Painting people is all about creating a story. No different from a novel or a short story, the artist starts with a blank canvas and then attempts to create a story. The subjects are not necessarily real but they may be based on a someone known to the artist but the story itself is always real. The artist has something to say and the work of art has to convey the message. The the character and the emotions of the subjects (people), the body positions and attitudes coupled with the background props or the landscape all have play a vital part in the story.
The main difference between a novel and a work of art is that the person reading the ‘story’ has more opportunity to interpret the story according to their own perception of the art and their own reality. The artist is more of a guide than a reader; more of a philosopher than a teacher.
Painting people as part of a story is different from painting a portrait in that the person or people in the painting do not need to be real and they do not need to be known, only their character and their emotions need to be real.