Democratizing Portrait Painting: Artist Rose Frantzen

October 3, 2010

See the post for links to this artist’s wonderful work.

Carolyn (I don't have her full name) wrote in a comment to Friday's post about Rose Frantzen's portrait painting project. Since people often don't get to the comments I wanted to be sure you got to see this video.

Frantzen sat in a store front and painted a portrait (12 x 12 inches, oil) from life, of anyone who came in.

She painted the first 70 portraits at a rate of two a day taking about four hours each. People posing started telling her about their lives.

Her work is exquisite. Her comments about the process and progress, costs, her painting surface, how she chose the surface and prepped it, the change in working with non-professional models, how people were willing to try something new, how she found out more about life…it's all really inspiring.

Spend the 57 minutes and watch this video—see what happens when you let things go out of control and how art can make a difference in the world.

If the embedded video doesn't show up see Artist Rose Frantzen at National Portrait Gallery on YouTube.

    • Chris F
    • October 3, 2010

    This is totally amazing!

  1. Reply

    Chris, it is amazing isn’t it! After I wrote the post I went to Frantzen’s website

    They have published a book with the paintings, including a record of one painting each 7 minutes. I think I’m going to have to have that book! I just love her work.

  2. Reply

    Chris, I forgot to mention, you can also go to her brother’s site and hear his music and the interviews of some of the residents

  3. Reply

    Wow! Thanks for posting. I have been thinking about my art goals for the future. This has really got me thinking about my art in a community sense.

    So Inspiring!

  4. Reply

    Patti, I agree, I’m thinking about my art projects in a new light!

    • Carolyn
    • October 3, 2010

    Thanks for highlighting Rose’s work, Roz! I love her faces, and can’t get enough of them. It amazes me that she can accomplish so much in one sitting with non professional models. I haven’t done faces, much, but her work makes me want to improve on that. I want to go back and listen to her presentation again. Thanks for the heads up about her brother’s site as well.

  5. Reply

    JINX! I just found and posted this to my blog, earlier today. What a fascinating explanation of her creative process, from forming the idea to funding it to the technical obstacles she had to overcome and the transcendent experiences she had in the process. Well worth watching the entire thing.

  6. Reply

    Carolyn, I love how Rose talks about how she followed the kids around in order to capture them!! She’s a fantastic portrait artist!

  7. Reply

    Wait Bill, Does Jinx mean you get to pinch me? Avoid the left arm, they insisted I have a flu shot on Friday and it still hurts! We used to do a “you owe me a Coke” thing when I was young and people said things at the same time.

    I wouldn’t have found it at all if Carolyn hadn’t mentioned it in a comment to my blog the other day. Well I would have found it on your blog. I’m glad about that. I hope everyone looks at her work.

    I agree the video is worth watching in its entirety. I actually plan to watch it again this week.

    Have a great week Bill!

  8. Reply

    THANK YOU so much for posting this! I’ve already ordered the book from what I think is her parents’ gallery’s website: (cheaper shipping than the Smithsonian’s bookstore and all the $ goes to the artist). I loved watching and listening to her. So inspiring!

  9. Reply

    Jana, glad you enjoyed the video. I just had to have the book too. Her work is so amazing.

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