Portrait of the Artist's Daughter
oil on canvas, 7" x 5", 2011
I am primarily known as a still life painter. Although I began my career as a figure painter, the still life and particularly flowers have always held my attention. It is enough to deal with composition, color and dynamic energy, but to throw in human"character", that really complicates everything.
That being said, I have always painted portraits.
I could write a book on the experiences, both good and bad, of dealing with art vs. the human beings perception of themselves.......oy vey!
That is why I most often go to subjects that tend to complain the least,
myself (as in self portraits), and my family; my wife Beth and our daughter Ana. This tiny portrait of Ana began as an example of small scale portraiture. It is a three quarter view of of head and upper torso. She is set against a neutral dark background. I like the stark simplicity of the somewhat off set composition.
Antonio Lopez Garcia
Pencil on paper, 27" x 21"
Artists have always used family members as subjects, from Rembrandt's touchingly soulful portraits of his wife and son, to the contemporary Spanish artist,Antonio Lopez Garcia's
hauntingly beautiful portrait of his daughter Maria.
THE SYMBOLIC PORTRAIT
Governor Stephen E. Merrill
Oil on canvas, 52" x 34", 2003
State House, Concord NH
RESPONSIBLE GOVERNANCE IS SERIOUS BUSINESS
In 2003 I was asked to paint the official portrait of former Governor Stephen E. Merrill
of New Hampshire. I chose to paint not only the Governor himself but also deference to the law and people of New Hampshire.
The composition ascends, at the bottom rests a wooden desk, representing the land of New Hampshire with the state seal. On the desk sits open the rule book of legislative procedure signifying the rule of law upon which the Governor's authority is based. The Governor stands in the posture of reading, but he has just looked up at the viewer, still occupied by his thoughts.
He stands in front of a granite loggia with two vertical columns representing the legislative and the judicial branches of government. The linear energy of his body and the panels ascend vertically to the dome of the State House behind and above his head. His eyes are at the transition between the terrestrial and celestial. Artistically this is risky stuff.
The painting now hangs in the State House and belongs to the people of New Hampshire.
copyright 2011 James Aponovich