Sunday, November 19, 2006

Portrait of a Lady

While I was in Margaret River during the week I heard about a couple of Bridgetown artists visiting a Cowaramup winery on Saturday and painting portraits for $110. That sounded quite a good deal and something that interested me but when I mentioned it to Carolyn she didn't share my interest but this afternoon we went for a drive down to Howard Park Winery "just to have a look". There we met John and Sue, the artists, and upon seeing some of their work Carolyn said, "I take back everything I said last night"!
She was still a little hesitant but I encouraged her to go for it so she sat for John while he painted her portrait. She found the whole experience very enjoyable as she and John struck up a conversation as he looked at her face from every direction before deciding on the pose he wanted then proceeded to paint her portrait. The whole process took about an hour and Carolyn said it was really good and noticed how much time and interest John took in order to find out about her. Having been a fan of Rolf Harrises portrait painting TV show she was able to relate to the process in a small way. Having a glass of wine and a cheese platter to nibble on while she sat leant an air of reckless decadence to the whole scene!!

The finished picture is interesting. It's unmistakably Carolyn yet not so exact a likeness as to leave you without some sense of uncertainty. Some elements of it are spot on, others less so. Portraits are not meant to be perfect replicas of the subject, if that's what you want a photograph does the job far better, they are supposed to somehow capture something of the character and soul of the subject as well as looking like them. One of Carolyn's comments about the finished piece was that it reminded her of exactly how she looked when she was younger. The more I look at it the more I see her in it and like it. There is that anxious moment when you first look at the finished picture, so full of pregnant hope and fear, will you like it, will the artist be satisfied/affirmed that they've done a good job? In this case it's not an unreserved yes but it's certainly a yes.

NB. Jordan upon seeing it, possessing all the diplomacy and tact 15 year old boys are renowned for, said "It makes you look bug-eyed and square jawed"! Nice one son!!!

BTW. I created a collage of the whole sitting but Picasa has decided in it's own wisdom to break it back up into it's constituent parts so I'll post other pics shortly.

Howard Park is beautiful, a great building situated amongst acres of vines and lovely gardens.
Sport Boy and I hit catches with the tennis racquet while the painting was happening, until I hit the ball first into the fish pond, and then on to the roof where it was irretrievable! Posted by Picasa

No comments: