i have been painting portraits since i was 12 or 13 years old. i was preparing for my exam to a fancy "secondary school of fine arts" and i needed a portfolio. so i painted various people from my surroundings, starting with my grumpy grandpa through my friend's parents and ending with my grade school buddies. all of us, but chiefly myself, were quite surprised with how much of a resemblance to his subjects a beginner artist was able to capture.
later, i've run the gamut, from still life and landscape to abstract compositions, but the subject of a human face and figure reoccurred more and more until the point when, recently, it almost entirely pushed out all other subjects.
i love the commissioned portrait challenge. it is so much fun, and i am not being sarcastic, to go through a complete design and composition of a painting in my brain with a full-blown illusion that this time i have my subject all figured out, only to find out that i am completely, utterly wrong. i start working and the ideas begin to flow in, and the subject initiates a direction, and they comment on the work in progress with ideas which inspire, and then i get stuck for a little while, then i find a key to the problem and get unstuck, and then...
i end up with the painting which is completely different from anything i could ever imagine... and it works this way every single time.