The statues in the British Museum sat obligingly still and never asked to take a look. People are different.
I have had an erratic and conflicted relationship to making portraits from life. That is never a good starting point, since I find it is important to be focused rather than self-conscious and out of practice. Nevertheless, there is something undeniably satisfying in capturing a likeness of someone you know and care for.
I have learned to appreciate some less than perfect likenesses because of their execution or, conversely, to be fond of less than brilliantly executed efforts because they capture something of the person or the moment. The hope – always – is to pull off both.
Looking back is a reminder of how feelings are mutable: some strengthen and grow, others fade, while a few seem to belong almost to a stranger – someone I barely recognize now.
The title of this blog is, sadly, somewhat ironic as several of the individuals included here have died in the intervening years. It makes having drawn or painted them in life all the more precious and poignant.