Portrait of George Guillaume
Acrylic on board, 2005
6 x 6 in. (15.2 x 15.2 cm)
Collection of Kay Alden
George Guillaume is a homeless man seen by many but known to few in our community. He has become a great subject for my work many times over. He possesses a distinctive and timeless look that inspires me to capture and celebrate in a great work of art. George is a humble man, always willing to help me in the studio. He has never accepted anything in return, though he is fond of chocolate chip cookies. He is a religious man, often reciting stories from the Bible and passing along words of wisdom as only he can. George truly feels God provides for him despite his woes and lack of personal possessions. I consider George a genuine individual with passion for life and compassion for those he encounters. To many, George may seem easily dispensible to society. I consider him a close friend. It has been a true pleasure making his acquaintance.
My approach to this particular portrait was size. I rarely work in this small a format. However, I felt that this was critical in my portrait of George. I considered a realistic take on him in order to capture his weathered appearance. I wanted to accentuate his wrinkles and age as well as the wonderful textures within the beard. This piece, at a size of only 6 inches by 6 inches, lures the viewer into an intimate look at a man like George Guillaume, homeless and humble. The blue-gray negative areas around him suggest a cold world, and create a feeling of isolation. The garment which George wears creates senarios from hospital patient to perhaps a holy man. The lighting could be described as a single bare bulb just above, that further enhances feelings of solitude.