Saturday, October 31, 2015


This is Noah (and Chloe). He just got married to my stepdaughter, Chloe. Just this one little fact will speak volumes about him - he had nineteen Groomsmen at their wedding. They live down in Boston and he has one of the coolest jobs working with Downeast Cider - Handcrafted cider - "The way cider should be".

When asked to tell his story in three sentences on the Downeast Cider website, here's what Noah wrote: "Born and raised in Maine, for some reason could not get enough of the bitter cold/black flies and went to college there as well. After bumbling around the Tech space with my head in the “cloud” I decided to try my hand in cider. It seems fitting as my middle name is Harvest and I grew up in Appleton."

This was one of the more challenging portraits I've done. Lighting, paper, subjects, and even photographing it. I fought it the whole way through. I think the original looks better. But you'll have to come to the Portrait Project show  to see for yourself. The show opens November 6th from 5-8pm. You can even meet Noah and Chloe in person. If your lucky, he may even bring a few cans of cider for you to try.

24x12 watercolor and pencil. #233

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


This is Alex. He's my son. 

As a father, I'm enormously proud of him. He's becoming a young man and this portrait, to me, captures him in the transition. I look at it one moment and I see the child I raised. I look at it again, and I see the man he will become. He's intelligent, talented, philosophical, and he's developing his own ideas about the person he wants to be.

I struggled with this one. It didn't go according to plan - the best ones never do - but, in the end, I got it "right". This is Alex. He is my son.

10x10 Acrylic and oil on plywood. #232


This is Anita. She's a dancer, an artist, an environmentalist, a wife and mother, and so much more than the labels I can come up with to describe her. She's very committed to making this world a better place and doesn't just do it through talking about it. She's a real grassroots activist. She's involved in politics at the town level through her work with the select board and various committees. You know that quote by Ghandi, "Be the change that you want to see in the world."? Anita lives that mantra.

22x15 pencil, ink and watercolor. #231

Monday, October 26, 2015


This is Theresa. We went to architecture school and had a great group of friends that all hung out together. After we graduated, it seemed everyone sort of scattered all over the country and I lost touch with her. She moved  to a small town in Wisconsin to work with the city restoring their main street. A few years ago we reconnected again through the magic of Facebook. She's an intelligent, beautiful and funny woman and from what I can see on Facebook, she's also an amazing mother.

22x15 watercolor and pencil. #230


This is Kate. She's a painter and an artist friend living in Camden. We both go to life drawing though it's rare when we are there at the same time. The stars have to be lined up just right it seems.

I remember back in April of 2014 when I was considering this whole Portrait Project silliness. I told her what I was thinking about doing, you know, with the 250 portraits in one year, and asked her what she thought. She's such a nice person and I think she said something like, "wow, yeah, that's ambitious. You should do it." But really I could tell she thought I was effing crazy. Well, look Kate (one year and six months later), I'm almost there! You were right.

15x22 pencil and watercolor. #229

Sunday, October 25, 2015


This is Keryn. She was a teacher at the Montessori school my son attended when he was a young child. When I first started this project she commented, "What a beautiful idea, Ken. I love the thought of you setting aside time in your week to focus on people that you care about, and who care about you. The entire process sounds like a gift." It was a comment that made me look at this project in a different way. It's near the end and it has felt that way all along the way. Spending the time doing these portraits has felt like I was hanging out with you, reflecting on our friendship and the memories of our times together. It's been a gift for me to get to know all of you in a new way through doing your portraits.

15x22 watercolor and pencil. #228

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


This is Chuck. To be honest, I didn't know much about Chuck when I started thinking about how to portray him. I went on to his profile and looked through some of  his photos. Happy guy. Lots of big smiles. Beautiful family. But as I dug a little deeper I learned that he has worked with the Maine State Prison developing and facilitating a program that utilizes Yoga, Tai Chi, and Zen mindfulness to help rehabilitate prisoners. These days he works within the school system as a counseler and works with special education teachers on how to best support students with emotional and mental disabilities. He also does a presentation for school assemblies around the state called "The Power of Water". His powerful style of presentation incorporates martial arts and storytelling with the goal of teaching kids how to overcome obstacles and bullying by utilizing the metaphor of water. Cool guy.

22x15 ink and watercolor. #227


This is Rie. When I was in the 6th grade I started riding motocross with her younger brother, Vincent. I would go over to their house after school and we would ride and then hang out. Unfortunately, I've lost contact with Vincent over the years but seeing Rie's Facebook feed come across my timeline every now and then connects me to a time of great memories.

15x15 watercolor and pencil with Artrage to clean it up a little. #226

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


This is John. He's an architect. Now, I could tell you about all the impressive architectural work he's done - and there's plenty of that around here. Or I could talk about how he has given back to the community through his participation on boards and planning committees. But really, all that would take too much space and his head would get even bigger than it already is.

What you need to know about John is this - he always has a story to tell. And he likes to take the time to tell his stories with lots of details. There have been times he started a story that I thought for sure would be over in 5 minutes. Twenty minutes later he's still somewhere in the middle. I have been late to appointments because of his stories. But, the more stories he has told me, and the closer I listened,  the more I realized that his stories were like gifts. So thanks John, for all the stories. I have learned a lot from you.

18x24 oil on canvas. #225. 

Monday, October 19, 2015


This is Jennifer. She's an urban sketching friend that I met in Santo Domingo but she lives right down the road from me in Portland, Maine. She has a wonderful, loose, splashy style of painting. She did The Color Run a couple of years ago and, not surprisingly, she ended up looking like one of her paintings. I had fun with this one.

