Investigating a Face

The Florentine, detail, oil on linen, 50cm x 70 cm

When you find an inspiring model, it is hard to stop at with one picture.  Danielle, the fellow that you see in the following images, is no exception.  One of the benefits of painting from life is that you not only become familiar with the anatomy of a particular face but you get to know the personality.  The work becomes a collaboration where the model’s inner life inspires and contributes to the direction of the painting.  Art is about communication.  Any artist that follows a too insular path is destined to repetition and simple decoration.  Interaction with life and Nature provides the stimulus necessary for creating profound works.   The obstacles and victories that we experience in the everyday connect us to the larger themes of our existence.  A model’s personal experience therefore becomes a metaphor upon which an artist expresses his/her vision.

Lay in for St. John the Baptist, detail, oil on linen, 70cm x 110

Danielle is an artist as well, studying at the Accademia di Belli Arti in Florence.  We have have some wonderful conversations that ranges from art technique to philosophy.   He has a distinctly biblical look about him(beard and all) and I envisioned him as a St. John the Baptist.  The picture above is a detail from a work that I am still developing.  Our conversations and interactions really set the tone for the sittings and the appropriate expression finally came out.  The first work I did with Danielle was the drawing below.

Suspicious, detail, charcoal

Then I did the pastel below.  It was very soon after I had first met him and the ‘St John the Baptist’ expression just did not come out.  However, the painting does capture the peaceful searcher on the spiritual path that Danielle definitely possesses.

The Wanderer, pastel on paper mounted on board, 50cm x 70cm

The first picture in the post, the Florentine, is a head study in the meantime.  When I get back to Florence, I am looking forward to finishing the St. John piece.

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