People Portraits Gallery

'People Portraits Gallery'

People have such interesting features, each person is similar and yet we are each unique. To paint the human is to catch the nuisances in line such as; the smirk, a cowlick, a smile and gawd forbid a wrinkle. 

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Tribute Leonard Cohen by Minaz Jantz

Old School Art Gallery 2017 opening theme was to be the inspiration of Canadain musician and songwriter Leonard Cohen. Can read more about this artwork and how I used guitar strings as a hanger for hanging here. 

Stephen & Sir Gunther (kitten) Charcoal & Pastel by Minaz Jantz commissioned 2017
2017 Stephen & Sir Gunther (kitten)
Charcoal & Pastel
by Minaz Jantz

I owned a Dodge Colt hatchback and travelled across North America with a bubble storage unit fitted on top of the car's roof. I would travel across Canada and move to the USA and then back again to Canada. My son Dustin and dog Dixie where very comfortable travelling companions. We looked forward to being on the road again with our soft-sided Samsonite suitcases stuffed full. How I enjoyed driving that car and fond memories of our trips together. It was the most useful and comfortable small car in production with a 5-speed stick, Japanese Mitsubishi engine, that served me well on the open highway, the mighty Dodge Colt hatchback!

Goddess of Wisdom is an intuitive portrait created with feminine wisdom, needing to emerge creatively onto my watercolour paper. A woman's body has been given the miraculous ability to give life to another fellow soul, moving rhythmically in a natural dance, while she shares her sparkle dust of nurturing and compassion for the human condition.  

I layered colour with thin acrylic paints, pastels, gold and silver inks, and scratched the heavy watercolour paper's surface for texture. I could see my intuitive face appear and was amazed at who she could be because I used no reference photos to guide me.

This piece of artwork was later framed in one of my designed artistic frames. I had some old frames from the gallery where I worked and also corner frame samples which I recycled into serving art one more time.  Foam core was used for the main surface and is strong but lightweight at the same time. The surface can hold just about anything to it with the right glues. I combined craft paints and layers of textures with foils, trim and beads to make the framed art and it's ready to hang!

I confess, that I like to 'people watch' and have a chance to do some of that when we travel and go out on the town. It intrigues me to watch how people move in their skins and look for personal LINES and what it is people wear. I like to look at a face with lots of character and story while also catching that moment of sweet innocence on a child's face. We wear our faces like it is our personal road map also called wrinkles!

Larry loves his collector cars and he is also a man who is self-sufficient. He showed me this old photo of himself when he was young and told me with joy how much he enjoyed his VW ride and remembers that successful fishing hole! 

I used my drafting symbols template to create a pattern texture also hinting at another tidbit about who Larry in which he has been a carpenter and can build a house from scratch! Larry also watched the Canadian Comedy, The Red Green show and one of Larry's favourite closing comments by Red on the show, "If the women can not find you handsome, they should at least find you handy". Well, I can say Larry was not so bad to look at but can say he was especially handy!

Artist Robert Genn (passed away 2014) was a mentor and a friend who he would drop off art supplies to encourage me to keep painting, as he was one of a few people at that time, who encouraged me to jump into the artists' abyss!

Robert gave me acrylic paints and a selection of surfaces to paint on such as various canvases and a few mahogany wood boards 11" x 14".

Baker Boy was my first oil painting. I was supposed to be going somewhere that day but I got completely caught up in my new oil paints and trying them out on the gifted mahogany wood panels. Without any drawing preparation, I just went for it until I was mostly finished the portrait at the end of a few hours. The oil paint moved about slickery-dickery-dock and fell in love with this medium instantly and gave up acrylic paint right then and there. 

I picked this photo where my son is wearing his favourite kitchen uniform made by his Grandma Jantz. Dustin was taught to bake at a very early age and impressed his young friends how he could make from a batch of cookies and do it completely unassisted. TODAY, he is a Renaissance Man who can make his gal friend a lemon loaf and some biscuits for breakfast then go out and build a race car. 

Floating Buddies is painted in memory of the relationship between Dixie, the dog and my son, Dustin. Short legged, large body type dogs are not so interested in swimming as they roll like a log. BUT Dixie was not going to let Dustin go out in his inner tube and so she would swim out and corral him back to shore. The SOLUTION was to get an air mattress so Dixie could ride with him. 

Winter Apples is a portrait of Dustin and Bill, the neighbour's horse, who loved to follow Dustin around the field. Bill liked to initiate some kind of play, poking with his nose and even my son had offered some winter apples, Bill would rather nose snuffle his sleeve! 

Winter Apples is painted with pastel on one of my favourite surfaces called UART pastel paper. I used a spiral shape to influence the design & composition to create an intimacy shared at just that moment.

