This is Russ. Russ is a massage therapist, and he is a magician. Russ works at the Space Time Tanks center with Eric, and I simply love him. One hour on his table can cause a person to have a different outlook – life is pretty good after all!

I am on the other side of the pond, visiting family in Israel. Everything is great here – sun and flowers and 70 degrees weather, but I haven’t mastered local hardware yet, and so my image is somewhat different from the real portrait. But I want to post it anyway, so you all know that I didn’t fall off the face of the Earth and am still painting and continuing with the Community Portrait series.

11″ x 8.5″ (28 x 22 cm) watercolor on paper


  1. nicola (pointypix) March 19, 2011

    Glad to have you back in blogland, Alex! Hope you are having a wonderful time with your family in Israel. This is another fantastic piece. I love how the background works so well with his top. I’m never sure how to do a background on portraits so usually leave them blank. This is wonderful.

    • Alex Zonis March 20, 2011

      It turns out that painted portraits take a while longer than graphite ones, and my posts became less frequent. But they come, slowly but surely. I am having similar hesitance about backgrounds, there is a strong tendency to leave them blank. I resist. I want to develop a more classical result in my portraits, and force myself to work the BG. Thank you for your comment, Nicola!

  2. lindahalcombfineart March 19, 2011

    Wonderful portrait, again done with consummate skill. I admire your talent and careful, patient approach. Thank you for showing me the benefit of slowing down a bit!

    • Alex Zonis March 20, 2011

      Thank you, Linda! Slowing down has its benefits, as does a fast and free aproach. I am yet to try the second one. It is possible to be too slow and too careful loosing spontaneity with that. Don’t you think?

  3. lesliepaints March 19, 2011

    Your portraits just get better and better, Alex. One thing I really am impressed with are the tones of blue grays you achieved throughout this painting. Drooling! 🙂

    • Alex Zonis March 20, 2011

      Leslie, I in fact thought of you when I was working my blues and grays, I know you like this combo and remember you discussing them in a couple of recent paintings. I am pleased with the BG, managed to get close to what I had in mind. The shirt is a different story, this is the best fabric drapping I have painted to date, and yet I see that more thought, skill and realism is needed to get to my idea of fabric. Thank you for your kind comment!

  4. ileana March 20, 2011

    You have an amazing gift. I would hope to one day have half your talent. You should join our Paint Party Fridays and inspire us all!

    • Alex Zonis March 21, 2011

      Thank you, ileana! I am going to check the Paint Party Fridays, sounds interesting. Glad you stopped by and liked my work!

  5. Carol King March 21, 2011

    I hope you are having fun in Israel with the family. I remember when you were there last you did some sketches of people in coffee shops and such. Will you do some of those again? I hope so.

    I really like your painting of Russ. Like Leslie, I LOVE your blues and greys. I find it interesting that with Russ you did a smiliar thing as with Eric, in that you used a monochromatic background. I like it very much. But what if you switched up your next one and did a background with a complementary color? Just wondering. I have no idea if that would work or not. And I think both Russ and Eric work quite well.

    • Alex Zonis March 22, 2011

      Hi Carol! Thank you for remembering my last year’s sketches! I am not doing sketches this year concentrating on painting instead. Sitting at home and painting alongside with my father, who is painting landscapes. Interesting experience – painting next to another artist, not in a class, but just … painting. As a way of life. I love it.

      I love your idea of complementary BG. I am reading a book on painting classic portraiture – Portrait Painting Atelier: Old Master Techniques and Contemporary Applications by Suzanne Brooker. She has a large portion devoted to BG, a lot of great ideas. I have already started my next portrait and am thinking of complementary BG colors for it. I did Russ in the same manner as Eric to reinforce what I learned. But it is time to try something new. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, I really appreciate it.

  6. asmalltowndad March 28, 2011

    Amazing! I just can’t get enough of your portraits. Absolutely amazing!

  7. Ras Alonso March 30, 2011

    Great water color painting I like it a lot.

  8. lesliepaints April 17, 2011

    I keep popping by to see what you have been up to, Alex. I know you are working on something. Today I just scrolled through the last four portraits and what a beautiful line-up of paintings these are. Fit for display, me-thinks. Paint on! You are awesome.

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