Sunday, March 28, 2010

IlluminArts Festival 2010

The old lady is sore today folks! I am sure even the organ grinder’s monkey gets a bit achy after a demanding dog and pony show. Yesterday was the IlluminArts festival at Timken HS. I signed on to do pastel portraits of willing victims (in order to gain more practice and build my portfolio) in exchange for their getting a matted 8 x 10 print of the finished piece (to be mailed within 3 weeks). My original intent was to demo a standard portrait, which takes a good 25 – 30 minutes minimum to get a decent drawing. Well… the line grew longer, I realized that it was not the demo that people cared about, it was having their child’s picture done by a real artist (that would be me). So out with the demo and in with the public service and genuine desire to used my God given (and that is as true as it gets) talent to give back to people something that is usually unattainable.

I turned on the turbo monkey motor as my original release forms were gone by the first two hours (I had printed 12 to fill the 6 hour time slot). By the time the 6 hours had passed, plus an additional hour to fulfill all those who were still waiting….minus 2 bathroom breaks but no lunch or beverage breaks (boy was I lightheaded by the last one!), 24 people will be getting portraits! Looking at them this morning, each one needs a bit of tweaking as in erasing stray finger prints, adding a bit of contrast here and there and so forth, but all in all, I must say they are not too bad for having only done this media and subject for a mere 7 months. Never picked up a pastel until last October and have not focused on realism in 15 years. Just for the record, my drawing background is classical realism so I can do it when I want too. Still can’t quite use the classical color schemes though, gotta let the muse have her say too.

The experience left me sore and tired and very hungry….needless to say that first glass of wine hit me like a ton of the proverbial bricks, but I left feeling touched by all the kids (and a newborn baby!) that sat in my chair trying their best to hold still. I did not have time to ask their names, just look at their face, find an angle that would work and told them to look at a couple of my canvases that I had brought along for “entertainment” and incentive to sit quietly. All the portraits face to the right because with the crowd on my left, I did not want the kids distracted or mommy to look over my shoulder and comment on what I was doing. These are the first children I have ever done and now I know why it is so darn difficult and a definite niche specialty for portrait artists. As cute as they are, there is little experience on their faces from which to make reference points. No wrinkles, no bags under the eyes, and no overgrown noses and ears, baby fat fills in the planes of future cheekbones, the lips are still small and delicate…..innocent little faces that will now grace somebody’s hallway because of me. That makes me feel good.

I am often asked how I learned to draw or something along those lines. I didn’t. I never “learned”. I was born with it. I firmly believe that everybody has some God given gift at birth that makes you different from everybody else. Some is artistic like music or acting, some is tenacity like detectives and lawyers, some is athletic and so forth. Like all other professions, the skills are honed and nurtured along the way, but ability cannot be taught, it is just “there”, which is why I will gladly use my gift to bless others with what they may not otherwise ever have access to. So a few sore muscles and tired hands plus many hours of documentation, printing, matting and mailing which lie ahead, aren’t really that big a deal because I shared my gift yesterday with others. A big thank you to all you little ones that worked so hard to hold still for 15 minutes…which was how fast that monkey was moving!

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