After the “January” landscape show I realized that landscape painting served as respite time for me.   I had an understanding about anatomy, movement, and how to achieve “likeness.”  So non-traditional portraiture seemed a good fit for my drawing and painting time which was now shrinking.  Family responsibilities were upon us – parenting four who were at different stages of growth. I decided to paint what was before me – the family.   We could see family as we had known it for so many years, coming to an end.  The kids were heading out, no question about it.

Some days, I asked our daughters and son to sit, stand, or as I put it, “freeze” for me until I could run and get a pencil.  Other days, drawing a portrait provided an excuse to talk a problem over that one of the kids had.  When no one was around and I needed to practice portrait skills, I set up the children’s soft toys from their childhood that had been put away long ago.  These paintings were exhibited as “The Family – In Transition” in 1983 at the pediatric clinic, University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison.

“Friends and Family” came the following year after “The Family-in Transition.”  The sitters financed materials for paintings and framing, and then became owners of their portraits after the show.  Words are helpful even as they limit.  In the previous show I had thought about “family” and how it would change.  In this show, I thought about “What is ‘family’?” and  “What is ‘friend’?”  It seemed to me in my life the line was blurred.

Many of the sitters came to the opening and met each other and the public.  I stopped doing portraits for exhibition after these two shows.  Modesty aside, I’m good at portraits — more insightful than I consciously intend to be.   Although both I and the sitter gave full consent to the portrait experience and exhibition (title and all), there were pointed surprises, or should I say, surprises that were pointed — surprises that had painful points on them.  What I’m saying is I have a good eye for what’s key even though I don’t know why it’s key.  The sitters did know themselves in their hearts. They weren’t happy to see portrayed in an art show that which I hadn’t even consciously seen and didn’t intend to draw public attention to.   Embarrassing remarks were made to some of the sitters, and I felt bad about that.  I was the one who could put a stop to that.  I still do portraits but they reside in people’s homes and are under their control.

(No pictures to be posted for this series of paintings.)