Northville’s Who’s Who??


My last one-man show featured portraits of prominent residents of Northville, Michigan, however they didn’t know it was going to happen. A few months prior I had gone about town taking photos of individuals. All they knew was I needed their photo for a project for one of the galleries. I painted portraits from the photographs. I tried to have something in the backgrounds relating to the individuals. You can see several of the portraits if you click on “Most Recent One Man Show” on the gallery section of the website.

The individuals received special invitations to the show. They were surprised to see themselves on the gallery wall when they arrived.

The gallery produced post card invitations to be sent to the regular mailing list. Sara Marlowe, gallery director, created the image for the card by including pieces of several of the portraits – an eye, a nose, etc.  The invitation created a lot of interest and gossip.  Here is the invitation card:


This is the police chief for Northville. I had to beg the receptionist to get him for me. He came out of his office and reluctantly posed for the picture. I’m sure he thought I was up to no good.

It is very hard to paint a portrait from a photo. A lot of people try to do it. For one thing, a photo will pick up the yellow artificial light from the bulbs above. Another thing is that the person is flat on the photo. I had to study these photos carefully so I could get the actual three dimensional feel. I forced some of the shadows and light on the faces to give that impression. This man’s hair is painted straight white. It isn’t that way normally, but with the light from above, any differences were washed out. Note the light and shadows on his shirt. There  are different colors. The colors happen  because of the sources of light. The blue parts have natural light coming from the outside entrance, while the greenish shades happen with the yellow cast of the overhead lighting.

Tell me what you think of my portraits in the “Most Recent One Man Show” section.  Which one do you like best?

Comments on Northville’s Who’s Who?? Leave a Comment

October 29, 2007

Christine @ 5:11 pm #

My favorite of your Northville’s Who’s Who is the lady sitting by her window in the grey shirt. I think you really captured her personality in the painting and I really enjoy the background. It adds nice interest to the painting.

Susie @ 8:12 pm #

I love the Most Recent One-Man Show section of your art gallery. The people in Northville are so fortunate to have you paint them, especially as a surprise! It must have been fun to see them view their portrait for the first time. I don’t think I have a favorite–I like them all. I am amazed at all of the colors that go into painting a face!

I am enjoying your posts so much and am so happy that you can share your immense talent this way. I can’t wait to see what your next post will be!

October 30, 2007

Jan @ 11:49 pm #

Tom, my favorite one is Image 2. The plaid jacket, her well-manicured nails, the background detail, and her face-especially her face-she looks so friendly and genuine. I look at her and I want to invite her to lunch to get to know her better! My second favorite is the lady in the grey shirt. The colors and her facial expression, but most of all, I like the detail on her Levi jeans. You’re amazing, Tom.

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