What is a portrait?

The dictionary defines portraits this way: a painting, drawing, photograph, or engraving of a person, especially one depicting only the face or head and shoulders. a representation or impression of someone or something in language or on film: the writer builds up a full and fascinating portrait of a community.

In my case it is a painting or a drawing. I paint faces. But it is more than that. I paint an energy around the face—I try to capture a spiritual presence, a “light around the body”, so to speak. You could say auras and halos are a bunch of baloney, but I do think there is an element of peace and joy that permeates nature and produces a definite emanation from the person immersed in that peace and joy.

Mattia of Spoleto (early stage)

I painted this of Mattia in Spoleto, Italy, a couple weeks ago. I started out with a chartreuse ground. Then sketched him in with orange. Most of the time I paint the Spiritual Masters, but now I am using the people in my life to paint as well. I want to paint them as though they are my “spiritual masters.” I want to paint “icons” of them, in a way.

In my last article I wrote this about painting icons:

“The whole point of the icon painting is to make alive that which was hitherto dormant or dead. It starts out with nothing, and ends up with something. A blank canvas is very daunting. I face it over and over again, and usually surprise myself what comes out in the end. I generally have no pre-conceived picture in my mind’s eye of what is coming forth. Rather, it is a simple and practical process of basic actions with simple choices of colors applied to a clear image of the Master. These conditions set the stage for the paintings’ birth into being.”

Mattia of Spoleto (finished stage)

In Amsterdam last weekend I painted the Divine Mother. This one below is a portrait of AMMA in a pose that I often use. Pink and Rose are the predominant colors. Sondra picked them out in the paint store. I knew they would come together for a powerful portrait of the Divine Mother. A person like AMMA is easy to use as a model of the Divine Mother. She is already so focused on the power of peace within.

I felt totally comfortable painting Her to emanate rays. After she was done, I had Her in the apartment where we were staying, and it became clear that our organizer in Amsterdam, Monique, was to have Her. Monique has a light around herself as well, and maybe this painting would help her to bring it out more. We all need encouragement to shine our light. This is the real purpose of a portrait: to help us to shine our light, and to help others to see our light.

Amma of Amsterdam

This painting of the Divine Mother stayed behind in Amsterdam to bless Monique and bless the city. She has it in her house now, over an Altar to the Spiritual Masters.

For originals or giclees of these paintings, contact me at

Originals start at $2500 and giclees start at $450, depending on the size.

Feeling the Peace of God is what I intend from painting portraits. I want to feel this peace and joy while I am painting the portrait, and I want the painting to emanate peace and joy when people are looking at the painting. Ultimately, the feeling of the Peace of God is what I would like you to have in your life by living with these paintings in your home.


Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment


Start typing and press Enter to search

Duomo of Spoleto