First Touch
from The Prince of Butterflies



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I think this is one of the two or three strongest paintings in the book.  I feel it works really well emotionally at this point in the book, but additionally, I think it's one of the better portraits I've ever painted.


One of the things I enjoyed about this book is that "John" is Robbie Carter, the son of my colleague and boss at San Jose State, the illustrator Bunny Carter.  Bunny and Robbie are two of my favorite people and I think it always makes a difference when you're painting someone you actually have some sort of social connection with.  Because I know and like Robbie, some of that emotion comes out through the act of painting and "humanizes" the portrait beyond the photo reference.  Also, the model for the "old" John is Robbie's grandfather, Ben Eisenstat, who is also an illustrator.



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