21.5.12

Intimidation

Emily sat for me tonight. She'd just come back from a whirlwhind band tour through our mutual home states in the Midwest, and I was thrilled to finally share some time with her to paint her portrait. We ordered Thai for supper, she sat in my favorite little orange chair, Jonathon even came to share in the conversation, and I fussed and fretted about the lighting and had her switch positions and repainted her portrait five times and it still doesn't look like the real her. Alas!

It's not her, it's me. She's a great model: she's actually done work at the Academy and drawings of her are already published in a book, too. She is level and compassionate, a pleasure to work with, so why was I so intimidated? I'm not entirely sure yet, but I've always been a little nervous if my subject is a female. (You may be noticing that Emily is the first female portrait appearing in this project.)  I work with Emily for Spark and Echo Arts and she's one of the first people to cheer me on this "Before I Transfer" project so I was looking forward to creating a vivacious portrait of her. Instead, I wigged myself out during our session to the point that even though in my mind's eye I saw the kind face I know, it appears on my metrocard as if I sat with someone serious and impassable, trying to breathe life into a stone.

Emily isn't intimidating, she's uncomplicated, thoughtful and crisply intelligent with a bright disposition. Exuding a vibe of effervescent excellence, Emily is refreshingly quirky like a sophisticated flute of Kir Royal. Speaking of "flutes," along with the clarinet, she plays a myriad of instruments including Christopher Robin the Ukelele and Boris the Bassoon. She's a gifted thespian as one of the Bard's own having a distinct appreciation for works with rich and poetic language.

The portrait I painted amidst an enjoyable evening with my friend doesn't weave a curtain-raiser the way I wanted to present her ("But I have that within which passes show, These but the trappings and the suits of woe"). Okay, so maybe my passing portrait isn't on par with the Prince of Denmark's tragedy, but I still want a do-over to revitalize this piece.

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