On the way to work

I noticed them walking ahead of me just as I was at the steps of the office. They were both tall with broad shoulders and a slightly lumbering gait. They seemed perfect together.  I wanted to capture them in a less literal way than usual so this was a first stab at that – more colour, less form (still came out more literal than I wanted).

Afterwards, I decided to see what it would look like if I forgot about trying to depict them in anatomical form altogether and just thought about their energy – a surprisingly abstract result – would like to figure out how to work somewhere in between.

Does crying make you cold?

I looked it up. Apparently, crying can make you feel cold. Or at least, there are people out there who say that they feel cold after crying, and who’ve posted on different sites asking why that is. I didn’t find any answers – at least none based on research (I didn’t look very hard either).  Maybe the young man is one of those people. He certainly kept repeating his warning – and the little girl kept wailing. I wonder if his words will stay with her whenever she cries.

When things aren’t as I think they are

The other day I saw an older man on the streetcar with pale age spots on his face. He seemed to be a regular kind of guy, looking intently out the window so that he didn’t miss his stop.  When I got home, I did a quick sketch and then finished the portrait by digitally colouring it. I couldn’t remember his eyes or his mouth, or really anything about him except that he was balding and had age spots. And maybe a nose that was a little bulbous at the end.  I was working quickly and intuitively.

It was a surprise to see what came out – something more sinister than what I thought I saw on the streetcar. Or maybe just more damaged. Makes me wonder where images come from.  Did my subconscious sense something that wasn’t visible to the eye? Or was it my mood at the time that I worked on this (not that I remember anything unusual about it), or something in my environment – some stress, some news item – that influenced how  the portrait turned out? I don’t have answers, but since I do portraits from impressions or from my imagination (as opposed to using sitters), I might start paying a bit more attention to this.

 

Florine Stettheimer

This week, I discovered the delightful work of American painter, poet and designer, Florine Stettheimer (1871 – 1944) at a nicely curated show at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

I took a lot of photos, but have posted only a few here – self-portraits and a couple of the charming scenes she painted of her family and New York society.

Florine was wealthy and chose not to engage with the commercial side of the art world (probably a choice many artists would make if they could afford to). For more information about her, this post from Artnet News is interesting.