Monday, February 4, 2013

Tell me a story

Footprints in the Heart 9x12 pastel, copyright 2013

This fall I decided I would give portrait painting a serious try for the first time.  A year and a half of Life Drawing session had given me some confidence, and I had the perfect photo to work from.  Or so I thought.

As I started working, it became more and more obvious that the photo was not the best choice to use.  It was grainy, the lighting wasn't great, and the angle of the face was unusual.  However, this mimics a lot of situations for commissioned portrait painting, so I just went with it.  Four months later I have come to conclusion that I just don't have the patience to be a commissioned portraitist.

Don't get me wrong, I'm quite happy with how it turned out, but the path to get there was long and frustrating.  It was erased and wiped and reworked and overworked and erased again so many times that I had to walk away and let it sit on several occasions.  I have gained huge admiration for portrait artists, they have the hardest job in the art world in trying to make everyone happy!

Some of you will recognize the subject of this painting, but others will not.  The reason I chose this particular image is for the story it seems to tell.  Like Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring (not that I can even compare myself to Vermeer!) a good portrait should tell a story - or let the viewers make their own stories.

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