The Spectator – A Blog About News, Arts, and Travels

Remembering Senator Arlen Specter

When I first got the call to paint Senator Specter for Yale Law School, I was instantly thrilled.  Like many Americans who enjoy politics and C-Span TV, I had long known of the famous Senator from Pennsylvania from his numerous interviews, Senate floor speeches, debates, and magazine and newspaper articles. The longest serving United States Senator Continue Reading…

A Portrait of an Artist

Late one evening last week I sat in a small room I had rented for the night in the historic National Arts Club just off Gramercy Park. The venerable old club is one of my favorite stops in New York City and I treasure my membership there. It is filled with paintings, antique furniture, and Continue Reading…

"A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats"

Last night, a dear friend and extraordinary man Gordon Wetmore passed away after a brief illness. A prolific and talented artist, he also founded the Portrait Society of America. Gordon was a man of imposing physical stature with a gentle, kind spirit. For over 40 years he has successfully painted hundreds of portraits for families, Continue Reading…

Paul Stevens • A lesson in Achievement

One of my favorite parts of my job as an artist is meeting THE most fascinating people. Not only are you working to capture their outer likeness on canvas, you are also getting to know them as human beings… their unique, individual character and personality. I just delivered a head portrait of a remarkably talented Continue Reading…

Barrymore Nose

All I Nose about the Nose–A Few Tips

(Actor John Barrymore • Collection of the Players Club; NYC, NY) I have always found painting noses to be so fun! They are incredibly different from person to person. No two noses are the same. Getting the structure of the nose is so important. Understanding that there are planes is invaluable. The goal of the Continue Reading…

Is painting simply an imitative art?

Recently, I discovered a Harper’s Weekly article on the teaching of Carolus Duran written in the 1880’s. A student was enrolled in Duran’s classes in Paris and carefully recorded the critique sessions held in the studio each week. As I read the article, I was reading the words of Duran as he spoke to his Continue Reading…

Beautiful at Any Age

I often hear from perspective clients their concern over what age they should be painted or should have been painted as if there is a perfect age for a portrait! “I should have been painted before I was 40!” more than one person has told me. Thank goodness not everyone feels that way. If given Continue Reading…

NEW Bravura Brush Series from Silver Brush

The Bravura brushes are selections of Michael Shane Neal, protégé of the nation’s leading artist and presidential portraitist, Everett Raymond Kinstler (a second generation student of John Singer Sargent). Neal is grand prize winner of the 2001 Portrait Society of America International Portrait Competition and has been recognized for work in oil and landscapes. Silverstone Continue Reading…

Traveling with Photo Equipment

If you are like me and paint portraits, you keep trying to refine what you take along for a photo shoot. Although I LOVE natural light and use it when ever I can, sometimes I need an artificial source. I settled on this set up several years ago. It is not perfect, but works well Continue Reading…

Hands, What’s the Point?

Artists have long enjoyed the addition of hands to any portrait and suffered over the consequences! You’ve often heard that many people judge the quality of the portrait by the quality of the hands. Adding expression and personality, the addition of hands can greatly increase interest and likeness to any portrait. The most important factor Continue Reading…

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