At the end of last year I was commissioned by a friend to do a very special and memorable portrait. Tristan Hunter was a young man who passed unexpectedly, and sadly I probably would have met him the following week, as he was packing for a trip to San Francisco to visit my close friends at that time. Though I did not get the chance to know him personally, it was clear he touched many lives. After looking through tons of photos of him, reading stories and comments on facebook, I felt connected enough to capture the thoughtful, down-to-earth, generous friend he was to many.
This was a very intimidating commission for me as I felt a great weight and responsibility to do the best possible job. After much searching, I found the perfect photo reference; the back lighting felt magical, and his downward gaze and warm smile was a nice reminder that he is still a part of everyones' lives.
As with every project, there were challenges throughout. Trying to to recreate the ambient/diffuse environment lighting was particularly difficult since I am used to working with references of a bit more contrast. Additionally, in the beginning I was also limited to incredibly low-res photos, so many thanks to everyone who helped obtain the higher-res references. Initial trials aside, I am really happy with how the painting turned out, and could not have been more honored that I was chosen as the one to work on it.
Photo credit: David Craver @ Courtney Craver Photography