This week’s Life Book lesson was taken by Tamara Laporte and the title was “Magic, Vulnerability and Courage”. The lesson began with a discussion about why we choose the subjects that we choose, create the art that we do, work in the styles that we do. This was all by way of consideration as to why we might continually use figures of one gender or a certain race or operate in a certain style as our artistic default. While my subject matter is fairly eclectic, I do often work on figures who are female and caucasian. While I had not really contemplated it before, I can only assume that that is because I am both female and caucasian. Maybe when I am working from my imagination, I am projecting little bits of myself onto the paper. Maybe it is just familiarity. I will have to reflect on this some more.
This week we were directed to paint a male portrait. It has been a while since I drew a human male face. Back home in Scotland, I used to draw men regularly at life drawing class but I admit I was more keen on drawing backs and bums than I was on capturing facial likenesses. It was, therefore, useful to have practice creating a male face once more since my skills had rusted rather a lot. I don’t think I have ever painted a human male before. Drawn, yes, many times but never painted. Another bit of a challenge there.
I wandered away from the lesson a little. In Laporte’s demonstration, she added a wing to her male figure that was reminiscent of the art angel I created in response to one of her bonus lessons. Instead of the wing, I added a silver disc behind the bust of the male figure. I decided to use the same techniques and approaches that I utilised when painting my Girl with Golden Disc back in April. I used the same drips and splatters to build up the background but this time using shades of blue rather than the browns and neutrals I had used for the piece with the female figure. The male portrait could then almost be a companion piece for the female portrait.
While I can – as per always – see flaws a plenty in this painting, I am overall quite pleased with how it turned out. At the very least, I have now painted my first male portrait.