Portrait Demo

Portrait demo
18 x 14
Last night I did one of the most intense and wonderful things: a portrait demo in front of a lot of people.

I was invited to demo for the Calgary Community Painters, a group that shows regularly and also focuses on education for their members.  It's a knowledgeable crowd so that adds nicely to the pressure.  My model, a painter herself, is lovely inside and out, and has gorgeous, peachy skin tones. She was a delight to paint.

It seems counter intuitive, but I do some of my best painting under pressure and scrutiny.  In my studio I distract myself with book tapes, phone calls on my headset, mental menu planning, letting the dog in and out and telling him to stop barking (repeatedly and uselessly - both the telling and the barking)... and on and on.  But in a demo, I'm only painting and talking about each mark and thought about that painting.  I talk a lot, but it's all about the paint.  This is being "present" or being in the zone, and it's addictive.

This morning I wondered how I can bring that presence and focus into my studio more often.  Hiring models becomes expensive so I do it as a treat for myself, but I'm looking for something that carries the same intensity.  Or for free models.

I've decided that a time limit will be part of the solution so I'm going to try that today and see what that feels like.  If you've got any suggestions, I'd be pleased to hear them.

Happy painting!