Painting from life

IMG_20150202_153702In Tallahassee, I have had a great opportunity. I am able to practice portraiture using a live model every Monday. This week our model was Tim. At first glance, I figured this would be easy, he had an average sort of face, so I settled in and started sketching. I always sketch the face on drawing paper before I touch my watercolor paper, because I want to get to know this face, the shapes, the lines, the angles and the shadows. I’d rather make my mistakes on cheap drawing paper than on the watercolor paper, which is costly. So by the time I am ready to actually paint, I’ve drawn the face three times.
As I settled into painting Tim, I was extremely moved by the expression of his face. How do other artists do this? How do you gaze into someone’s soul and not feel their pain? I strived to do this portrait justice, but what I could not do was bring light into his eyes. I could only wonder, was he beaten as a child? Did he lose the ones he loved? Or was it just a series of hard knocks that took hope away from him?

One response to “Painting from life”

  1. He looks mildly angry or annoyed with something/someone. He’s not a happy camper in any event – and that comes across very readily!

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