Mar 14, 2010

A Portrait

So for those of you who may not know - among many other things- I am an artist/design/illustrator.   More specifically I tend to do drawn portrait work.

I used to think...and on occasion still do think that this type of 'art' was; how do I put it......common.  In that it is not special or unique.

You know how it is, some art is just "something real special" or it is so obscure they call it art because well, what else would you call it!?!  Some people's art really tells a story, conveys a message or invites you into that strange world that so many artists live in.  I thought I didn't belong in this art scene, that my work was unimaginative and either not a part of the 'art world' or anything of real artistic nature.  ( FYI - illustration and design are actually considered a separate field and therefore you are technically not an "Artist" if you are solely an illustrator/designer)

But portrait work is an art.  And no, not just because I can do it well (it's taken years mind you) but because through this style I have found my "Art".  In my portrait work it may appear as just a well rendered version of the picture I work from but it is not, I now realize, it is more!

When I create a portrait I am telling a story, conveying a message and inviting you into my little 'artist' world.  I express this through careful attention to detail, composition of the piece and my own style of drawing.  It is possible to be handed a picture and reproduce just as it is, either in pencil or coloured pencil but it will be just that, a well rendered drawing of your loved one.

 But it is when I know the story behind it or if I can give it a story; then the picture comes to life.

Take the one I am working on now.  If I didn't know the history behind it, I would think I was just doing a picture of two high school students from the disco age.  But ah, this is actually a story of love, lost love, and refound love.  It's quite touching actually!  I so deeply want to express that tale.  I want to express through gentle, young, yet time worn eyes all that these two 'star crossed lovers' will experience, before it has even happened.  I want to tell their story.

Or the portrait I did of a small child, whose father passed away only days before the mother discovered the pregnancy.  I gave to that portrait the glory of God found in this miracle of life.  I expressed the love of our Lord beaming out of her sweet young eyes and I detailed it all with the tenderness a story like this deserves.  This picture was a gift to the widow, the mother of this child, and in it I wanted her to feel and see the little girl's father.  To both find joy and reflection in all that was captured in that portrait.

This all may not seem so profound to you, but for me I have come to a realization.  My skills as a portrait artist are honouring to the art world - that somewhat prestigious scene - but my work is honouring because it honours God.

My work may never be sold around the world - as it doesn't have mass appeal - and it will most likely not hang in any gallery any time soon.  (One already told me they don't hang portraits, they don't sell!)  But I see now that all of that is not important to me.

What my work will do is - it will make people happy!   What more could I want.  They best gallery that these pieces will hang is in the homes of those who love this piece of art.  They love it because it is a piece of them and someone who loves something I can create through a gift given to me by my Creator, now that- that is not common!

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit   Romans 15:13

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