With Mother’s Day on my mind, I started to think about examples of artists choosing loved ones as subjects. I pulled out these paintings I did of each of my children when each was at the age of 3 or 4. This work was influenced by Katz and Hockney. I am interested in the subject matter not strictly as a portrait but as shapes, patterns and textures. The eyes are especially important to me. Catherine Richards, 2002, oil on canvas, 24 x 24 in., each.

Alex Katz, Ted Berrigan, 1967, oil on linen, 121.9 cm x 121.9 cm, courtesy PaceWildenstein. Portraits have been the mainstay of Katz’s paintings since the late 1950’s.  His work is characterized by flatly painted, dramatically cropped, oversize heads that recall movies, advertising and billboards. Image of Katz at work, courtesy of the Smithsonian.

Mum, 1988–89, oil on canvas, 16 1/2 x 10 1/2 in., Courtesy of the artist. Mum depicts one of Hockney’s favorite subjects. His warm relationship with both of his loving and supportive parents is evident in the many portraits he made of them. Image of Hockney, courtesy King Collection/Retna LTD