Friday, November 29, 2013

Historical Portraiture

I have a lot of fun when I do one of these projects. The challenge of trying to imagine what a person really looked like from such a poor reference requires thought and creativity. I was given two references and asked to create a painting of the client's great-great grandfather, who was a member of the 69th Regiment of the Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. There was a family situation and all the old pictures of this man were thrown away except for two. One image shows Private Borton in military uniform but is badly stained and discolored. The other photo is a black and white image taken with his son and grandson later in life, after he suffered a stroke.

Surprisingly, the image of the grandson seemed to help me with this task more than the other references. The client shared that he was of Irish descent and the hair color tends to be brown and eye color hazel in the family. In the end, I think it's more about getting the attitude and the demeanor correct than worrying about details you will never know. He was a very good looking guy with a wide face and a nice square jaw.

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