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  • Writer's pictureLinda Donlin

Painting with sweaty palms

It's hard to paint with sweaty palms. That's how I would describe portrait painting, but I love it!. When you paint a landscape, you can take some liberties with the foliage, with the lay of the land, even with the light and shadows. Not so much when you are trying to capture the likeness of someone. If you don't get everything right, the portrait won't look like them. Every line, shadow and highlight is important to an end result that matches the subject's image.

This portrait commission was a challenge for a couple reasons. Even though I had access to several beautiful professional photos of this talented husband and wife musician team, I couldn't find the exact photo that captured the feeling I wanted to express in the painting. The other challenge was that I was on a tight deadline because the painting was needed for a particular event. And finally, I wanted the painting to be a beautiful portrait, yet still be in my textured, impressionistic style.

These images were my reference photos. The photographer had taken some photos of them together, and they were lovely, but none were of them playing their instruments in a duet. I was given carte blanche from the Symphony on how to go about painting the portrait, and my idea was to show them playing and interacting as they played. I used some of what I saw in the photos and also some of my own experience as a musician and as an audience member to capture their passion and the mood in the painting.

I am pleased to report that Everaldo and Natalia loved their portrait and it now hangs in their studio in Bismarck. 

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