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Oil on canvas, 24” x 30”, May 31st, 2002

Every portrait is special to the client, one painted and the artist. It’s the artist’s job to make the portrait desirable to all three. Just about anything is possible for Tom in the way of portraiture. Charcoal, watercolor and oil portraits can be done quickly if necessary.

Tom spent a year working on Morgan’s portrait. Tom spent the better part of the summer of 2001 collecting images and doing studies for the portrait by visiting for about an hour a couple of days a week. He took photos, sketched and worked on the full size drawing of the portrait on the canvas it was to be painted on.

The pencil line drawing of the painting on the canvas in pencil was approved. He gave copies of the drawing to the commissioner and the subject so they could get used to the drawing and offer advice. Just before painting he removed most of the pencil on the canvas so it would not interfere with the oil paint.

He started with the face, working steadily for two weeks because his technique is to work on wet paint and it takes about two weeks for the paint to set. The face was given preliminary approval. Next, the arms, hands, legs, book and neck were painted. Two weeks were spent painting the neck. The original neck was partially painted and what was to be on the canvas had to show additional neck. Both passages had to be painted with adjusting color and shape.

Two months of thinking, looking at the dressed mannequin, and searching for a technique, was used to start painting the dress. All the aspects of the surface handling had to look effortless. In the final painting the three layers of fabric show clearly and the lace does not in the least, look struggled. Tom developed a special brush for the dress made out of a child’s rubber toothbrush. The rubber bristles were cut into a oval and mounted on the top of a old brush handle. Next was the sky, which slightly emulated a portrait that hung in the commissioner’s home.

Finally the background was painted by addressing the whole passage at one time so as to make the effect harmonious. This meant two weeks of steady painting because the painting technique is wet.

Tom’s technique is no glazing or over painting. Only once the paint has dried can additional painting be done, which is not desirable.

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Process of a Commission



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