This is Dorie. I met her about ten years ago when she contacted me to help her with designing renovations to her home. She's an artist and we had a great time coming up with the design. Anyway, when I went to look for a picture of her on Facebook to do her portrait I didn't find any so I asked her if I could paint her portrait live.
Doing a live portrait is actually kind of terrifying for me - probably I don't want to offend the person I am painting. It's a pretty vulnerable position both for the sitter and the artist. At the same time there is an intensity and present-ness that's exhilarating.
We decided to do this in her art studio. I brought paints and brushes and an easel and started with a sketch which seemed too small to me. I expressed my frustration and Dorie offered me some larger cold press watercolor paper. Interesting, a new paper, why not? (This may not seem big to most of you, but in painting, changing papers changes everything about how the paint is absorbed, drys, blends with other colors, creates shades, texture and tones. Everything). So I started anew with drawing in pencil. Perhaps because I felt the paper would stay too wet for too long, I decided to paint with gouache, which I rarely paint with. So lots of new things started happening which was fun, scary, and messy.
Back in my studio the starkness of the background didn't feel right so I painted in a background that felt Dorie-esque.
Thanks Dorie, for being my first live model in The Portrait Project.
16x19 pencil and gouache on watercolor paper. #187