Monday, April 3, 2017

Portrait Commission

Phebe’s Fabulous Question for today: After you paint someone do you feel like you know them? If you didn't know them before?

This topic has actually been on my mind recently. Yes, I do, though when I paint someone in person, there are all kinds of little interactions that aren’t really about painting. For example, last week I painted two sweet kids, a brother and sister, who were precocious, and kind to each other, and funny, yet took holding still for a portrait seriously. The little boy, even at a young age, was so self-aware—he knew he needed to move around a lot before sitting for his portrait. And he thought he might have a hard time meeting my gaze as I studied his face, but he was fine. (I’ll post those soon.) So there are all kinds of things that allow me to get to know someone a little bit, even without studying their face hard for an intense half hour. But when I paint someone from a photo? I do feel like I begin to know them, just the tiniest bit. Which made painting this beautiful young man, who passed away a few years ago, a little bit of an emotional experience, as I’ll never have the chance to meet him. But I just know that he was sweet, and I suspect gentle, and definitely cool.

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