Painting the Painters

16 x 12"

Winter arrived last week, and it blew in hard and fast.  One day I was in sandals, the next: snow boots. 
As it does every year, the first snow brought traffic to a halt, and that meant that the model did not make it to my class at the Calgary School of Art.  The poor woman spent her evening stuck in traffic.

Luckily, I have an intrepid group, and they opted to paint each other in the act of painting.  This is an extremely tricky thing to do: your subject is always in motion and expressions constantly flicker across his or her face.  It requires a certain "whatever happens, happens" approach to painting, or you're likely to get pretty tense. 

The amazing and wonderful thing was that no one got tense, and everyone got a very good likeness of their subject.  More than that, they all produced very emotional, touching works of the people that they knew.  It was a stimulating and invigorating experiment that I probably wouldn't have tried under ideal circumstances. 

It just goes to show that nothing is predictable in painting, and you should always just give an idea a try, even if it seems outrageous; perhaps especially if it seems outrageous.


Anonymous said…
Wonderful portraits of real people. Whould it be possible to paint so realistic pictures from photos?

Inger in Norway
Hi Inger,
It's a real challenge to get this much life into a portrait from a photo. I think that's because a photo has too much information.

When we paint from life, our eyes naturally edit. If a face has a few lines, we are able to see them as minor compared to the eyes and other features.

If we look at a photo, we tend to paint the lines in exactly where the photo shows them and they become too important in the portrait. This misses the spirit of the person completely.
SKIZO said…
Tank you for sharing
Thanks for checking out my blog!
Dean H. said…
Great to see all the various takes on the portraits. Looks like time very well spent.
Hi Dean!
It was a great time!
This group of painters is so open minded, and they paint freely fearlessly. What a wonderful way to work!