Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pastel Portrait

c. 18 x 24"/Pastel and charcoal on paper/"Mixed Messages"(Detail)
This was done about ten years ago and has long since been out of my possession.  I remember showing it to a well known artist and teacher when he and his wife and daughter came to our home for a visit.  I'd anticipated our time and looked forward to hearing what he'd have to say not realizing that I might be putting him on the spot......he likely had been pounced upon frequently by others seeking his blessing, supportive comments etc. Also, I was oblivious (but not ignorant) to the fact that his wife was an accomplished painter in her own right and perhaps was thinking that her husband got all the requests for comments!  (I wonder if she was upset?  Relieved not to be involved?).  I remember his critique distinctly, his observation about placement of the head too close to the center line of the paper and his view that the hand looked unfinished or at least needing some additional assembly, as I recall.  He also offered other remarks and the totality of the encounter left me with the impression that I should continue with the work but not abandon my income earning occupation just then.
I think I now know myself much better as a painter.  I think I'm still "inner directed" (to borrow a turn of words from The Lonely Crowd, David Riesmann's book of many years ago) and also open to hearing the observations of others whether accomplished practitioners or totally new to looking at art.  Other voices can only contribute to the work which means, I guess, that it isn't entirely mine and that's an exciting thing to consider!

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