“Portraiture is a tricky thing. To accomplish a successful portrait the painter has to have complete autonomy over the finished work. He cannot be to influenced by the person who has commissioned the work. ‘Can you make me look like this?’, ‘Can you reduce the number of lines on my face?’, ‘I want to have more of a smile on my face…’ - these are corrosive words to hear for the serious artist. After all the artist has been chosen because they like his way of seeing the world so he must be left to accomplish his goal.
A portrait painting has to stand on its own merits and be a good painting first before a good likeness. That’s not to say that a likeness is not important but it must not be at the sacrifice of what a good painting should be. The painter must not be a slave to photographic representation. It’s a painting we are trying to make, not a copy. After all we don’t know how representative the great portraits in the National Gallery are but the paintings do have resonance in abundance. We feel a personality, although that can vary from person to person. The paint itself carries the emotion. To achieve a great portrait is very difficult, but the artist must try.”
If you are interested in finding out more, please do contact the gallery.