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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.

2 comments:

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Beautiful and elegant is an appropriate description.

johanna spinks said...

Thank you Rhonda. Appreciate your comment