Acquiring a personal painting is a milestone event, a rare one in today’s Instagram world. A painted portrait is both more time consuming to accomplish and more expensive to acquire but in addition to being far more permanent, it has the ability to capture so much more than a momentary look. It can bring personality to life along with important details that are unique to one person at a specific place and time.
The essence here is a passion for music and books, comfortable and contented throughout
Capturing the Essence
During winter into spring, I’ve been working with two young people. Here is one of them just beyond childhood having emerged as a young woman. Her portrait began in casual conversation as we eased into the idea for a very special gift; this is always the most interesting part of my painting process. At these early stages it’s hard to know whether it will ever come together, whether my skills are sufficient to capture not just what a person looks like but to capture their essence. A camera can do that much faster and cheaper but I’m a painter first and foremost. There was no scene exactly as you see it here but it captures a deeper truth.
As weeks became months I studied dozens of photos along with handwritten notes of our conversations recalling how she described herself and what details were important. When the client is communicative my work is always easier! She was direct and had opinions about what she liked as well as freely sharing what she didn’t like. I learned a lot–about her passion for music and books, and that at her core she is comfortable and contented through and through. She revealed herself indirectly as thoughtful and intelligent, introspective, determined, and hardworking. There’s no doubt she has special things ahead in life, a jewel of a person who made a good process great.
I’ve since learned that she had a big smile when she opened the package. Her mother says it captures her personality and her passions. My hope is that it may become a focal point for memory, especially for how much she is loved and admired and that she’ll treasure that feeling always.
In the next two weeks I hope to show you something different—photographic and personal—of a young man graduating high school and moving into his own version of the future.