Connections through painting

There are many elements to painting a portrait, but perhaps the one that excites me the most is creating a connection between subject and viewer. Before painting I ask, “What features spell personality and identity and connect it to the viewer?”

Sometimes that is a very easy question to answer; however, there are times that demand more serious study and reflection before beginning a portrait.
Also, the subject may not be willing to participate or may not be available as a reference for a painting. Then it takes imagination and discussion with those familiar with the subject to unlock the secrets and answer that important question.