Sunday, March 27, 2011

"Mr. Snowbird", 12x16, oil on masonite

"Mr. Snowbird", 12x16, oil on masonite

Right before mom passed away I went to Venice Art Center's once weekly class, that offers the chance to paint for two and a half hours from a live model.

The fellow that sat for us that day was a newbie. He had never modeled for artists before , but he was a gem. He sat very still throughout the 20 minute intervals, and when it came time for his break, he was a regular "Chatty Cathy". He talked about his wife and kids and grand kids with obvious affection and I could not help but hope that his family appreciated what a good sport he was, since he seemed to be the butt of all the family's jokes and didn't seem to take it personally.

I loved his florid complexion and bright Tommy Bahama-type "Snowbird " shirt. I was only sorry that I had brought just a lousy piece of masonite for a support, since I had run out of good linen during Clayton Beck's workshop the week before.

I immediately set to work testing what I had learned in Clayton's workshop, putting down the big shapes with little regard to what was a nose or ear, but just looking at shapes and values.

Normally we have models for two consecutive weeks at the art center. I was unable to attend the second session with this delightful gent, but I pulled out the painting tonight and determined to finish it. Here's what I had accomplished in those first hours at The Venice Art Center:

My husband always asks me why I bother painting portraits of people, since I can't really sell them. He doesn't quite understand how rewarding it is to capture the essence of a person's character on canvas.

Mr. Snowbird.... thanks for modeling for us that day. I wish you well.

Thanks also Clayton Beck. Your workshop was hard, but I know that I learned a lot from it.

In a few weeks I'll be attending "The Art of the Portrait Conference" in Atlanta, Georgia. I was awarded a scholarship to attend the conference through The Portrait Society of America. I am very, very grateful for all of these opportunities to improve as an artist.

And if anyone knows the name of Mr. Snowbird, please send me an email so I can at least give him this humble painting!

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