After I had spent 2 or 3 days in Serpa sketching all kind of buildings, I got quite bored, and needed to sketch something else. This is why, on the 7th of July (2009), I sat with kevin at a cafe outside, and made sketches of the people sitting there. I liked the faces I saw, and had quite a nice time doing that. As always my sketches tend to be caricatures, I just can’t help it… but I swear that I have warm and sympathetic feelings towards all these people I sketch, my intention is really not to make them look silly or ridiculous or whatever negative… I am sorry if some recognise themselves (what i doubt in fcat as I am not really searching for a good likeness) and feel offended…
These are some of the people I sketched that day. if you wnat to see more, go please to my Flickr account
Do you have an idea what is the most frequent answer I hear from women when I am trying to have a discussion with them about Barack Obama, asking them what they think of him?
“He is such an handsome man!”
Never tell me again that appearances are not important!!!
Well, I have no idea if he really is an old Rocker. My partner Kev Moore, who is a Rocker, but not old, thinks he is. I much more thought that he is a Harley Davidson rider, because they all looked like him in Germany. But we are in Spain, and that one was English. And anyway: he could be both!
Except that he did not smoke, but his bird did… and how! Exactly like I was expecting him to do, the cigarettes drooping from the lips, without any fingers to hold them…
And he arrived at the cafe walking. Not cool, really, for a Harley Davidson rider…
Well, we are back in town and today, for the first time in many months, I sat again in a cafe and made some caricatures from the people there. I am sure they think:
“Oh sh…, she is back!”
and they don’t even know what they look like in my drawings! But sometimes I start laughing in front of my drawings, and Kevin too, so I guess they must be suspicious… I wonder what will happen if they find my drawings some day on the net and recognize themselves…
I speak and read French, German, English, Spanish, and understand some others too…
so please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or to contact me in your own language!
Here is my last portrait painted on commission. I must admit, it was hard to finish! But he is on his way to Germany now, the “Herr Rechtsanwalt” (Mister Lawyer… by the way a great one, ask me info if you need one!), well rolled in his cardboard tube and I can only hope that he will arrive punctually for his birthday on the 27th of May.
Portrait is a difficult art. Some artists try it, but most of them abandon. I saw it many times amongst my artists friends, and my art students, from which -sadly- not one persevered. Some people say that portraits in the style I do most of them (by the way, it is the client that sets the style, not really my choice!), “only” look like a photograph and that it is not “real” art. I don’t agree at all. If you look on the net, you will see a lot of portraits, done from photographs and trying to look like them, and which finally look like dead porcelain puppets, or even worse. So please, don’t tell me it is not an art: when they are well-done, with love and deep sensitivity for art and the model, they simply look wonderful, and as alive as the person him( or her)self. I saw many people crying when I delivered them the portraits they ordered from me, and they took me in their arms, and they said:
“Thank you so much, it is so wonderful!”
and most of the time they came back to me, brought me a moving gift and commissioned a further portrait from me.
Is this not the essence of art, to move people to tears?
I think it is…
Anyway, as I said, a good “photographic portrait” is a very difficult art. The tiniest deviation in the eyes or mouth line can change the whole expression and even the whole person. Each point of light and each shadow reflect a different character. And this is where it becomes complicated, much work, and, at the end, art!
I rarely spend less than 25 hours to make such a portrait. I first do the drawing, emphasizing the head shape and the main features, and the main part of light and shadow. Then I put a first level of pastel chalk to model the face and reach a first impression of lights and shadows. Then a second level of pastel to refine everything, especially the similarity with the model.
And then begins a long, difficult but exciting phase of work with colour pens, hours and hours of observation, of research, of tiny steps which at the end lead to the real similarity and give character and life to the painted portrait.
A good portrait is not only much work, but it is too a deep effort of sensitivity. It is essential for me to put myself into the skin of the model when I paint him. The result being that with time passing by I start to lose my own personality and have the feeling to become the model myself. How often, with this one for example, I found myself smiling like him, apparently forced to smile like him to be able to paint his smile! Or, one day I had to paint a cross-eyed child, and I tell you, I finished up cross-eyed myself, which of course, complicated the drawing process…
I said at the beginning, that I suffered finishing the lawyer. Why? He has a quite easy face, no complications, no deformations, is not cross-eyed, and has a beautiful, natural smile: the perfect model! The problem was that I had been forced to abandon him in the middle of the process, you might say adjourned, to paint a series of 13 commissioned bullfight paintings. At the end, I saw bulls everywhere and even worse, considering the fact that I invest myself as much in the bulls as in the portraits, I had become a bull myself!
Impossible then to re-enter the lawyer’s skin!
But who knows, perhaps this portrait one day will reach astronomic prices, having been painted by a bull? One already saw paintings by monkeys sold for crazy money. So why not a bull?!
I don’t know about you, but I am a very undisciplined newspaper reader. When I read a newspaper, – what, I confess, I seldom do, above all because I don’t want my happiness to be spoiled by all the bad news… I know, I know, very immature and egotistical!- it is simply a fight. It is really not easy, for a tiny creature such as I, to cope with it: hold the vast billowing pages, fold them properly, keep them in the right order, etc. It’s like an Origami class. The result being that I have pages all over and the bigger the paper, the bigger the mess!
The situation escalates dramatically when I try to read a newspaper sitting by the beach, where the wind is usually blowing. And I am not the only one fighting against the elements. I saw this woman the other day as I was sketching in a cafe by the beach, it was simply hilarious. She had not the slightest idea how to keep all the pages in her hands, they literally flew all over the place! And you won’t believe what I also saw: one even made it out to sea and a boat snapped it up, took the wind and sailed off with it!
PS: I think this is a problem which we women have. When I watch men reading newspapers, they are normally much more disciplined, and in fact they don’t like it at all when the pages get in the wrong order or the crises are in the wrong place…
As I saw this woman reading her newspaper, I was totally fascinated by her little fat hands and arms, especially by her wrists, in this case only a line between arm and hand. This kind of transitions between different parts of the body can be very thankful to draw and make the charm of the whole drawing… look at baby wrists or ankles and you will understand what I mean… it is so touching some how. By this woman here, too… and strange enough, the way she holds the newspaper makes even think then her fingers are too small