Why paint a portrait?

The fast changing landscape of surveillance and the globalisation of digital imagery calls for the counterpoint of intense, ‘local’ imagery contained within a painting. The possibilities of allegory and complex meaning are distinct: the symbolic realm can come to the fore. The conveying of character in a painted portrait is specific and dynamic. There is a process described through paint – an intensity to the relationship between artist and sitter – which produces a different character from the medium of photography. And it is this intensity, often freed from the conventions of previous periods which, gives a great portrait its authority. The painted portrait endures Sandy Nairne