My favorite portrait for Geri so far was the one of her daughter, Annie. Geri sent me a pile of photos. Most of them were snapshots, and Anne was too far away to get really good details in her face. She did send this one photo that was a great close-up, even though it was older. The only problem with using this photo as a reference was the color- it was pretty washed out, and there wasn't a lot of light/shadow to define the contours of her face.
So I searched for other sources of inspiration to merge with the photo of Annie and create an interesting custom portrait.
I found this image (I think it's Drew Barymore) in a magazine and LOVED the colors and the light and shadows on her face. I also adore the work of Francisco Clemente (I first saw his work in the movie "Great Expectations" with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow). I love the exagerated eyes and the combination of line and color.
So, going back to Annie, I worked on watercolor paper mounted to foam core and started layering all of these elements into her portrait - drawing with charcoal and pastel and painting with watercolors and acrylics. I think I ended up with a unique and beautiful portrait that went way beyond just copying a photo.