Erik Hougen
A watercolor portrait of an older white man with gray hair and beard, gazing sternly at the viewer.

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John H.
Collection of the artist

This watercolor portrait is based on a video still of my father captured on Christmas. My watercolors are composed from the same CMYK color separation layers that a digital printer uses. I use these separations to “manually print” each channel using very transparent washes of color. From my father: “Erik’s portrait of me was a surprise. As a father, I was amazed and proud of how skilled he has become. The bigger surprise was the power of a well-done portrait, which is different than the face I see in the mirror. I have had a good life, blessed with a wonderful marriage, and great kids. But there has been pain as well, including the deaths of two younger brothers. It is my way to hide the hurt and focus on good things. This portrait of me shows how things can’t be hidden, and life is written on your face.”