• Kevin Roeckl

Storm portrait in progress 3

THE EYE OF THE STORM: The challenge of Storm’s right eye.

I paused my work in the studio for 3 days to address Storm's unusual right eye with the client Cathy Nearman. Read on to see why, and how Cathy and I worked together to capture that eye.


When I started working on Storm’s portrait,

Cathy pointed out, “She has a tiny bit of blue on her right eye but you may not notice it much in the way she presents her head.”

I hadn’t noticed any blue in her eyes, and my next day’s work was to start on her eyes — a critically important part of any portrait. So I paused to study Storm’s right eye in all the reference photos. I still couldn’t see clearly what “bit of blue” Cathy was referring to. All eyes show a blue-white highlight where light reflects off the eye, that’s what makes an eye look shiny.


So Cathy rounded up some additional photos.

I studied them closely and pulled out 4 pics that showed the right eye clearly, then sent this jpg back to Cathy with this comment: “I’m attaching a jpg that shows 4 pics of Storm’s right eye in the top row, and those same 4 pics are in the bottom row with the blue area circled in bright pink. It looks to me that the blue area is the whole upper half of her eye. And it has kind of a “tail” that drops down a bit lower along the left edge of her iris. I see that exact same thing in all 4 pics. So do I have the circled area accurate? That’s the blue area of her eye you referred to? In all the pics it looks like it is a very light blue-is grey….not a bright “sky blue”. Correct?”

Cathy replied, “You are correct at what you see in Storm’s right eye. You have circled the upper area where the colored area is in her eye correctly. That’s a great way to show me in your markup!”

Reference photos of Storm's right eye

That added two more days

to the time it would take to finish Storm’s portrait, pausing my work in the studio until I understood that small facial feature that makes Storm unique. It’s important to me to make sure every detail of a portrait is accurate, and truly captures the essence their loved one sees in them.


This is a screenshot of my monitor in my studio the day I worked on Storm’s right eye. The three images I have open in front of me for reference give me all the visual information I need. Storm has unusual eyes, with a lot of color and intricacy in them. Not just the grey-blue in her right iris, but the patterns and intricacy of the golds, rusts, and browns in both eyes.

And here’s the finished eye.


















In the studio, working on the eye of the Storm.


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