Sunday, April 13, 2008

The artist's father - a portrait

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Laurence Binyon

I have drawn or painted portraits of most people in my immediate family with the exception of my father. Well that's not entirely true. I did start a painting of him just before he died in 1990, but it was never complete and I haven't revisited that portrait since.

I did find a photo of him awhile ago and thought I'd have another try but in pencil this time. The photo was taken when he was in his 60s, I'm not sure the exact age. He was a bit timeless and had the Peter Pan gene, having barely any grey hair at all when he died at age 70. The photo was taken of him in his Korean War Veteran's distinctive blue jacket wearing his medals that he was so proud of.
I completed the line drawing this morning then made a start on the shading later today. My week is fairly full with classes and lectures and meetings most evenings, but I'll find time to add to the portrait when I can.

There is something a little unnerving about the details of a portrait starting to appear out of the paper. It is especially more so if it is someone you know or someone who has died. There is a sense of bringing a form of life back into the image again.


"JeanneG" said...

You look like your dad.

Marsha Robinett said...

Your story is touching...My father passed away some years ago and I have yet to be able to a portrait of him. Perhaps I'll try again. I'm anxious to see this progress.

Jeanette said...

Yes, people say that Jeanne.

The portrait is keeping me at the drawing table a lot, It also feels a bit odd too as his features unfold under the tip of my pencil.

Teresa Mallen said...

I think your use of the word 'unnerving' is most appropriate. I find that when I work on a still life or a flower blossom, I am excited when the image starts to 'come to life'. It is different with a portrait. It is a different feeling and I think 'unnerving' captures the experience well.

From the line drawing it looks like you are fortunate to have a very good photo to work from. His expression is wonderful. You are off to a great start...thanks for sharing this with us.

Jeanette said...

Thanks Teresa. Yes, this was a professional photo that I have to work from, about 5 x 7. I scanned it so am able to zoom in to get detail.

As I work on this, it feels a bit odd, I can't pinpoint it exactly. Maybe just recreating the past does that.