When I was learning how to draw (and I still am, of course, as we never really stop), I remember thinking “if I can just get this drawing to look like the person, it will be a success”. But, once I satisfied that desire, the pleasure I get when completing a portrait never waned. I’ve been told I’m particularly good at portraits. I specifically remember a time during an art show when I was in the Ryman Program for young artists when Susan Bay Nimoy (Leonard’s wife) came up to me to tell me she’d keep her eye on me after seeing a watercolor portrait I made in class; she said it was the only one that actually looked like the specific model.
That small compliment certainly buoyed my confidence for a while, even if it completely faltered for a long while in college. I don’t think I’ve ever really doubted my technique, but I’ve always doubted my purpose. I put enormous pressure on myself to tackle huge questions and concepts. By the time I was 16 I would often bite off more than I could chew, I stopped enjoying painting and drawing and art just for the simple pleasure and act of creating something from scratch, and having control over pigment. I completely ignored design, which, in hindsight was totally and completely mislead seeing as a have a strong affinity for it. I eschewed the idea of a painting just being something to look pretty on a wall, and now I think, what’s wrong with that!? Sure, art can have a very significant impact on our world, but ultimately it does hang on a wall. And so, now almost 7 years after college, now that I have no one to answer to but myself–no boss, no professor, no room full of peers, no critics–I feel a certain freedom to just draw and paint whatever aesthetic I want to, with no other purpose than to capture a moment, to explore a medium, to create a mood. I’m only annoyed at myself for being so contrived in college, although A for effort, I guess. I guess it’s similar to how I never read any “fluff” books around then either. I was too busy trying to be serious all the time. My aunt told me it wasn’t good for someone my age, lol. And there is some critically acclaimed fluff. I think all of this just taught me the hard lesson of subtlety.
So, I’ve been feeling myself drawn (ha!) to portraiture again. And not as something to look at, but as a process, hopefully with an ending some people (usually the subject of the drawing) will enjoy, but that’s not necessary. Although, to be fair, I completed the below drawings of my nephews and niece as Christmas presents, and the purpose was certainly for their parents to enjoy the finished product. :) I’m also doing most work in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop; seeing as I never took any computer design courses in college, and almost all of my professional work has been done using these programs, I’ve been itching to make portraits digitally since I taught myself how to use them! Also, and this is actually the critical point, it is just much easier to make things in the computer with 9 month old Laelia roaming about; no paint to sit and dry out, no canvases to be ruined or paper to get ripped [everything is set up on my dining room (a.k.a. sewing a.k.a craft a.k.a drafting) table just in case the I get the chance to]. I’m hoping to do some commissioned work, selling my services on Etsy.