conservation glass and are done with only archival materials. Don’t hang it on a wall in direct sunlight either way. If you are looking for something for a sunny space, contact me about doing an oil painting, it’s a better solution.
“Do you use photos?”
The answer is never and yes. In my other work, and for studying, I prefer to work from life, I find most photos don’t give me enough information for a finished painting, the colors are not true to life and the atmosphere seems to get lost. However for this project the whole idea is to make this affordable and easy ~so time-consuming sittings are out! Portrait-a-day paintings are technically watercolor sketches, so photos are just fine. I am finding I love the challenge of using someone else’s point of view (ie. their photograph) to paint something from my perspective! I still work in oils and do more formal portraiture and painting. I am currently working on a Portrait-a-day in oil (alla prima~or painted in one sitting) It’s a different format and pricing structure~contact me for more details. I love new challenges and new ideas and I always think outside the box~
“My son wants to show his friends and art teacher, they can’t see Youtube at school, what can we do?”
This question prompted me to make a channel on Teacher tube. The channel is called “Portrait-a-day” So if have little friends that want to be able to see this at school, let me know and Ill post it. Great idea, thank you!
“Do you teach?”
Not usually, but I will on occasion. I am planning on some demos for schools, contact me if you want me to visit yours~
“Are you going to have an App?”
Of course, I just don’t know when… ☺
“How do I choose a photo?”
The photo should be something you have connected with for some reason. It doesn’t have to be a beautiful photograph necessarily, but it does have to have a “good feeling”. Sometimes the best sketches were not great photographs… If you have a great memory of a particular time but the photo is faded and fuzzy that still might be a good choice, a pale palette can be very rich. In addition if you have a very old photograph that is torn, It can still be used and make a great painting. Sepia toned and black and white photographs are great too. Bright color is always exciting to work with and I would encourage you to choose something that is colorful if you are going to use color. If there is something you feel strongly about, you hate the color you were wearing, and you want it changed, that’s perfectly fine. For most of the Portrait-a-day works I isolate the subject and don’t put in backgrounds, or if I do, its minimal~I make this decision as I go, Sometimes they look better and sometimes they don’t. Typically if there isn’t much color I will use a background color. Remember these are sketches not to be confused with finished paintings, the goal of this is not to depict every little thing in the photograph. I prefer not to use other photographer’s work, however if that is your wish and the photographer doesn’t mind, I will. (I can also add a link to their work so that people know who initially took the wonderful pose) With this project I am not creating completely original poses, I am painting my original inspirations of the images that people present to me.
“What materials do you use?”
My watercolors vary, I use Windsor Newton, Schminke and some really old wonderful ones my Nana gave me. My new favorite addiction, are Rosemary Brushes, from England, they are really the best~Sometimes I use Princeton brushes as well. I use several different papers currently they are all French. Some are from Arches, and I can buy them here, and some are from France that I have to carry back. All the paper I use for this project is 12 x16~ That being said, there are a few Portrait-a-days that vary from the norm~I am always looking to experiment with new products~
Do you listen to music when you paint?
Sometimes I do~ usually opera or classical, nothing with intelligible words. On the other hand I am an NPR addict and usually have that on when Im doing the basics in my studio.