As noted several postings ago, I had been busy this past week on something quite different in the studio . . . a portrait! I had been asked about a month ago, if I would consider taking up the challenge of doing a portrait of a baby. Now, I can count on the fingers of one hand, the number of times in the past that I have done figures in a piece and still have a few fingers left over! So, after a momentary remembrance of just how jittery I had felt before incorporating the human form into a work, I reluctantly accepted the commission. On the one hand, I felt it would be a good opportunity for me to challenge myself and on the other, a good way of making a few bucks at a time when sales have been slow at best.
With that in mind, I spent some time photoing the little guy and doing some preliminary sketch ideas for the clients to approve. There were some wrinkles there, but a final idea was settled upon and work began last Monday. Here is a very brief set of images from the work as it progressed throughout the week with the final, finished work which was completed on Friday.
The old jitters were certainly back in force throughout the week. Doing a portrait of a real person is not my general cup of tea. I would much prefer to be doing any old cow or horse or lion or whatever. People are people and they have rather certain characters, personalities and very specific qualities, as we all know very well. Even little people, especially babies, have very distinct mini characters. Even though my range of over 100 photos had given me, along with the time spent in person, a pretty good grounding in just who this little guy was, I knew that I would need to capture all of that for his mom and dad so that they would instantly recognize their little guy. Truth be told, I have always felt that sort of understanding was just a bit too much weight to carry, for me as an artist, and that I did not care to deal with in my work. I have many artist friends who do portrait work in general course and enjoy it. Fine and dandy, for them!
Well, in the end, I think it turned out OK as the client was happy and I was generally happy with the result and I guess, that's what it's all about. I doubt, though, that I will now find myself, any time soon again, standing on a street corner with a sign in hand, hailing . . . 'Portraits by Miller . . . Get your portrait drawn here!'