Family Portraits

Traditionally, painters have made their bread and butter by finding rich patrons who want to be immortalized, and usually beautified. No such wealthy patron has approached me yet. I wonder why? Could it be that instead of lowering a hairline or diminishing a schnoz, I tend to go the other way?


I've been surprised at the number of people who have wanted to step into my art. It takes a lot of courage. There could be clumsy robots, surly neighbors, even arrows being fired. Worst of all, stepping through that frame magnifies one's . . . shall we say unique attributes?

The fun part of this, for myself and my clients, is coming up with the idea and honing it through sketches. Generally, as in the example below, I'll incorporate part of what makes them tick, to make a portrait of them, not just their appearance.

Click on an image to enlarge it.

Robot Train • This painting was commissioned by a robot engineer. His boy loves trains. Hey, why not combine these two passions? Passengers on the train include Howard Hughes and characters from my first two picture books.

Red Horse Cafe • Owners of a cafe in Brooklyn wanted their son to be shown as a natural born inventor. I added a guy stealing power by plugging his dryer in, to poke fun at customers who always plugged their laptops in, sat for hours, and only ordered one coffee.

Brownstone Bed • A family in Brooklyn wanted their portrait on a giant bed, since they spent so much family time there. The frame on this big painting is an actual headboard.

Cruelty Cafe • The Cafe owner was known to be quite curt and acerbic, although it is not known if he has never actually attacked a customer.

Alpha and Lama • Dogs are family members! These two were opposites in temperament. One was a real tyrant, the other peaceful and wise.

Biscuit • This sweet dog was always hungry. An antique biscuit display case made the perfect frame.

A detail from Robot Train. Father and Son.

Another detail from Robot Train. Father and Son. Click on image to enlarge. I really like the flames. Some of my best flames ever.

Another detail from Robot Train. These redcap robots, I think, would be polite, yet not at all talkative.

A detail from Brownstone Bed. The oldest daughter loved to read.

Another detail from Brownstone Bed. The boy loved baseball.

Another detail from Brownstone Bed. The dad loved baseball, and the boy.

Another detail from Brownstone Bed. The neighbors were always loud.