Do you deliberately avoid faces? It seems to be quite noticeable and has me wondering what the faces are like, and perhaps I don't want to know anyway. It is intriguing.
It was an intriguing question for me too. Certainly I had no intention of being coy and deliberately hiding the faces of my subjects . . . but neither had I ever attempted to paint a real portrait. What exactly is a portrait, anyway? To me it goes beyond the definition in my Collins dictionary--"a painting, drawing, sculpture, photograph or other likeness of an individual, esp.of the face." A truly achieved portrait says something about the essence, or soul, of the person, which the artist has perceived and communicated. It's more than skin deep. Oddly, and for no reason I can explain, I feel no particular desire to paint portraits in this sense, and portraits by other artists, even great ones such as Rembrandt, are to me not the most interesting kind of paintings. Since earliest childhood I have been fascinated by faces, and can remember filling notebooks with drawings of them; but I don't think I ever thought of them as real people, even though I had a fanciful belief that if I coloured them they would come alive at night when I was asleep.
|Twelve - acrylic (date and dimensions not recorded)|
|Next Move - acrylic - 14" x 18" - 2005|
|Two Cakes - acrylic - 24" x 18"|
In some paintings of people, it was the direction and intensity of the gaze that interested me. Children are good subjects for this, because of the whole-hearted, whole-body concentration that they bring to tasks. "Next Move" and "Two Cakes" are examples, both based on family photos.
|The Bike Lesson - acrylic - 30" x 14"|
"On the Ferry" (see above) combines the intent gaze with the directional body language, so that the four men seem to be racing ahead of the ship towards their destination.
|Shore Line - acrylic - 16" x 14" - 2008|
|Snooze - acrylic - 30" x 24" - 2010|
|Seaside Pub - acrylic - 16" x 24" - 2011|
Next instalment mid-September