Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Portrait Flattery? To Be or Not To Be?

Beautiful Fiona
One life sitting
18x 24"

The Starts
A Sample of This Month's Sitters at My Studio
All painted from life
18 x 24 on Board

I am often asked how much do you flatter a sitter? How far will you go? I have been painted a few times myself from life by other wonderful artists which was a great lesson  to me in all of this.

Let go of the ego?

But I also don't want to hang jowls on my own personal wall space and look at them if you know what I mean. Unless it's a Rembrandt.

I say I want to paint my sitter to look how they feel on their best day, when their hair and features are in tidy place, they have had a good night's rest without a salty dinner, and then sit them under the best lighting and competent brush.

I often joke I'll go as far as 10 pounds and 10 years off. But that is really in jest. 

Fiona is a good example. A former dancer from the U.K., she came to sit for my teaching class recently. There was such an elegance in her carriage and her amazing white hair  that I had to get that down with my brush and it was ever so interesting to me.

One or two of the students 'over-aged' the middle age factor in their sketches. The competent brush is important. Hanging on hard to drawing lines by using the lines you see on the face for a guide is not a good idea.

We all age. It's a fact of each life but I can always find something in a face that's interesting to paint, young or old. 

One of the students asked:"Are you going to leave it there?", meaning I had perhaps over-flattered. I answered most certainly yes.  And then went into a little side-talk about elegance. The BIG E.

 I strive for elegance through the ages, young or old, male or female. Whether that face is lined or not. And that is what I saw in the lovely Fiona. A lady in her mid years aging very gracefully with a visage as interesting, if not more so,  than anyone in their 20's.

I have learned so  much from past  master portraitist Philip de Laszlo about this elegance thing. Thank you Mr. L. Check his work out.


Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Beautiful and elegant is an appropriate description.

johanna spinks said...

Thank you Rhonda. Appreciate your comment