Portraiture Mentors: #4 of Kellie Snider’s 100 Faces Portrait Project

Painting of woman in glasses with gray hair, wide smile
Painting of woman in glasses with gray hair, wide smile

4 of 100 Faces

Lisa Casto

Kellie Snider’s 100 Faces Portrait Project


8″ x 8″

Stretched Canvas

The Model:

Lisa Casto is a retired librarian in the Dallas, Texas area. She and the artist became friends through Horizon Unitarian Universalist Church in Carrollton, Texas where we knew each other for a whole lot of years. Lisa is a brilliant, fun human I’m happy to know.

Coincidentally, although we didn’t know each other until we both lived in the Dallas area, we were both born and raised in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Near the Kansas border, Ponca is a small city that was part of the early midwestern oil boom.

The Project:

Lisa was one of the first people to offer photos to be used in my 100 Faces Portrait Project. I started a reference photo file and just started painting the ones that moved me. Lisa’s smile in this photo was definitely appealing.

When I started painting my series, I was spending a lot of time looking at one of Ray Turner‘s catalogs of his Populations Series. His paintings are loose and feature thick, juicy paint. Just by staring at the photos, I learned a tremendous amount about color, highlights, and paint movement. I thought at this stage in the series that I would move toward his style of portraiture over time. I was using large brushes relative to the size of the canvasses (This canvas was 8″ x 8″ and I was using flat brushes about 1/2″ wide). Turner paints on glass, whereas I was painting on canvas.

I was also following London portrait artist, Jane French, whom I have followed on Instagram for a few years. In 2021 she began her own One Hundred Heads project, and finished it 6 months later in 2022. I watched with fascination as she posted each new portrait, and was enamored of her style. It is not as thick as Turner’s style, but it has a clear impressionism that she creates with flat brushes as she focuses on the planes and contours of the face.

These two artists were very inspirational during the process of doing all of the paintings of the series. I also looked at the work of other portrait artists I admire, such as the late Everette Raymond Kinstler, who died in 2019 at the age of 92. Coincidentally I had just discovered him by buying his book, Painting Portraits, at Half Price Books and was reading the book when I learned of his death. What a treasure this book is! Anyone who is interested in portraiture should track down a copy.

My portrait of Lisa is a study of brush strokes and colors. I selected a contemporary blueish teal background with a solid texture to enhance the peaceful facial features.