Risk, Surprise, Uncertainty

Face Painting 101

The introductory course to watercolor portrait painting has just concluded. Now it’s time to practice what we learned–and, while we learned a lot, there’s so much more to practice. The teacher gave us a handout (one of several, actually) to take with us, as an aid; it reads:

Illustration:  Studio watercolor exercises in pencil and watercolors by Black Elephant Blog author

Illustration: Studio watercolor exercises in pencil and watercolors by Black Elephant Blog author

“Drawing from life is not about fiction. It is about telling the truth by means of line and space. It is a trace, but a double-track one: the truth from without by the one from within. But how can I reach out there to your face, from within my locked self? Measuring misleads to a dead image. Skill and concept, to a generalization, to a face not yours. In order to get your face to this sheet of paper, a miracle has to occur. The utmost attention, hand and eye at their sharpest, will not suffice. Drawing demands a most intensive state of feeling.” – Avigdor Arikha, July 1983

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