These portraits are a culmination of the process of the way I have made art for many years. They began with my children, but no matter the subject matter, I traditionally began with a photograph which I then printed. I then projected the basic form which I drew into. So for example there is my actual self, I (or my wife) then photograph myself, then projected myself, then draw into myself, then painted into myself, so in essence 4 levels away from the reality of myself. So I asked myself why all of the steps? So I began to "illuminate" or paint over photographic images on drawing paper. I looked at the work of Robert and Shanna Parkeharrison and Maggie Taylor and began to believe that the original reference photograph could be part of the final painting. Soon after the initial idea my wife Petra envisioned patterned backgrounds behind the figures, so then began our collaborations. Petra sometimes had plans for designs for certain images, and sometimes I would just paint and she would make backgrounds later.