To me painting a portrait carries a different mentality than painting a landscape or seascape. It's so much more personal, especially when you know the person but even when you do not. I painted mostly very old people in the beginning ( see my portrait gallery). Even though I didn't know them I had great respect for them. Each person seemed filled with character; each had their own life experience; some had suffered more than others but all showed the resilience we need to be able to reach old age still anticipating another day.
The only portrait I've never been able to paint was my own...not sure why, perhaps it's because I haven't yet reached that "senior citizen" status I endowed on those earlier subjects...at least in my own mind.
I painted two subjects in which the brush fairly flew in my hand. Each stroke seemed to will itself upon the other. I had a clear vision of what I wished to portray; I saw the completed work before it was done. You see, I had a personal attachment to each subject. One was a friend who died unexpectedly this summer.
The other was Jonathan Peck (see my painting in "portraits"). son of the movie star Gregory Peck. I was a journalist in those days. I was news director and anchored the news in Santa Maria, Ca. at KCOY-TV, a station owned by Helen Pedoti, a longtime friend of the Peck family. She often had the three boys Jonathan, Stephen, and Carey to her ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley at summertime. In the mid-1970s I had an opening in our Santa Barbara territory and Helen asked if I would hire Jon to fill that slot. I knew she wouldn't have asked if she didn't believe Jon was qualified for the job (and afterall, she owned the company), so I agreed. Jon was a wonderful reporter; he had charisma, intellect, and a great desire to learn. We had a great year as friends and in our work. Sadly, Jon took his own life. In memory of that friendship, I painted his portrait and gave it to his brother Stephen. That painting was sadly lost in a house fire some years later. I still have a photo though, here in my portrait gallery.