This past weekend, I enjoyed some VIP visitors from New Orleans, my old stomping grounds back in the mid 1990s. I had done a number of judicial portraits during my residence there but had fallen off the radar, due to my lack of proximity and the passage of time. I’m happy to report Judge Steib has taken a wonderful step to putting me back on the map there. He and his loving wife Tish came all the way to Charleston to put the final touches on his portrait. He had sought me out after seeing my work in other courthouses and other public collections in and around New Orleans.

Judge Ray poses for finishing touches.

To say this portrait was a pleasure to create, would be a gross understatement. Ray and Tish were the ideal clients to work with. And, getting to know them during our whirlwind tour of Charleston was just plain fun. After our delightful painting session we met up for dinner at 39 Rue de Jean. Later I took them to Uncork Charleston, where my non-commission work is on exhibition. A fantastic day, by any measure.

The portrait itself came about after a months long collaboration, where together we came up with elements and a pose that would express Judge Steib’s legacy and world view. My goal is to tell a story in my portraits. The main element, besides the man himself, are the scales of justice, sitting on his judicial desk, which are a symbol of the balance and compassion Judge Steib brings to the bench. His warm expression reinforces that narrative. The elements in the background help to create a context, framing him and focusing the viewer’s attention on Judge Steib’s piercing brown eyes. The portrait will soon hang in the 24th Judicial District Court in Metarie, LA.

Judge Ray Steib
Oil Portrait of Judge Ray Steib

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