Stop Before You Kill It
posted: June 2, 2008
Here's a portrait I did last week for The Journal, of Jonathan Miller, the British theater and opera director. It's a little looser than some of my portraits, and as I was restraining myself from fussing with it more, I kept hearing an echo in my head of my dad's voice admonishing me, "Stop painting! Just put your brush down -- you're gonna kill it!"

He first said that to me when I was a teenager as I was painting a picture of him hunched over his drawing board doing a Wacky Pack for Topps. I was working in oils and after an hour or two he came over to take a look. He told me to stop, that it looked good and it was going to be overworked if I kept messing with it. To me it looked like it was still a sketch, and I argued with him about it -- but he won out, and he was right. I've heard his voice in my head on nearly every painting I've done since then, telling me to stop before I kill it.
A couple of preliminary sketches...