Friday, November 21, 2014

Call for Clonmel People

Calling Clonmel, South Tipp, Ireland
I need you to be participants in my Portrait Project: Hometown

I am thrilled to be returning to Clonmel next August (2015) to exhibit paintings at the Arts Center. I am working on a portrait project called "Home Towns" - one part is of people from my adopted town of Woodstock and one is of people from my original home town of Clonmel. For the Clonmel project, I am inviting people from the town to be my subjects for the portraits. The idea is that the project will be a snapshot of  the Clonmel community in 2015, so it is important that that every age-group is represented from the very young to the very old, female and male. 

To participate, you need to be living in or near Clonmel now, and you need to e-mail me two/three photos of you and/or a friend or relative that I will paint from. The paintings will be a little over 30 x 30 cm, so the heads will be close to life-size. To keep it mixed up, I'll use a different hat for each gender and age-group and take turns picking from them, so don't just send photos of the grandkids.

The photos - unfortunately, often great snap shots don't make great sources for paintings, therefore I am going to ask people to take new photos with this project in mind. A fancy camera is not a requirement - a mobile phone camera will be fine, and then you can email me the pics from there.
Best is if the person being photographed is standing next to a light source, for example, a window or a lamp - best of all, is a reading lamp directed at the face from the left or right side (see tips below). I just need head and shoulders only. Feel free to wear whatever you like - if you usually wear a hat, then wear a hat. There are a few additional tips below.

Email the photos to:, and please include the following info about the person in the photo(s): name and approx age + one particular thing that they like, that is 'them' -  perhaps it's soccar, dancing, basket-weaving, or cats, for example: Jack Jones, age 8 - dinosaurs, or Mrs Jill Jones, age 70s - flowers. Also, please put the name(s) in the subject line like this: Clonmel Jack and Jill Jones.

Tips for the photos:
(1) Ideally two or three pictures for each person – one with a serious expression and one in the same pose but smiling.
(2) Head and shoulders only. The whole head is best.
(3) No flash please as it tends to flattens the features; 
(4) If the face is lit from one direction it creates interesting shadows – this can be done with a reading lamp, or if the person being photographed is next to a window with strong sunlight coming in. Following are examples of photos taken with a lamp

These are photos of my young friend, Chloe - the light-source is a lamp. But standing next to a sunny window will have a similar effect. I like the clearly defined shadows and that there are areas of light on the "dark side" of the face. And I can see the whole head, so this ideal.                                                                                                                         

In the photograph on the right, see how there are light areas in the dark side of the face? This makes for a very interesting picture - often it is just a case of turning the head a little more towards the light.

Here are a couple of things to avoid.

This photo on the left is typical of a cell-phone format and part of the head is cropped so I am missing information, so better to move back a bit or get someone else to take the picture.

The photo on the right is almost great, but just a bit too close up. By being a few more inches back from the camera, both of these would be perfect.

Below, just for fun, are some examples of what are useful and not so useful expressions. If you were to send me three photos, the three I've marked are the ones I'd like best. If you can only send one, then send me a version that fits the photo I've made #1.

But don't let fussiness over the "perfect photo" put you off participating - the photos are only source materials for paintings and I can work with what I've got, including deepening shadows, making stuff up, and performing plastic surgery. That's why they call it 'artist's license'. Seriously, I am not going to be painstakingly painting in wrinkles and liver-spots - like, who has the time... Emoji

Who will be painted? To begin with, it will be first come, first served. If a lot of people respond, it will be a kind of lottery. I am aiming to complete 15 - could be more (or less). Again, my personal email to send stuff to is: and sooner is better. Maybe you, or someone you nominate, will be one of the people whose portrait is in the exhibition in August!

What happens to the portraits after the exhibition? The portraits will be for sale for a nominal amount with the subjects getting first refusal. I am thinking in the region of 100 - 150 Euro.  This is not a profit-making exercise and any funds made from sales will help allay costs - that's it.

However, whether or not people eventually buy their portrait is irrelevant to the project and is not at all a factor in qualifying to participate.

To see examples of my work, especially my portraits, please visit Gallery 1 on my Website

For Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the project, click HERE

The Small Print
The images may be used for promotional and publicity purposes, and they will be published on my 
website, social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, etc), and possibly in a book. By agreeing to 
participate in the Project, it is taken as read that people agree to such usages of the images produced.