He talks to all his subjects
As they sit in chairs for hours
Staring at one another
In intimate communion
He learns their darkest fears
And their hopes and dreams
And he hopes that he can capture that
In his pencil scratches.
I absolutely adore watching those shows where people paint portraits or landscapes, and if there is a competition element I enjoy it even more. You would think that watching someone paint is boring as hell, but there is something quite soothing about watching these shows.
But what really interests me is the relationship that is built up between painter and sitter. There is something very intimate about sitting face to face and studying someone so carefully for so long.
I find it interesting that some choose to just stare and explore, while others will happily chat away and build a more traditional friendship during their time together.
There was an artist called Marina Abramović, and although she didn’t paint, she did an exhibition where members of the public came and sat in front of her, silently. There was this magical bond that seemed to be formed between her and the sitter and it was quite emotional at times.
It just goes to show that we don’t need to have loads in common, or be physically intimate to create intimacy. Just being in each other’s presence will always be enough.
2 thoughts on “the portrait artist”
I’ve had a couple of author photos done, Rachel, and it’s a similar sort of communication. The photographer tries to capture the essence of the personality of the subject, just as a portrait artist does, and when it’s done well, you really see that person shine through in the finished product.
What a lovely piece that has me thinking more deeply about what goes into a portrait and how casual conversations can influence the essence of a painting in the making. 🙂