Saturday, April 26, 2008

Rodin on Portrait Painting

My husband keeps telling me, I should paint more portraits, he feels they are my best work. I don´t know if they are, what I do know is, that I feel happier painting outdoor scenes.
Portraits are a triple challenge because, besides getting the features exactly in the right place (likeness), and having to penetrate deeply into the consciousness of others (character), you have to please the subject of your painting.
I love what Rodin said, and I quote again from the book I mentioned a few posts ago:
"But the greatest difficulties for the artist who models a bust or who paints a portrait do not come from the work which he executes. They come from the client for whom he works."
A few lines below he continues:
"It is very seldom that a man sees himself as he is, and even if he knows himself, he does not wish the artist to present him as he is."
To that I might add another aspect: People know their faces mostly from their mirror image, not the way others see them. Since no one´s face is totally symmetrical, their real appearance looks a little wrong to them.
I have done portraits of married couples and it did not surprise me that he liked hers very much and she was very pleased with his. Their own likenesses, they thought, were a bit off.
I am glad that, in the case of Teresa´s portrait, both husband and wife were happy.


sandy said...

Your work is incredible and she is a beautiful lady. I would imagine she should have loved this.


Ilse T.Hable said...

Thank you Sandy!