If you have browsed through my website, you perhaps saw the page of portraits. They are charcoal on paper, 11’’x14”, and done during a live sitting, all people I know. Today I am sharing with you my motivation for doing portraits and why drawing portraits always takes me to a deeper connection with myself.
Let’s begin with self-portraits. A year ago, I decided to do a self-portrait every day, with the purpose of increasing my skills and commitment to art making. This experience was immediately grounding within my body. There was a seamless connection from the image in the mirror to myself, my hand with the charcoal, the paper and the image that emerged. I have never looked at myself this much ever. There was a hope to “see” me in a new way. But I felt a deep sense of ground within me, not something new, but something familiar rediscovered. With confidence, I turned to portraits of others.
I love to make portraits. I love to study faces, to look at someone and recreate their image on paper or canvas. This is something I absorbed from my mother; I loved the portraits she painted. I thought that drawing someone’s portrait would be a way to connect with that person. I would ask the person to sit for me, and while I drew the portrait, we would have a conversation. Last year, I asked sixteen people to sit for me over a period of six months. Each one sat with me for about 90 minutes, as I drew their portrait. Few of them asked me why I was drawing them or what I would do with the drawing. Our conversations ranged from a person telling me her life story to one person using one or two word sentences in response to my pestering questions, and one intimate, deep sharing of life. I was so grateful to each person for their time, for the conversation, and for allowing me to draw their image. After each drawing I had deep appreciation for the person and what they had shared with me.
But again, the strong sensation I felt as I finished each portrait was a deeper connection with my inner self. Connecting with others, creating relationships, leads us back to ourselves, leads us deeper into the knowing of ourselves. That deeper knowing of ourselves is our spiritual being. And with that knowing, the creative impulse is set free.
Next week, I continue the sharing about that creative impulse that arose from doing each portrait and what I did with it. Meanwhile, if you haven’t seen all four pages of the gallery on my website, I encourage you to look through them all and comment on what you like.