From my earliest years, I've drawn and painted portraits; the thrust of a chin, a look in the eye, the colors and contrasts of skin and hair, the overall attitude. People's faces have always captivated me.
A professor once observed that I had an innate gift for likeness. Over the years I've learned that mere likeness is only the beginning, a portrait must also 'feel like' the person, as well as reveal something of the inner life of the sitter.
What one is searching for is a deeper insight into the personality -- what the sitters reveal unconsciously about themselves. In a successful portrait, a stranger will walk away knowing a great deal more about the person portrayed than simply their appearance.