Portrait painting can be a special event. It often involves an in-depth exploration of a unique living being as one's contemporary. When we say the artist has successfully 'captured' the subject, we can safely conclude that at least an instant recognition has been accomplished. Over time we are inevitably going to discover the portrait is offering greater insight, for emotions and subtleties have been subliminally encapsulated into the painting more than meets the eye.
The entire face, attitude and posture of the moment would serve as armature or skeleton for all the accumulative elements as the artist undergoes his performance. This is often with hopes that the composure of essential dynamic forces culminating within the moment does succeed in being transmuted into his communication medium, his canvas. This is what gives the painting its lasting 'vibe' or 'wavelength'. The obvious features are skillfully noted as are the fleeting expressions of the pulsating face. The enormosity of this act is tantamount to an astronomer attempting to chart the entire heavens. Artists either have the talent for this ability or perhaps have labored lifetimes for it. In either case, we should realize that an incredible amount of concentration and power has taken place more than commonplace enough to inspire awe in all of us.
The portrait, once completed, be it a 30 second sketch or a large commission, can take on a talismanic quality for a sufficiently receptive audience, as if life has been breathed into it, thus giving it its 'immortality'. Take the legendary 'Mona Lisa' as an example, along with the surviving intention of the artist pushing at the corners of the smile. When would the intention ever come to rest? It is simply not forgotten. That is to say it has been congealed as energy eternal as it is profoundly embedded into the pigment of the timeless canvas of the collective consciousness.
When a creation would leave us spellbound like this beyond words and time, we conveniently pin it down into one word: it must be ART!