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  • In December of 2012, the National Portrait Gallery

  • unveiled this monumental image of general Colin Powell, former Secretary of State.

  • The artist, Ronald Sherr, was also responsible for one of the National Portrait Gallery's images of President George H.W Bush.

  • Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with Ronald Sherr.

  • We're using the term "monumental" just because it's a large work.

  • - It is. - Are we okay with that? are you happy with that?

  • -Yeah, sure. I think of him as a man who is bigger than life and as I was saying earlier,

  • that really did have an effect on me when I came in and I saw that painting

  • of LL Cool J by Kehinde Wiley. A very dramatic picture

  • I was very impressed by it but the overall scale of it

  • is what made me think you know truthfully that someone coming to the gallery

  • for the first time could look at that and just assume,

  • if he knew nothing about American history that he had to have been

  • the most important person that had ever lived so right then and there, I decided

  • a head and shoulders? no way you know a three-quarter? no way

  • and very kindly, the National Portrait Gallery gave me a

  • license to do what I felt was best

  • so I discussed that with General Powell early on and he was okay,

  • the only thing he insisted upon is that it looked like him, he wanted it to look like him

  • and then he did express some interest in how I was gonna deal with the fact

  • that he had aged since the time he was in the military chairman of the Joint Chiefs

  • and you know because he said that his hair was nearly whitish now

  • in fact, he made a a comment that was very funny that it is much straighter than it used to be

  • and he picked up a lock of it and it is much straighter than it used to be

  • but he asked how I was going to do it and I said, I don't know, I'll have to find a middle ground

  • but you know I didn't know that until I was into the painting

  • I didn't want to paint him you know as he was back then

  • I knew that I could do certain things to, for instance, make up for things like whiter hair .

  • For instance, if I take someone with very light gray hair

  • and I pose them against a dark background, they're going to look like they have really white hair.

  • If I pose them against a much lighter background, it brings out the darkness

  • so you know, the amount of shadow on that side of his head

  • is an important factor in maybe

  • giving that slightly younger look to him because it darkens the hair.

  • - From start to finish, how much time did the whole process take?

  • - I was talking earlier about the changes that I made to the picture but with those changes,

  • nearly, I remember talking to Brandon that I was at my limit for the 18-month contract

  • literally the whole time and it was because of those endless changes to the picture.

  • -Are you happy with it?

  • -The portrait? - Yes Sir.

  • - I am because as I was saying earlier, the the whole thing for me is

  • when I do a portrait, I really try to create

  • a feel of the person and although I try that

  • on all of them, it doesn't always

  • go my way and I really feel like he's there in the portrait, you know.

  • I feel like that's the way he stands, I feel like that's the way he kind of looks at you

  • and hopefully other people will feel that. I think that's what he sensed and his family sensed

  • I got some of the nicest comments from his family, I mean they're wonderful people

  • but they were just beside themselves

  • and what more could I ask?

  • Like I say, if I feel it in the painting,

  • other people often feel that as well but I'm not the judge

  • you know I mean everyone else from now on, it's up to them.

  • -Thanks a lot.

  • You're welcome, my pleasure thank you.

In December of 2012, the National Portrait Gallery

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A2 portrait gallery powell ronald hair painting

Artist Ronald Sherr on his portrait of Colin Powell

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    田宇紳 posted on 2016/07/14
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