At four o'clock today this wonderful couple, Don and Camille, walked into the gallery and within a few minutes had decided to sit for an oil portrait NOW. I set up the light and easel, refreshed some paint on my palette and off we went! I sketched in Don with thinned burnt umber and then asked Camille to take the portrait stand and got her sketched in as well. They swapped places again and I painted Don while we all got to know each other. Camille has excellent interview skills, so they now know my whole life story. But when it was time to paint her, Don used my computer to check his email and tables were turned- I got to hear one remarkable story after another. One or two were jaw-droppers. I got Don back for a while to paint his shirt, then Camille again for collar and necklace details. It was 8:45 when we declared it finished. Wow. I know they found it hard to understand, but I told them that when I start a painting from life, I feel as though I just walked off the top of a 20 story building out into thin air. I always just hope I remember how to do this and then paint like crazy.
Thursday, when I go back to the gallery, I'll look at it with fresh eyes and see what needs what. When it's dry and then varnished and then dry again, I'll ship it off to them where they live near Seattle.
I caught the last bus out of downtown and have eaten a very late supper. Now I need sleep in a desperate sort of way....
June 10, 2008
by Susan Carlin on 6/10/2008