Thursday, April 13, 2017
This is Paul. Tall Paul because he's close to 7' tall. I did his portrait for the Portrait Project 250 series and he was #115 if you want to look him up.
I drove out to his house in Union on a cold February day to do this portrait. When I arrived, I met a friend of his and we all sat down in the living room near the wood stove, had a bowl of delicious chili and hot tea, and caught up on each other's lives.
Paul is a big basketball fan so there was a college basketball game going on while I was drawing him. The TV was to my right so he could watch the game while I drew his portrait. That's a convenient setup for doing portraits of people who watch sports on TV. The blue outline came later - sort of an afterthought.
This is Matt. His father was the first architect I worked with when I moved to Maine 17 years ago. I worked with his father for about a year and it was during that year that I met Matt. He had just gotten married and was starting a family and was busy building a house near his father's property.
I drove out to his house on a snowy day in February to do his portrait. I've been experimenting with filming the portraits so I set up a camera on Matt and another GoPro camera over my portrait to record a time-lapse video of the portrait. I don't usually like to draw and paint teeth so I usually suggest that people keep their mouths closed. Also, it's hard to maintain a smile over the course of the portrait which can last a couple of hours. But Matt was up for it so I agreed to step out of my comfort zone and paint him with a smile - which, I think, actually suits his portrait much better.
I struggled with it the entire time I was there and was so unhappy with it that I wouldn't show it to him. I told him I would figure out the problem, fix it, and he would see it when it was posted. Back in the studio, I figured it out. Of course, it was the smile and the teeth but it was also the amount of chin I had drawn below the upper lip. With the mouth open, the chin and jaw are much longer than I am used to drawing and I was not believing (drawing) what I was seeing. I learn something new in EVERY portrait.
The writing around Matt's head relates to a conversation we had while I was drawing him. And ironically, it contains the solution to the very problem I was struggling with during the portrait. I transcribed it from the video and it's about Matt's own effort at drawing portraits back in college where he tried to do portraits using a minimal number of lines to capture a person's likeness. I've started incorporating this exercise into my portrait sketches as well - so thanks for the idea Matt!!
12x16 pencil, ink, watercolor and acrylic in my huge Moleskine sketchbook. Text added digitally.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
This is Jessica. Tall, athletic, kind and beautiful. I met her on a bike ride across Maine years ago. She's an artist - her passion for painting and experiencing adventure is summed up in a quote of hers I found on her website:
"I paint out of love — love for the world and for the human capacity to know the world through movement, recreation, and adventure. Kinesthetic intelligence and imagination are very important to me; so is the sensation of wonder. That a small movement of paint can capture a large movement of body through water, and that we can know the world’s beauty through both these actions, is astounding. It’s time we start picturing ourselves in the landscape more."
You can see her paintings and learn more about her here - http://www.jessicaleeives.com/
12x16 watercolor and pencil in my huge Moleskine sketchbook.