Painting Portraits and the Art of Averting Your Eyes

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In my painting, “Return to Innocence” I made the terrible mistake of making the central figure stare directly at me. This is just a section of a much larger painting, and the figure is close to life-sized. Those piercing eyes and blank stare are a little unsettling. I don’t know why, but it gives me the creeps.

Painting a portrait is an incredibly intimate experience. Staring intently at someone’s face for hours on end. Days. Weeks.. sometime months.. is intense. But it seems I’ve learned my lesson. Whenever I paint a portrait – I make the eyes look away from me.

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In my portrait of Jeff Falk, he seems to be looking at a point over my left shoulder.

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My portrait of Steve Gompf is also looking somewhere else. Possibly at some invisible dog at my side.

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In her portrait, I gave my sister a dreamy, faraway look.

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Currently, I am working on a portrait of author and poet, Manuel Paul Arenas. This painting will become the cover of his soon-to-be-released book “Black Hymeneal” – A Collection of Black Light Verse and Gothic Vignettes..

Good to know that he won’t be staring at me while I read it.

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