I really enjoy drawing portraits, they are incredibly challenging. Of course the big challenge is capturing the likeness of the model and I believe these two drawings look just like Sara. But one element I can’t capture in a group portrait session is the model's true character.
I say this because in a group environment of portrait artists, we have to compromise the model's pose. The model arrives at the studio nicely dressed, sits on a podium so everyone can see the model with a lamp turned on to highlight the face and gives us a simple pose so that all the artists attending can have a nice and beautiful view of the model. Here's where we lose some of the model's character and all the artists know and understand this. We use this time to practice our skill, to have the opportunity to produce art, and to take time out of our busy lives to be amongst artists and friends. It's a compromise all the artists understand and accept.
So how can we capture a model's character in a portrait? Well, the other day I saw Sara at a local mom-n-pop style restaurant. She was working there taking food orders from customers. Sara looked appropriate for the working environment: casually dressed, hair bundled up in a pony tail, wearing eyeglasses with a beautiful decorative frame and when I saw Sara smiling, talking to customers and taking orders on a notepad, the first thing that came to mind was, “this is the type of portrait I want to capture”. Here is were I believe a portrait artist captures a person's true character, when people are themselves in their environment.
CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE, GRAPHITE ON PAPER 14" x 17"