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Paintings of the Week

June 9, 2014

Now that I’ve returned to painting I’ve decided to create a new feature called Painting(s) of the Week, where I intend to share with you the pictures I’ve been working on. This probably won’t be a weekly feature because there will be times when I won’t have painted anything along with others when I only managed a scratcher—a painting so bad I ended up scratching it off the surface. I might even post a few of these just for fun. 


Mrs. Chatterbox informed me that there are already too many self-portraits hanging in our home and suggested I paint something or someone else. But who to paint? I’ve never been particularly interested in landscapes or still lifes, and people aren’t willing to sit for the hours it takes to capture a likeness.  Last week I created two portraits from Internet photos, and they couldn’t be further apart in emotional impact.


The first canvas is of a little girl whose photograph I found on the Internet. I’ve painted children before and they present a unique set of challenges. Children tend to have more luminous flesh tones than adults, less defined features, fewer sharp lines and shadows; it’s like trying to paint an egg.





I notice that while painting youngsters I tend to add a few years to the subject. Later, I return and make the face appear younger. In this painting, the face still looks a bit older than the girl in the photo, but since I’m only pleasing myself I left it this way. I’m also keeping the backgrounds loose to create a sketchy quality as opposed to completing the painting to the edges of the canvas. I like this casual look and it saves on paint.


The second portrait shows Stephen Hayes. The subject doesn’t look like me because it isn’t; this image was pulled from the Internet. If you want to feel insecure or lacking in uniqueness, just Google yourself. You’ll be confronted with dozens of people sharing your name. I even had an idea for an exhibit called, What’s in a Name?; Stephen Hayes Paints Twenty Different Stephen Hayeses. I’m not so enthusiastic about this idea as I was last week but I’m still considering it. So far I’ve found namesakes ranging from doctors and CEOs to murderers. I don’t know what this fellow’s crime was but this photo was labeled as an Arkansas mug shot.




When I showed this picture to our son CJ, he said I improved his teeth and made him appear a bit younger. Flattery worked quite well for Gainsborough so why not me? Just because this guy is a criminal doesn’t mean he shouldn’t look good. 







Those are great. Much better than the characters I create on the Sims 3. When I Google myself mostly it comes up with stuff related to my books.
By: PT Dilloway on June 9, 2014
marvelous portraits- you really are a terrific artist. I must go google myself! hahah!
By: Kathe W. on June 9, 2014
mug shot portraits! now that's an idea that could catch on!
By: TexWisGirl on June 9, 2014
These are awesome paintings. You are very talented! I'm kinda scared to google myself!
By: Coloring Outside the Lines on June 9, 2014
Painting twenty different people with your name and having a show of those would be a neat idea! Even if you don't, though, these would make me want to have my picture painted by you, even if i had to sit a while.
By: mimi on June 9, 2014
I love the idea of 20 different Stephen Hayes!!
By: fishducky on June 9, 2014
Hahaha...funny idea about painting twenty different Stephen Hayeses! I just googled myself and one website that came up was the White Pages. It said there were nine people with my name in the U.S. One of my Facebook friends friended a bunch of strangers that had her first and last name on Facebook. It was quite hilarious... Jane Doe posted something, and four other Jane Doe's commented...
By: Pixel Peeper on June 9, 2014
It seems my name Googles up a lot of British or Australian soccer players.
By: Catalyst on June 9, 2014
Well, I like both of these. You've made the guy younger and not so thuggy looking. You've given the girl a strong character.
By: red on June 9, 2014
Bring on the twenty Stephen Hayeses! I like that concept.
By: Val on June 9, 2014
I like the portrait of the girl. Her hair is so much like The Hurricane's when she was young. It's lovely. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on June 9, 2014
I once Googled myself and found a home builder with the same Australia! If you wanna paint "me" I suggest you paint him. I'm an ugly mug. ;)
By: Scott Park on June 9, 2014
Here's a gig for you.. paint Bloggers' profile photos. Make us all look younger with straighter teeth. Smooth out a few wrinkles while you're at it. ;)
By: Hilary on June 9, 2014
Stephen: Have you thought of musicians such as Janis Joplin, or Shelby Lynne? Interesting...
By: Michael Manning on June 9, 2014
If you're painting people, and straightening their teeth and making them look younger ... then please paint me!
By: Tom Sightings on June 10, 2014
I wish I lived nearby, maybe you could inspire me to return to SOMETHING! I know I'm going to really enjoy your weekly portraits! And I'd love to see you self-portraits!
By: Mitchell is Moving on June 10, 2014
I'm in awe of your artistic talents!
By: Eva Gallant on June 10, 2014
I'm in awe of your artistic talents!
By: Eva Gallant on June 10, 2014
Hey, I am an Arkie, but since you made that feller look pretty good, I won't get offended (this time). Your painting of the little lady is wonderful. If you are so inclined, I think it would really make her parent's day to offer to send at least a copy of the painting to them. By the way, I just saw in the headlines where there has been another school shooting, and it was in a Portland suburb. Keep your heads down!
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on June 10, 2014
I'm especially impressed with Stephen's detailed eyes. Stephen Hayes is a fairly nice looking man. Regarding the girl, I like the fact that her face looks older. It's as if she has a world of stories to tell. You're a very gifted artist.
By: Robyn Engel on June 10, 2014
What great work Stephen, I particularly like the one of the young girl.
By: John on June 11, 2014
I've said it before, but I'll repeat myself: you are a multi-talented man, Stephen. The girl picture in particular is stunning.
By: Bryan Jones on June 11, 2014
These are great paintings, Stephen. You are very talented as both a writer and an artist. The young girl is especially stunning. Well done!
By: Sharon Bradshaw on June 11, 2014
I love your portraits! I wonder what effect it would have on the various Stephen Hayses if you sent them their portraits...
By: Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma on June 11, 2014
The painting of the young lady is quite beautiful. It makes me think of a young Irish lady with reddish hair and scarf. Do you name your paintings?
By: Daniel LaFrance on June 14, 2014
Great to see you painting again! I love the second painting. He looks just like a printer I used to do artwork for back in the day.
By: LL Cool Joe on June 14, 2014
Wow - those are amazing !
By: The Bug on June 15, 2014
Your talent is amazing. I love the painting of the little girl. I am not surprised that the name Stephen Hayes comes up numerous times on the Internet. That would be an interesting series of portraits (and bios). I tend to think there are no other women with my name in the world as my name is so unique. There is one other man with my husbands name. He lives in Louisiana and we have gotten contacted a couple of time with people trying to reach him.
By: Cheryl P. on June 25, 2014

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