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Staring at Jim Lehrer

JUNE 9, 2011

Thanks to Michael Hogue at the Dallas Morning News for asking me to do this portrait of retiring PBS Newshour anchor/host Jim Lehrer. Michael asked for a straightforward, realistic portrait, which is fine, but not what I'm usually asked to do. Michael's always good about letting me do my thing, and when I feel that trust I usually do pretty decent work.
After sending a very basic likeness sketch for approval I decided to treat this as I would a real life painting and just start from scratch - no working over a sketch, just start painting. After a while, it sdtarted to look like something, and before you know it, there's Jim, looking back sort of smiling at me saying " I knew you could do it".

Tim O'Brien and family visited us while we were on Martha's Vineyard last summer. As he was leaving one of my kids sprinted by. "Oh, I didn't get a chance to stare at your kids", he said. I was pretty blown away, although I shouldn't have been. That's exactly what I do, what most artists who paint people do, I'd just never heard it stated so painly and accurately. So, given the usual constraints of an illustration assignment, this was my best shot at staring last week.