Monday, May 1, 2017

Two new expressive portraits and thoughts about painting them

 My husband has been a great model.  I call this one, "The Jokester".  That was the pose I asked him to take.  However, the image also kind of captures his personality.  He has a good sense of humor and he's always fooling with people, teasing in a way that makes them laugh.  People usually seem to remember him, even if they've met only briefly.
This is my husband again, posing.  I call it "Ouch!".  I really enjoy doing these expressive portraits.  I think I need to figure out how to make them even more expressive, to grab the viewer and make them smile, perhaps.  I may never find a market for them, but I'm having a good time and certainly learning a lot about capturing extreme expressions.  They're more about major subtleties in the turn of the nose or lip, or shapes of the eyebrows than I ever imagined!  (Why do I keep discovering this truth with every painting?!)  
The more I'm into these and others of my paintings, like "That's nice, dear" or "Two guys and three beers", the more I realize how influenced I am by  Norman Rockwell's illustrations of our daily mundane existence.  It seems that most serious portraitists or figurative painters go for more somber, quiet expressions as a way express the "soulfulness" of their sitter.  Many are great at that, and I often love their work. But life is both more and less than pathos, and I'm drawn to trying to depict those aspects, too.  Sometimes we're in a playful mood, having fun, and sometimes we're self-centered and offended or bored, or even mean.  ......I'm probably just not as deep as a lot of other artists.  I say that sincerely, and I'm not bothered by knowing that.  We're all who we are.

The difference a background in a painting makes

Here is "Figuring it out" with a blue background.  I like it better.  The face pops out from the background, compared with the earlier version.