Painting Raimond Gaita

A typical portrait of this scale would take a maximum of 4 hrs and one session. The Gaita portrait took 22 hrs over 7 sessions. I waited between 1-2 weeks between sessions to review and reflect on the work.


Gaita 02

Gaita 03


Gaita 04

There was a gap of about 6 weeks over Christmas where I didn’t work on the piece and it got capped twice in the interim. Gaita has written extensively on the state of Israel and the holocaust (Gaza: Morality, Law and Politics; Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception). I had hoped to keep a part of the tag for aesthetic reasons but also to allude to this human sub-current that pervades Gaita’s thinking.

I made very little progress in sessions 4 and 5. The difference between vulnerability and insecurity is less than a fine line in aerosol portraiture; it’s a wisp of shading. A slight breeze can rewrite everything.

At the start of session 6, I finally conceded the tagging was aesthetically incongruent with the work and minimised it. At the end of the session the work felt finished. In session 7 I just cleaned up the edges and quite quickly it came to an end.

Gaita Cover

As I look at the portrait now, I see things that could be refined: the rendering in the neck in the bottom right is course; the top left edges could be brushed in; the paint is thin in the top right. Aesthetically, I like the rough, unpolished texture. I also like the statement of an unfinished portrait; an acknowledgement that the full complexity of a person is beyond a text. That life is an ongoing process of understanding. I think this is especially true of Gaita.