I recently had the pleasure of finishing a portrait for a friend, a picture of his partner. It wasn’t a commission, rather I forced the offer onto him over dinner. It was intended as a thank you for all the help I had been given when building my website, little did I imagine how long it would take and how it would be received. Here is the picture:
As you will see if you click on the link, I posted the portrait without realising that they were on holiday for a couple of weeks. Those two weeks became fraught as time went on. I was very happy with the portrait when I finished it, but as time crept on I became more unsure as to how it would be received. Just because I liked it and I thought it was a pretty good likeness, I couldn’t help thinking that perhaps I had got the wrong end of the stick. Maybe the things that I had focused on were not the same as the things that he loved about her!
Portraits are funny things in that with a single stroke it is possible to completely change the expression and the emphasis of a face, sometimes even losing the likeness completely. I worked from a few photos I quickly took at the time. If I had attempted to make an exact copy of one the photos I am pretty sure the picture would not have gone down very well at all. Which is where the artistic license comes in, and the problems begin! What I am trying to say is that my choice of emphasis could easily have been the wrong ones and without being able to see into the beholders mind, it is largely guesswork and feeling. I wanted to to do a great job because they deserve it, and all I could imagine was receiving one of those polite thank you’s that people send after getting an unwanted present!
Luckily I needn’t have worried, I couldn’t have been more wrong and with a very large sigh of relief I received the following:
So all is well that ends well, and thanks to Blyth for such a wholehearted endorsement of my work.
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