I can’t believe it has taken me 7 faces to finally get around to ‘happiness.’ I like this young boy’s face because he reminds me of an old man with his adorable little beret and scarce amount of teeth. It is true when they say that happiness is of such fundamental importance to the human condition and rather fitting, in my mind, when they call it the “pursuit of happiness” because it is indeed the pursuit of it that we devote our lives to. In a beautiful gesture, the United Nations declared 15 March 2014 the first annual International Day of Happiness. Simple, yet significant.
I recently attended a weekend workshop at the National Art School in Paddington held by the 2002 Archibald Prize winning artist, Cherry Hood (see http://cherryhood.co/) Cherry’s works are incredible in many ways, not least because she manages to capture human emotion particularly elegantly, especially those of children whose emotions are in many ways raw and unsullied by the daily throes of life. This girl is sad and the blotchy watercolour stains are supposed to reflect her teardrops. The beauty with watercolours is that if you make a mistake, it is easy to rectify. All you need to do is spray on some more water mist and wipe away the error with a hand towel and viola… mistake free! If only real life was as simple.
This is an old self-portrait, painted in cobalt blue oil as a wipe-away with white highlights. Although I do not feel ‘depressed’ I thought that it is the emotion best captured by the dark and moody effect of the blue tinge. It creates a certain eeriness. At the time that I painted this, I remember being fascinated by the nativeNa’vi in James Cameron’s film, Avatar, and especially how peaceful they were. My favourite scene is of Pandora’s floating ‘Hallelujah Mountains,” which were inspired from the Huang Shan in China which I then had to go hike.
In the 1665 oil painting 'Girl with the Pearl Earring,' Dutch painter Vermeer made his subject, a servant girl named Griet, sit for a portrait with her body angled to the side and her face turned towards him. If you click the first image above, you will see the second image, where I have drawn the subject with the same body posture. I focused in on her green eyes and experimented a bit with abstract leaves and petals, stepping out of my artistic comfort zone for an interesting result. I’ve decided that the emotion captured this week is 'desire' because of her subtle sex appeal and luscious red lips.
When I type in ‘portraiture photography’ into Google, a photo of this girl is the first image that pops up. She reminds me of the award winning 1985 national geographic cover of the Afghan Girl. I like the smoothness of her skin, her loud red scarf and the mystery deep in her eyes. When drawing her I strayed from my normal technique of simple cross-hatching with black felt tip pen by adding soft pastels on top. As a tip, I would avoid using the white pastel as it dulls the areas of skin that should be hit by natural light. In light of creating a series of portraits that attempts to capture the array of human expression, I dub this one ‘Intrigue.’
I found a photo of this face on the internet, taken by a photographer called Aleci. He called it ‘Frozen Heart.’ I prefer the title ‘Hesitation.’ I opted for simple black and white charcoal to highlight the stark contrast between the man’s pale skin and the black abyss that he seems to emerge from. I put the skeleton sketch up here too because I felt it was striking in it’s own way - with a very stark pop art feel to it. I can’t help but wonder what this person was thinking about that very moment in time… whether he was in the right relationship? how he should find a job? or how on earth did Brazil lose 7-1 to Germany in the World Cup semi-finals?
For this week’s post I’ve opted to do a little doodle in my long abandoned Moleskine journal. What captured me about this particular young girl is the mesmerising look in her powerful eyes. Children are scary sometimes in their purity of innocence.If you are as big a fan of Moleskine art as I am, check out http://www.youthedesigner.com/2011/07/27/50-cool-moleskine-art-samples-thatll-fuel-your-creativity/ to be wowed. I’ve been getting some intrigued looks from the corporate types who sit beside me on the bus whenever I whip out my pen…
ink life drawing, series I
Drawing of grandparents and two of their seven children
My mother in charcoal
oil painting of my brother and sister
life model, oil painting
life drawing, charcoal
portrait of my mother horse-riding, oil painting