Portraiture is a classic genre that has stood the test of time. From the huge, regal canvases of royalty and aristocrats that graced the walls of Europe’s largest castles and country homes, to the gilded paintings of religious figures in churches across the globe, important people have always been a popular subject to paint. In outsider art and contemporary art, portraits may not be of the seated, face forward variety. The subject may not be known or even easy to identify. This is what I like about today’s portraiture. The definition and execution of contemporary portraits have changed. I think we all agree that we don’t have to know the subject in order to hang a portrait on our walls. Think beyond the person and see if you can fall in love with a portrait based on its color, mood, expression or brush stroke alone. Here are some ideas to get you started!