Memorial Portraits: #5 of Kellie Snider’s 100 Faces Portrait Project

Painting of man in glasses
Painting of man in glasses

Bart Bullington (1965-2022)

#5 of Kellie Snider’s 100 Faces Portrait Project

Oil on Stretched Canvas

11″ x 16″

The Model:

Bart was my cousin. When he was two years old and his sister, Elisa, was 9 months, they and their mother spent a summer with us, so I’ve always felt close to them even though for most of our lives we’ve lived very far apart. He was an avid skate boarder, and had a gang of ruffians he skated with most weekends. He worked as a brew master, making beer. He was a curmudgeon in many ways, strongly opinionated, funny, and a real character. He was divorced, but had three daughters whom I never had the chance to meet.

In October 2022, Bart had a major stroke and after some time in the hospital, he died. I was at an art fair when I got the news.

The Project

As I began this project I didn’t know how I was going to come up with 100 Faces to paint. I decided to memorialize Bart as my 5th portrait in the 100 Faces Project. It was tricky knowing how to do depict him. He had lost weight in recent years, and was not in the best of demeanors near the end of his life as he went through a challenging divorce. The photos I had to choose from were not all ideal. This is typical of memorial portraits. The person to be portrayed isn’t available to photograph, and the photos that are available are often grainy, blurry, faded, or in poor lighting. People take a billion photos with their phones, but most don’t really know how to get a good shot, and they’re not really thinking that their phone photos will one day be turned into a painted portrait. I was able to cobble together a few choices that gave me enough to reflect his likeness. His family tells me that it really caught his personality.

My intention with this series was to hold onto all of the works so that I could do an exhibit of the finished project, but Bart’s sister wanted to give this portrait to their 90-year-old mother. Of course I sent the painting to California, which is where it really belongs. This left me with a conundrum. What should I do when it comes time to display the series? I made a mistake of not getting a high resolution photo of the finished work before I sent it. As you can see in this photo, there is a little glare. I can probably fix this with my photo editing app.

So, that is the plan for this piece. I will get as good a photo resolution as possible, and I will frame the photo in a unique way to commemorate Bart’s posthumous participation in my 100 Faces Portrait Project.