Saturday, November 12, 2011

more of 'why...'

Starting with 'why' is sometimes a roundabout trip. For instance, 'why' did I spend all of yesterday hunched over my drafting table alternately squinting at the surface of my paper and a few scattered reference photographs - agonizingly balancing color and value and delineating wisps of hair and tiny facial features? Well, so I can eat next month, of course! But also because I said yes to a customer who's kept in touch with me for years after she had a portrait done of her son at three years old, she now has two other children and wanted another portrait. And also because regardless of how much time it takes to get that darker stroke in exactly the right place to make that half smile look just like the way he smiles, I can do it: I can get the likeness. AND getting it is very satisfying. I have only maybe two more hours of work on that triple portrait to have it completely finished - just the final tweaking of darks in the hair, and one more well placed stroke to get the third figure's mouth just right, finalizing the foreground texture in the sand and the figures' reflections/shadows. Then, even though I still have another commission to start, I'm taking a break and painting what I want for a week. 

A portrait of my daughter - we are of the landscape, not just in it.
Why the blond wisps in the wind? There's something so fragile about it. AND it happens to everyone (having the wind pulling on your hair) and yet who stops to notice the beauty of that event? (which can be perceived as an annoyance - everyone reacts by tugging that wayward strand back behind your ear). The way the wind reacts with wisps of hair, the way the colors of the surroundings filter through the strands... it's worthy of being rendered. (i.e. = it's beautiful.) It also illustrates the concept that we are IN the landscape - the wind reaching and pulling the hair away from the body physically connects us to it. We are not a solid body that just moves through the air, we are of the air. It fills us, we share ourselves with it... it's part of us, we are part of it, and my visual representation of that is the wisps of hair being tugged and tossed by the wind.

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