Best Portraits That Are Also Art (2003)

Paul McKay

The piercing blue eyes of executive assistant P.J. Vitruk stare from a page of Paul McKay's sample book. The crimson of the regal chair in which she poses seems to infuse her silver hair, as one elegant index finger rests lightly on the rim of the object she holds, the focus of the portrait: her martini glass. You want to have a drink with this woman. "I don't paint photographs," says longtime Dallas artist McKay. "I try to bring the subject's personality to life by letting the colors collide and bounce off each other." He thumbs through the book of faces, famous and otherwise, and you begin to see what he means. One of the most striking of the images is a self-portrait done almost in pointillist style. Rendered and surrounded by surprising color choices, the amazingly youthful, nearly unlined face of the 73-year-old artist invites you to look beneath the surface at the creative mischief within his heart. Many portrait subjects seek to be flattered by the removal of pounds or years. McKay flatters through a revelation of the soul. Prices start at $3,500.


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