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When is a painting a portrait?  Often times, there is little distinction other than intent.  If I sit someone down to make a portrait, the intent is to represent 'that' person.  As a painting, that same person is merely subject matter, fodder, for a larger idea.  I am not interested in "formal"  nor "academic" portraiture.   I much prefer interpretation, distortion, inventiveness, as I try to 'bring out' the character of the inner person.

30" x 24" - oil

16" x 12" - oil

30" x 18" - oil

12" x 9" - oil

16" x 16" - oil

16" x 16" - oil

Doing a formal portrait would not interest me, nor would I accept a commission where that was the expectation. When I’ve been asked to do a portrait, I would ask…"Do you want a portrait, or a likeness of you as a McInnis painting?”

And I explain the difference. Generally the latter was accepted. I would work no other way.


Thus it was when I painted Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington in Edmonton with his tie askew, right through to the Chief Justice with her hands on her robe of office while in Southern Alberta. I painted the portraits of many artist friends over the years and there is the 60 portrait, 13 metre long "Demise of Seventeenth Avenue" (Calgary) of 1982 now in the Glenbow Museum. In Toronto, I painted 13 portraits in one painting based on Leonardo’s Last Supper entitled “The Last Round” of my drinking buddies at the Young Station Tavern.


Other portraits include Joe Plaskett, James A. Coutts, Illingworth (Buck) Kerr, Joane Cardinal Schubert, Maureen McTeer, Margaret Atwood, Barker Fairley, to name a few.

PORTRAITS