Slice of Life: Portraits
At the age of 10, I drew a picture of my sister Suzanne as she watched Saturday morning cartoons. My parents reacted so enthusiastically that I changed my career plans from being an Egg Lady (ours was so sweet!) to becoming an artist. Nowadays, I still love to paint recognizable people. I avoid the static representation of a formal portrait, and prefer to reveal a slice of the subject's life.
My most recent portrait was of John Donaldson, professor emeritus at the William and Mary Law School. A charming individual and popular professor, John is also a portrait artist's dream: quiet demeanor with an expressive face, dimples, twinkly eyes with an awning of silvery eyebrows, and a halo of white hair.
This painting of John sitting in the sun-filled Wolf Law Library will be installed in the John E. Donaldson classroom this week. To see the progression of the portrait from start to finish, click here.
Prior to John's portrait was a bittersweet painting of the late Russell Brown, star William and Mary football punter/kicker (class of '74), who still holds the school field goal record. Russ was a fun-loving, sometimes mischievous athlete-turned-real-estate-developer who had a heart of gold. This portrayal of him in 1973, doing what he loved to do, now hangs in one of the private boxes in Zable Stadium at the College.
I was honored to be commissioned to do a portrait of Charles S. Robb, former Virginia Governor and U.S. Senator. A striking man with the comportment of a Marine officer (which he is), he earned a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star from the Government of South Vietnam, and the Bronze Star with Combat V from the United States. He is quick to laugh and share stories, all with disarming humility. Mr. Robb is currently writing his memoirs (this portrait is being considered for the cover of the book).
My husband Marcel, who was a Marine infantryman in Vietnam, said he wanted to salute the painting whenever he walked into my studio.