The creative process should never be easy. Comfortable, yes. Easy, never.
Most who are anxious to try portraiture should follow their initial instincts. . . take two aspirin and forget it.
A good portrait results in the meeting of two souls – that of the subject and that of the viewer. And, once the painter has introduced the two, he/she should step back and intrude no more.
I recently received an email from an excessively angry person . . . I did not know her or had ever met her. . . She wasn’t angry at anyone in particular. She was just angry and in need of a scapegoat upon which she could lay her wrath.
How wonderful it would have been to paint that aggressive face, to just get to know the deep-down-inside menace controlling the muscle spasms of her venomous tongue, to paint the weight of the sneering furrowed brow. Despite not having a webcam, I knew there were those eyes – eyes with a carefully honed piercing stare, whose only goal was to rip from me the smile I had worked on all day.
The challenge in portraiture is not so much the rendering of the petrified face but rather the capture of tone and mood and history – the present and future. . . The focus in portraiture is on the ferreting out of every powerful emotion which lies hidden and pulsing and ready to spring forth - either to terrorize or gently caress.
In essence, what is more important than a smile or frown in a face is the secret fears or hates or love behind them. And that makes a portrait a portrait. . .
A painter of people prefers to pass unnoticed; to be left alone to notice.