This wastercolor portait is of Malcolm and Cheri.

This was painted from a snapshot of Malcolm and Cheri.

I painted this for my wife, Cheri. The original photo was taken long before I knew her, with her best friend Malcolm. I became friends with him as well after Cheri and I were married. Cheri and I took several trips with Malcolm and his wife Carol.

They were there when I had second row seats to see the Rolling Stones in 1994. I remember that after a simply amazing show, Malcolm and I met James Taylor in the hotel lobby. We rode the elevator with him and had a nice chat.

Malcolm and Carol were gracious enough to invite us to spend a week with them at their time share in Slidell, Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans.

We lost Malcolm well before his time, and were all terribly saddened by his absence.

My process:

First I determine where I want the brightest, warmest portion of the painting to be. That required analyzing each of their faces separately. This is often the case with older, ‘snapshot’ type photos.

This is the phot I started with to paint Cheri and Malcolm.

Malcolm and Cheri original snapshot

Then I applied a wash to tone the paper.

Over that wash, I sketched in the darker areas of the image, and masked out the light areas.

The painting step is my favorite. I get to wet the remainder of the paper (all the unmasked areas) and apply layers of paint , letting the colors run and blend by turning the paper and applying more paint.

Some blotting and re-wetting may be in order to refine the color patterns.

When I am satisfied, I leave the work to dry. The masking is removed after the painting has completely dried. At this point, it is entirely possible that the entire work may be discarded if I don’t care for it.

In this case I created three paintings. I was happiest with the third version. After a few corrections and touch-ups, the work is finished.