Friday, March 10, 2006

Portraits and egos

Self portraits are simple compared to creating a portrait of someone else. Especially someone who is paying you money for it. And even more fraught if the person doesn't agree with the reality of themselves as portrayed. This is likely why I prefer to stick with animals. A whisker here, a smudge of fur there and the world doesn't come to an end. With a person, the likeness can be lost in the careless stroke of a pencil.

Even in a perfectly executed portrait there will be people that you can't please because they have a self image that doesn't match what you see and what they refuse to see.

An artist friend years ago, Roger, made his living form portraits. He used to say that the worst portraits to paint were middle aged women who thought they were still 21 and young girls who's mothers thought they were beautiful when they were not. Roger was a true eccentric and a brilliant artist. He drew exact replicas of what he saw in front of him and likenesses could not be faulted, but from time to time, one of the middle aged women or mothers of a not so sweet adolescent would beg to differ and ask him to change the image to what they wanted to see.

Roger would do it but with such reluctance and bad temper that the individuals would never dare ask again for changes. It was a joy to see.

I am currently drawing a portrait of my daughter. The initial stages are here and will be posted as they are completed. This photo was taken in early morning light with a digital camera and seems to have turned everything blue for some reason.


franco said...

Nice Blog :)

Jeanette Jobson said...

Thanks for commenting Franco.