It is an honor it is paint a portrait. It takes time and vulnerability so I take the responsibility seriously.
And it's completely wild--for both the model and the painter.
For the model it's a little weird to sit in a dark studio as someone stares intently at your face.
For the artist it's a little weird to share your studio and "fall" into someone's face.
Indeed, by the time I finish a portrait I feel like I have walked every inch of their face--I know the angle of the cheek bones, the expressive corners of the mouth, the length of the crinkles around the eyes, and the color of their chin.
It's fun to see five displayed together (above) and see how different each one is.
And then there are the stories. I LOVE hearing about each person's life. Whereas there are universal themes like learning to love and accept others, learning to stand up for yourself, learning how to find your own path, learning to walk away from harmful situations, and learning how to survive a horrible illness and choose life. But the details of each person's experience are unique and fascinating.
My most recent model was a retired police officer and her stories were simply astounding. The experiences she had with fellow officers and the public had me laughing at times and shaking my head other times. It was quite honestly hard to focus on painting! Now that I've finished her portrait I'm disappointed that we won't be sharing this weird time and space of portraiture anymore.
Perhaps you already know this but I'm doing these portraits to celebrate the overlooked and under appreciated women in this community who every day stand up for their families, their dignity, and for love. Eventually I hope to have a total 10-12 portraits and throw a big party with all the portraits hung together where all the friends and families of the models come together to let these women know they are seen and they are loved. ❤️