Wednesday, December 7, 2011

An Artist's Homage To His Daughter.

I just finished a very unique commission for two longtime friends.

It was a portrait of a beautiful woman, and she was the daughter of this very focused man, William S. Gault. Bill Gault was a graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and a respected illustrator and painter in Philadelphia during his long career.

Bill started this portrait of his daughter Lynn, but unfortunately died before he could complete it.
I hesitated only briefly before agreeing to bring the painting to completion for Lynn and her husband Morris.

Lynn's father worked in oils and water color, as I do, and we shared the same approach to painting.
Here is one of his water colors.

I used the same small, but now faded and scratchy photo Bill had based his "start" on, for reference.
But unlike him, I had access to good old Photoshop, to clean and blow up the image.

After laying out my palette, I began what would end up being about a two week job.

I always tell my students to begin with the obvious, which in this case was laying in the initial flesh tones. With oils you must consider "drying times," so I work all over the painting.

The most challenging part of this painting was Lynn's beautiful smile. I had to come up with just the right neutral colors to imply "white teeth in shadow." 

Bringing the portrait to completion was the result of much back and forth and trial and error.

I'm often asked, "How do you know when a painting is finished?" My answer: "Same as knowing when a conversation is over; there's nothing left to say." Happily, my friends Lynn and Morris liked the finished portrait; a "collaboration" between Bill Gault, and Bill Ternay.


  1. WOW
    What a process!
    Very impressive Bill
    you hit the nail on the head.

  2. Good job and very interesting to see what you were able to do on a very hard assignment. You are so multi talented!

  3. Bill - I have a painting by Wm. s. Gault - do you have any info. on his background. The painting is called 'The Red Book", and i love it. thanks M. G. Phipps

    1. Bill - I forgot to give you email regarding the Gault painting: Thanks M. G. Phipps