Sincere eye contact is somewhat rare in the 21st century. There is little that a portrait artist can accomplish without such communication with the subject. Leonard Bernstein was an exception to my requirement of this fundamental human experience . A portrait is a window into a time, place, and personal affect;recording interaction between two people.
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The Pandemic has uprooted everyone’s lives, and altered the relationship between sitter and artist. I cannot simply invite people to come to my studio to sit for a portrait, even if they have been vaccinated. Portrait subjects can meet me via Zoom or video, to help supplement photos. There are ways to communicate virtually, even for a painted portrait. Just as snapshots document events of everyday life, painted portraits illuminate the artist’s interpretation of a communication over an extended time with the person being portrayed. More than just a physical record of appearance, the painted portrait captures the character and personality of the person being portrayed. These qualities are essential to creating a painting of a particular person at a particular time.