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Video: How Richard Haynes creates a portrait

Aug 14, 2020

Richard Haynes Jr., a former artist-in-residence at Historic New England’s Governor John Langdon House in Portsmouth, N.H., discusses his artistic process while creating his portrait of Cyrus Bruce.

Richard Haynes's Cyrus Bruce
Richard Haynes’s Cyrus Bruce

The Creative Process

Haynes was the artist-in-residence at Langdon House during the summer of 2018 when he created a portrait of Cyrus Bruce. Bruce, a formerly enslaved black man, began working for Governor Langdon in 1783, where he was admired for his “gentlemanly appearance.”

In this video, Harris discusses the research he does when exploring his subject. For the Cyrus Bruce portrait, this included a visit to Historic New England’s Haverhill (Mass.) Regional Office to look at period textiles and see what colors and costumes would have been available in the late 1700s. Listen as Haynes’ describes his creative process using photography, line drawings, and artist’s studies as his develops the final design.

Where you can see the portrait

You can see this bold and colorful portrait now as part of Historic New England’s online preview for the exhibition Artful Stories, or later this October when the exhibition also opens to the public at the Eustis Estate in Milton, Mass.

About the artist

Artist Richard Haynes
Artist Richard Haynes photographed by Nicolas Hyacinthe

Richard Haynes is a painter, photographer, lecturer, and professor based in Portsmouth, N.H. He is the former Associate Director of Admissions for Diversity at the University of New Hampshire. In the Fall 2018 issue of Historic New England magazine, Haynes states that he hopes to use his work to keep black culture vibrant and alive. He strongly believes that the only way to invigorate culture is to create culture. “Artists are culture keepers and culture makers,” he said, recalling the prehistoric artists who documented their experiences on cave walls. “An artist has to seek deep beneath the surface to find the importance of art,” he said. “That’s what art is to me.…That’s how you change the world.”