Portraiture means many things to many people. I’ve often heard it described by peers and friends as a celebration of beauty. Beauty is definitely something we all need more of, particularly in the current global crisis. What we don’t need more of is the endless superficiality – there’s plenty of this surrounding us already.
Portraiture can be ugly too. There is beauty in everything, but sometimes we need to identify the ugly to see the beauty. It can also be purely entertaining or deeply profound. Crafting a person or pet portrait can make an immediate, readily understood impact, or require a major effort of understanding on the part of a viewer. Often the less pencil marks I add to the paper, the longer the accompanying emotional impact seems to grow.
I often think about portraits, and particularly the way a portrait can help people think about art, and how to understand it as the application of technique and creativity to a subject to make you see the real truth of it. The often familiar features of a cat, dog, grandparent or young child for example, become new features seen in a different way. We see something we thought we knew differently and are forced to think about it afresh. I love how it can turn perceptions on their heads and make viewers see something or even face-up to something we had not wanted to see, or never appreciated before. Better still, it can make viewers see something in the subject they barely saw at all.
Most of the time my own hand-drawn pencil portraits of people, pets and everyday life are about celebrating the love or admiration we have for one another. This can be be on a personal level where someone wants to commission a portrait as a gift or lasting memory. Or it could be in recognition of more personal achievements, and celebrating the accomplishment through the medium of pencil. Every now and again I am given the opportunity to draw something that sparks real emotion and celebration, from achieving military honors, a milestone birthday, or simply a devotion to a person or pet.
If you’re looking to share beauty, love or admiration, let me help you see things in a subject you never noticed before. Commissioning a pencil portrait is easy, simply send me a few photos and an idea of what you’re looking for, and I’ll help you celebrate something wonderful through the art of pencil portraiture.
I’m often asked if pets, particularly dogs need any pet training to achieve the best photo for me to draw from. The truth is, pets are pets, they are all independent and part of their personality is simply doing what they want. My advice is to simply take your time, and wait for the best moment in a well lit environment to get the best photo of your pet, but special training isn’t really needed 🙂