It is my delight and honor to be asked to paint a portrait of someone’s children. I can’t really describe why…something to do with the privilege of trying to express the personality of the kids coupled with the love the parent has for them. It seems a tall order. One that excites and energizes me! And one that causes fear and trepidation!
I learned something anew with this commission to paint the beautiful Summerell children, Robert and Catherine. I learned afresh that my calling is simply to show up at the blank page. To do whatever it takes to be there, facing the pristine 140 lb. Cold Press Saunders Waterford paper…and begin. I knew I would be given what I needed to accomplish the high calling of portrait painting. I knew that help, in the form of ideas and ways to solve “problems”, would show up when needed. I knew it would be ok. I just had to draw. And paint.
Now before you gag on such artsy fartsy lingo…i do acknowledge that I have studied and continue to study how to paint portraits. I do practice. Daily. I do continue to learn and evolve. I put in my time. But when it all comes down to it, when the commissioned portrait is about to begin, I have an overwhelming sense of being woefully inexperienced and inadequate to the task at hand! I simply must rely on the truth that my part is to just SHOW UP. Of course, I will apply all that I have learned and am learning to the task. Of course, I will wrestle with, undo and redo what I feel is necessary. But the one thing I am responsible for is to be faithful to show up to the page. Whatever else happens feels a bit like magic…something out of my hands, outside of my ability or experience level.
And when the parents view the portraits and are pleased…When the mom has tears in her eyes…I know I have done my work and it has been somehow translated beyond my own contribution to the page. Art has happened. That inexplicable, wonderful communication between the paint and paper to the viewer.
My delight becomes their delight! And I couldn’t be more delighted.
**To view more commissioned portraits, click here!