Sunday, February 28, 2010

8 on 80...

Charcoal on paper
14 x 11"

This is another of my portraits from the forthcoming book, 8 on 80 - written by Kim Wyatt, and published by Bona Fide Books. This amazing woman is in her 80's, still skis as often as the sun shines (which in Tahoe is a lot!) and is just an inspiration. She has the most beautiful skin, which you notice when you sit and draw someone for an hour whilst they're being interviewed. She also knits amazingly complex sweaters, one of which she was sporting for the interview. I couldn't possibly do it justice in a quick sketch, so an implication of the stitchwork on her shoulders was all I did.

It's always a little nerve-wracking, showing someone their portrait after struggling with movement, gesticulation and shifting light. Drawing someone whilst they're talking is great because they're more animated than if you labour over a formal portrait for hours, days, or weeks - but it's not without challenge. I realise when I'm doing this how much I rely on studio lights to create exciting forms and contrast. Without that sort of control, and the pressure to create a believable likeness in a very short amount of time...well, it keeps me on my toes!

So the 'ta-da!' moment arrived after the interview was finished, and I turned around my sketchpad to show the sitter her portrait. My 80-something year old sitter simply said, "You made me look old."