Thursday, April 10, 2014

For Love of the Demo

March was a busy month for me. With my third trimester well under way, I was a little concerned that I wouldn't have the energy for it all. But the passion and drive didn't wane, and I was able to accomplish a lot in spite of the need for much more sleep and the irritating plague of heartburn that happens when you're carrying high.

Between my two-day portrait workshop and painting at my gallery during Fort Worth Spring Gallery Night, I happened to be working in the public eye a bit more than usual. On Gallery Night (Saturday, March 29), I set up my easel in a corner of the gallery and collectors could come and go, or stay and watch while I worked on a current painting project. Many of them commented, "I don't know how you can stand having people watch you work!" I told them it didn't faze me one bit, and that I actually enjoyed being able to share my process with others. "I find it very fulfilling," I said, "to show someone what actually goes into making a work of art. I love sharing my passion with anyone who is interested!" Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures from that evening, but below are some pictures from past demonstrations.

With the model and finished painting from
Spring Gallery Night 2013

Okay, so here's my confession of the day. I absolutely LOVE to demo. It's no secret that I love painting portraits from life, but when given the added excitement of having a captive audience, I'm imbued with a heightened motivation to really nail it! I always thought my twin sister (the professional musician) was the real performer in the family. Then I realized I like to perform in my own way: when I teach and demonstrate portrait painting. Why is it so exciting? It's a huge responsibility, and I'm screwed if I don't get the likeness. But that hunger for perfection becomes so much more prevalent when I know that people are watching me. Knowing there are other sets of eyes fixated on my canvas makes me keenly aware of every brush stroke I lay down. I am forced to be completely intentional with every mark, completely in the moment. There's no liberty to zone out while giving a demo. It's a challenging and revealing display of one's current skill level--a "test," so to speak. I must be able to explain what I'm doing in detail. I ought to remember the color I pulled from on my palette, and explain why I put down that particular brush stroke in that way. I have to process and problem-solve the visual puzzle before me while explaining my reasoning for every move. Thankfully, my students are quite forgiving when I have a momentary brain lapse. They love it when I make mistakes... because I can demonstrate how to correct them!

A demo from November 2013 for an artist gathering at
Chase Oaks Church in Plano, TX

Below are some demos I've done in the past for some of the private classes in my studio.

Kia - 30-minute demo in white and transparent oxide brown (8x6")

Katherine - 30-minute demo in full color (10x8")

Misty - 3-hour demo in full color (14x11")
In spite of the pressure a live demo can put one under, I am always excited and honored when someone asks me to give one. For years now, I've had a secret (or not so secret) desire to be a featured artist in the "Face-Off" competition held by the Portrait Society at their annual conference. Since I've never won a major award with the organization, I tend to get overlooked because I'm not famous enough yet. But I hope that someday, I get the chance to try it. That would make me VERY happy. :-) 


1 comment:

  1. Very beautiful images. Lovely work.
    Best wishes from Brasil: Geraldo


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