Monday, 16 February 2009

Heads or Tails

The last thing I would ever have thought I would get into, is trying to paint people. For one thing, I didn't really know where to start and for another I've always thought people are particularly difficult. And why bother painting them when you can take a photo?
But how exciting it's been getting to grips with 'heads'. I came across 2 artists in particular, Alison Lambert and Paul Richards (see Interesting Links) who I really liked and who exemplify the difference between painting heads and what we would normally call 'portraiture'.
It certainly has helped having a two-way exchange with the subject, almost like a visual conversation. And does it matter if one doesn't get a 'photographic likeness'? Should we be trying to go beyond the obvious to the inner personality?
I am lucky in having several 'oldies' available to me to sit and older faces certainly have there stories. Even had a go at a 3D sculpture in clay which was a real eye opener. It's also been fascinating just looking at portrait masters like Lucien Freud, Stuart Pearson Wright, Victoria Russell and even Francis Bacon-(you love him or you hate him!)
So this is one subject area I will be continuing with; I keep staring at peoples heads and assessing how I would start them. What funny eyes that bloke had on the bus, and surely that old womans' nose was far too long for the rest of her face...she would look better with a light behind her!