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"Rattlesnake" Common Threads

[BLOG POST 3/24/24] As I work on my 11th "Rattlesnake" portrait I'm remembering a question someone asked recently. They wanted to know if I've noticed any commonalities among the women in my series. What a great question!

The women who have modeled for me so far range in age from their late 20s to their late 70s. It has been an honor and a privilege to get to know them as they sit in the studio.

In todays modern society its hard to find one-on-one time with someone so the hours we spend in the studio together are really special. We share life stories and get to know one another in a way that is truly unique. When our studio time is over I always feel a little sad because I know this treasured time has passed.

Thankfully friendships are forged and we stay in touch but the ability to carve out extended one-on-one time falls away.

But to answer that initial question about common threads among my models, yes, I have noticed a few.

First of all, these women are survivors. They each have faced crushing life experiences that easily could have left them broken, demoralized, and in deep all encompassing depressions. But they each found an inner strength along with external support like their faith or professional counseling to get them through heartbreaking and indeed soul crushing experiences.

Secondly, many of them were married and had children right after high school. Higher education, if they wanted it, came later in life and usually while they were juggling raising children, toxic relationships, and their careers. Eventually many had to also manage a divorce and then find their way back to loving themselves and others. So not only are they survivors but they are fighters.

Third, they keep moving forward and keep challenging themselves. Regardless of their age or situation they continue to learn, grow, and love. New hobbies, travel, advanced degrees, jobs for fun, music, and more are all part of their lives. And, if they started working at a young age, they were able to retire at a younger age as well and so now are living their best lives into their 50's, 60s, and beyond.

Fourth they are brave. After all, sitting in front of an artist as they study your face and see every laugh line, every furrow caused by stress, and every grey hair is not easy. Most of us try to minimize or even hide things that we consider to be blemishes or imperfect so to have someone not only see them but also paint them takes courage, self confidence, and humility born from self-acceptance and self-love.

Lastly, they all are beautiful! Each one of those laugh lines, furrows, and grey hairs is a testament to their unique journey and adds to their beauty. I am constantly in a state of awe as I slow down and take the time really see each of these women with my eyes and my heart. It is an honor to know each and every one of them.

I look forward to sharing their portraits with their friends and family this fall at Gallery One Six Six in Las Vegas. Exact days/times TBA. ❤️

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