11x16 watercolor and pencil in my huge Moleskine sketchbook. #224

Friday, October 16, 2015


This is Ken. He's an architect friend and a really nice guy. We worked together in the same office for a couple of years back in 2000 and 2001. He was born in Canada, went to University of Colorado in Boulder, then moved out to Seattle where he finished up Architecture school and worked with the famous glass artist Dale Chihuly. He introduced me to some really interesting modern architects working in the Northwest.

11x15 cretacolor pencil and watercolor on hot press paper. #223

Thursday, October 15, 2015


This is Tomás. He's an urban sketching friend living in Madrid. He's also a serious runner. Cheers Tomás!

18x24 oil on canvas. #222

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


This is Steven. He's from LA and developed a pretty impressive resumé in the finance and entertainment industries while he was there. He retired to Maine about 10 years ago and that's about the time we met. I was one of several architects and designers he interviewed for a home renovation project. I didn't get the job but I got a friend. 

Life has been interesting for Steven since he "retired". In 2009 he went back to work at the State Department in Washington DC and created and managed the Global Entrepreneurship Program under Seretary of State Hillary Clinton. That gig is up but he continues to travel the world and is doing great work spreading the gospel of entrepreneurship as a way to create new jobs and grow economies in order to create greater political stability. I haven't seen him in years.

I started this portrait a few months ago but stopped work on it because I had to move to a new studio. I pulled it from a pile the other day and dusted it off and finished the face. I love his face. So interesting.

15x22 watercolor and pencil. #221

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


This is Marcel.What can I say? Isn't he cool?

22x15 watercolor, ink and colored pencil. #221

Monday, October 12, 2015


This is Helen.We went to high school together. This portrait nearly drove me crazy and I'm not sure how I feel about it. They don't always turn out like I want. I'm going to title this one "Helen had a crush on me and I was a chicken". It's literal and allegorical. And nonsensical.

10x15 Pencil and gouache. #220


This is Kris. She is an artist friend living in Rockland. She lived and painted in Provence for many years.

11x17 Gouache on Cardboard. #219

Sunday, October 11, 2015


This is Susan. I met her about 25 years ago on one of my first trips to Maine to visit my mom. She was a macrobiotic cooking teacher and held cooking classes out of her home. I somehow convinced my mother (who was an excellent southern Paula Dean style cook) to join me. I remember driving out to Union to a beautiful compound of three or four stone and wood homes and gardens set thoughtfully into a natural landscape at the edge of some woods. We chopped vegetables from her garden, and cooked and laughed and made new friends and enjoyed an amazing dinner.

15x22 watercolor and pencil. #218

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Nancy Kate

This is Nancy Kate. She's my Aunt from Texas- my mother's sister. It was her birthday yesterday - she's 80. For her birthday, her daughter asked the family to come up with 5 reasons we love her and then she's going to make a list of 80 reasons we love her. One for each year. So this morning I was writing them down (because it was my last chance) and I had the idea to do them within a portrait. Nancy Kate is not a Facebook friend because she could care less about Facebook or email or computers. She is definitely old school. But I decided that she should be a part of the Portrait Project - so here she is. And Happy Birthday!

11x15 pencil, ink and watercolor on Strathmore Illustration Board with a little Artrage to add Corinthians 13. #217

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


This is Rob. About seven years ago I re-dedicated myself to sketching and, when I did, I found inspiration in a number of blogs on the web where sketchers from all over the world would post their drawings and sketches. Tommy Kane, Danny Gregory, Gabi Campanario, Emmanuel Prost, and Rob, this school teacher living in Germany, were all at the top of the list of blogs I would check daily hoping for new sketches I could study and learn from. Rob works mostly with pen, ink and watercolor and beautifully mixes astute observation with humor and imagination.

This is another "collaborative portrait", where the portrait is my work and the images around him are samples of Rob's work that I copied from his blog and added to my portrait digitally.

11.5x16 pencil and watercolor in my huge Moleskine sketchbook. #216

Monday, October 5, 2015


This is Wayne.I met him when I was a young child. My parents were friends with Wayne and his wife, Ida. He looks pretty serious here but he's a kind, gentle and funny man. I have always deeply admired this man.

9x12 acrylic on canvas. #215

Saturday, October 3, 2015


This is Malcolm. I first met him about 14 years ago when I took my son, who was 3 at the time, to him for violin lessons. My wife had made all the arrangements with Malcolm and I thought I was just dropping Alex off and then I was going to go grab a coffee and read the paper for an hour. Malcolm invited us in, we sat on the floor and I  learned that he taught the Suzuki Method of violin training. I knew nothing of the Suzuki method. I thought Suzuki was a type of motorcycle. Malcolm informed me that the Suzuki method requires the parents to learn to play the instrument also. "Oh shit", I remember thinking. And then I said something like, "OK, sounds good. Let's get started!"

8x10 pencil and watercolor in my Grand Portrait Sketchbook. #214

Friday, October 2, 2015


This is Patty. I met her in Montezuma, Costa Rica. I was at a Organico sketching a band that was playing there and she seemed to think my drawing was pretty interesting so we started chatting. I told her I lived in Maine and it turned out she and her husband were from Massachusetts and they were building a house down in Costa Rica. A week or so after we met I got a friend request on FB and here we are. That's really about all I know about Patty.

8x10 in my Grand Portrait Sketchbook digitally combined in Artrage with a sketch I did on the beach near Montezuma. #213

Thursday, October 1, 2015


This is Debbie. She's an interior designer and she has a pig named Snuffles.

10x13 watercolor and gouache on Twinrocker watercolor paper. #212