Open Wide is another photo moment with a neighbours horse named Bill. He was a good animal friend of Dustin's early childhood. We were moving away and wanted to come back one last time to say goodbye. I think Bill would miss his little human buddy! 

Who has not seen a father or two who have not claimed the lazy-boy chair off limits to anyone else!? While these manly men are swallowed into an oversized chair, the TV BOX would come on, with one mighty click from the greatest invention, the MAN station clicker! Lazy Boy Cowboy is a portrait of my sister's father-in-law in his favourite plaid chair that can we can say both have seen better days! 

The people I chose to draw upon have been a part of my life, and to express a 'snip it' of time. I like to paint faces that spark a story in my painter's eye. Drawing in a sketch pad, I will practice quick gesture drawings when in public, hiding incognito, not wanting people to notice me while drawing quickly. Each person has something to emanate from their souls and it takes lots of observational skills for a painter to share that life force through their pencil or paint. 

Some of my people portraits have gleaned from old photos. I will use the photo up to a point when I get rid of it and just paint what's in front of me and let the paint speak!

My sister had just arrived home with a baby hawk and I had managed to snap off a few photos of her outside, holding the injured baby hawk. She had worked for an Orphan Wildlife Sanctuary at the time and brought it home for overnight care but sadly the bird did not make it through to the next day.

Years ago, I had some time and money to study drawing and painting at an art studio. I took some classes at the Vancouver Art Academy and had the instructor and schools founder, Micheal Britton who got me started in portrait drawing... he would often say to us students, "use your Martini eye to view the model"...  Doing the martini eye/squinting helps to simplify the face into shapes so the mind doesn't grab at the symbolic details which are a sure-fire way for a beginner going into a tailspin.  I kept my old notes and drawings from those classes which come in handy for review and have since purchased several of his videos.

Micheal is highly trained, humorously sarcastic, and a fantastic instructor who demos everything he teaches! He now offers courses online for those interested in an intensive study and correct way of drawing and painting the portrait. 

A neighbour in our loft building, just birthed a happy cute boy and one day she came by my loft for some keys, when I noticed the 'sparkle dust' energy all over this new mum and son. I dreamed about doing their portrait that night and woke up motivated to make a plan to do so! 

Of course, no child is going to sit still for anyone so we planned an afternoon to come to her loft and take a bunch of spontaneous photos, trying to capture a special moment. He had just finished his nap and was up for some fun so mum picked him up and started to fly him in the air which he loved and laughed. This was my special moment caught on camera. 

To start their portrait, I studied all the photos to see their gestures and picked one to draw in pencil, using guidelines and adjusting anything that does not seem right to me before I start to use the pastel sticks. I liked to think I captured the joy of a mother and child in play with this portrait. 

The background light effect was to emulate the Madonna and baby Jesus type portraits so popular in religious icon paintings. 

My paper choice was not my usual but I liked to try something different, getting out of comfort zones. I also then tried out a new pastel technique called stippling. The back side of the dark blue Canson paper is textured so I thought this would be the perfect surface to try out the stippling technique with lots of little dots of pastel colours in layers, all over the surface. Can read more here...

Bangkok Grandma & Grandchild was a family we met while travelling to Thailand in 2006. There was a coup going on in Thailand at that time and military was seen in various areas of Thailand. We stayed at a small quaint resort in Kanchanaburi and here is where I met and chatted with this lovely older woman. We made friends over a few days and talked a lot about world issues and she invited us to a small family gathering, very relaxed and informal but had several Buddhist Monks performing a ceremony for the family to which later we would feast on authentic Thai cuisine. 

It turns out days later, Nid says, she is a Princess of Thailand, and the family is laying low during the coup and this quaint little resort belongs to her son. One morning before she left with a full military escort back to Bangkok, she was having morning toast sharing with her grandchild, also a Princess. I asked permission if I could take a photo of her in the lovely silk embroidery wrap with her adorable grandchild. Read more here in my travel journals.

I wanted to paint this portrait, reclaiming the memory of the reflected colour light coming from the outdoor roof screen that has a greenish glow from the bamboo and other large green plants. The Thai's use lots of gold leafing on their Buddhist shrines so I found a good reason to work with gold leafing into the background of the painting. 

I am captivated by how people wear their clothes and what that says about them. Going to art museums of the old masters, we see the fashion of their day, along with some items painted into the composition that could symbolise the person's position in their society. 

A fine artist may rather like to paint the gnarly old face more than a plastic airbrushed beauty that is the rage with magazines. It's like an artist who paints the life force of a failing old barn and we are all charmed by this old barn in a painting and hang it on our walls but maybe the other reality of this old failing barn is its an eyesore for the neighbours and wished it would burn to the ground. 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and how an artist presents their subject!... Minaz

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