Portrait of Mason, 30" x 24", oil on canvas, 2005
This portrait was begun in the spring of 2004. Tom would visit Mason for one hour each week. He would make sketches, take photographs and just play with Mason. Summer came and went and in the fall Tom started to have an idea of what the composition would be. By the spring of 2005 Tom had the canvas stretched and the drawing begun. The drawing was okay by his patron in the summer and Tom started the face in August.
Tom had collected several images of Mason's look for the portrait and used them plus sittings to finish the face. The face was approved. In the late winter of 2006 Tom started the rest of the canvas.
The bulldozer was painted first. Tom was painting this portrait in public and many sophisticated artists took a liking to the painted instructions on the bulldozer. One curator said he would buy such a work if Tom painted it. Tom realized that this type of painting was a modern still life.
Next the hands were painted then the legs.
By the time got the boots back to Mason he could barely wear them. Finally the shirt was painted. The boots came next and then the jeans. Each part is finished before going on to the next part. Tom uses a method that uses the white of the gessoed canvas to supply the white and applies transparent color to create form. Only at the very end will he mix and apply opaque color where needed.
Tom put a frog in Mason's pocket.
Tom borrows the clothes and puts them on a mannequin. You can see the mannequin just to the left of his daughter, Helen's head. Tom has changed his Modus Operandi. He now paints his formal portraits in public. For many years Tom has painted outdoors but now his formal portraits are painted at the local indoor shopping center. Tom had a show there in the fall of 2005 and has painted there everyday since.
The background was the view around Mason's home. Just to the left of his chin you can see his home. Tom widen the view from the home and used the background to break up the foreground playing lights & dark of the foreground against the lights and dark of the background.
The background is painted all at once to harmonize with the foreground. After almost two years the painting was delivered in the spring of 2006. Paintings like this do not have to take so long. Tom realizes that time is the one thing the artist has on his side. No one asks how long it took to paint something. it is assumed that the artist took as long as he wanted. Tome was also working on Mason's sisters portrait and used the numerous weekly visits to plan both portraits since it took 45 minutes to get there. Tom has Sydney's, Mason's sister, portrait drawing done and the face has been painted he expects it will take two months to complete the work.
The Portrait of Mason Reception, Red Polly Space Outfitters, In The Ludlow Garage, 344 Ludlow Ave. Cincinnati, OH 45220, March 17th, 2006 5 to 9 PM
Other Children's Portraits