After seeing the portrait Ken had done of the 2 Chris’s, Debs sought out Ken to see if he’d paint a surprize pic of her & Pete for their anniversary at the weekend. Ken had a good chuckle as Pete had come to him with same request..how nice is that?
‘There is something about painting a portrait. It requires concentration for long periods on the details of a person’s face, whether in life or in a photograph. Every fold and tonal change has to be identified and represented. If you are the one portrayed It is unlikely that anyone has scrutinised you with such care before, other than perhaps your mother when you were born. I don’t know if the face is the window on the soul but it is certainly a window on emotions. Moment to moment changes in our feelings show up there even before we become conscious of them, and what has happened to us in the past becomes etched there forever. I worked in mental health for many years and in that job you become atuned to such changes. So painting portraits is an intimate process and having a portrait painted can be unsettling.
When I paint a portrait I am really only interested in the face and my most detailed careful works has been of people I care greatly about. But I also like doing rapidly executed and at times large portraits, the sort of thing that might have been on an advertising hoarding in the 1950s, and incorporating text. That kind of illustrative work, the sort of thing I have started at Treloan, demands a lighter touch and is more fun. I like the idea of documenting local characters and events on old bits of ply. When you get fed up of it why not use it to mend the shed or light the fire!‘ Ken Barrett