Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Painting from Life: My Toddler

Someone sent me a gentle reminder this morning that while it may be worthwhile to fight for my painting time, it's more important to be spending time with my daughter and enjoying every second, especially while she is young. I completely agree. And I suppose for my blog readers it does seem like I often complain about lack of studio time or not being at the top of my game. Since this is an art blog, I try to post things that are relevant to art, so it can be frustrating when I don't have any new work to post.

In truth, I am enjoying every moment with my daughter while she is young, and painting is all part of my desire to capture that. In my life, creating art has been my way of "possessing" or capturing moments. For example, as a young girl, horses were my favorite animal, but I was deathly allergic to them. So I drew them instead. I filled hundreds of pages with horses in every breed, color, and pose imaginable. Now, years later, I have that same obsession but instead it's with painting my little girl.  Painting is how I experience life. Picasso said, "Painting is just another way of keeping a diary." So as I see my daughter changing and growing every single day, my heart is full. And on those rare occasions that I get to paint her, it's filled to overflowing.

Last night after Cece's dinner, I kept her in the high chair for an alla prima portrait sketch. She did an amazing job! Although there was no way she would ever hold still or maintain any one position, I took note of certain head tilts and expressions that were characteristic of her. Children enjoy one-on-one attention, so it surprises me that so many artists refuse to paint them from life. It is a wonderful experience for both artist and model. We made funny faces at each other, we repeated words and sounds back and forth, and when Cece started to fade, I bribed her with Cheerios. She also spent a good deal of time looking at one of her board books, and narrating the story in a language only she understands right now. Amazingly, she sat in that high chair for nearly two hours and didn't complain, although we ended up working past her bedtime and by the end she was rubbing her eyes. It was worth it though. She'll just have to get used to being the daughter of a portrait artist. ;-)

Early on I was ready to scrap it completely and give up. But I kept on going...
...and Cece was a trooper.
Time for more Cheerios!
This is as far as I got last night. "Good Dog Carl" was a lifesaver!

Finished from life this morning. "Cece at 14 months" - 8x6" - oil on linen panel


1 comment:

  1. Hazards of having an artist mom..... must fight for that studio time. You need it. Non-artists just do not understand this at all. In no way does that detract from your child or you being an awesome amazing mom. You are still a person, too. But hey, what a great solution you have here!

    In a few short years, you will be signing permission slips with pastel pencils because it is the closest thing at hand, and you will be able to paint with Cece. And she might go to school with blue hair one day and you won't mind. My daughter is nine and she has done two plein air paintings in oils....and they are really good! This is something you will share with your daughter as she gets older, and she will see you as your own person, and from that example she will be strong within herself. <3


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