It starts with finding the defining metaphor.
In consultation with my subject in my studio, over a cup
of coffee or a glass of wine, we talk about the concept.
I listen a lot, gather images, reflect them back.
The metaphor arrives in this way: a rock, a boat, a
window, something elemental launches the story.
camera and a sketch pad record the second phase of the
"visual biography." I frequently go "on site."
Seeing my subjects in their particular environment
enhances the information I have gathered by listening.
"Seeing" and "listening" are not mutually exclusive but
I find it necessary to concentrate on one or the other
as I go about sensing my subject. It is only after
this "seeing" meeting that the various parts of the
portrait start to mingle and suggest their composition.
A preliminary sketch incorporates my impressions and
outlines the general composition. Somewhere in
this third phase in which the painting is started we
meet again to talk about the emerging story/portrait.
As the painting progresses, subtle but dramatic
connections occur spontaneously. My authorship is
never total; the unconscious is always at play.
final phase -- the unveiling -- is quite simply scary
... for both of us. A bottle of wine is always on
hand for this moment of truth.
The written story that
accompanies the painting comes later. It is a
reflection on paper that arrives in the form of poetry
or prose. It brings with it another layer of
insight, reveals another aspect of the story.
"visual biographies" cost $2,000: an initial payment of
$500, a further payment of $500 when the preliminary
sketch has been presented, and a final payment of $1,000
Portraiture because of its broad range
is costed accordingly.