Starting Blocks

I handed out my first "Can I paint your portrait" card yesterday on the L train.

She was a young mother (another rider had given up the seat for her) who was toting her child in a BabyBjorn on her front. She had chestnut-colored hair and strikingly delicate features which contrasted with the round-cheeked, round-eyed, button-nosed baby in her lap. I wanted to capture that contrast - and look for the similarities - between the two.

I pulled out my bundle of cards, but I felt I wasn't ready to go for it yet. I was thinking: I don't have enough examples of people's portraits on my blog yet - I need more!, I need to get other drawings done, This project's not really that interesting, I need to be a better painter, What if they turn me down, How do I approach a person without being weird... excuse, procrastinate, whine, etc. But knowing that I might never see this person again overrode my nagging doubts and right before I had to get off the train, I gently touched her hand and gave her the card. She looked at me, looked at it - read it and then a bright smile leapt onto her face and she said, "awesome."

As I was climbing the stairs with the Billburg-bound crowd, I smiled too.

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