Saturday, May 24, 2014

Faces I Love To Paint

Julie, my beautiful wife. 

The face of a beautiful woman I saw recently. Painted from memory. 

A little more progress:

I'm at Pleiades Gallery this morning, listening to Nina Simone pour her heart out in song over lost loves and tragic lives. No one sings in a way that stirs me more than Nina Simone. Her voice is perfectly beautiful and I'd just like to sit inside of her songs for a while and see what gels in my brain. 

There are some things, like Nina Simone's voice that stop me in my tracks and fill me with what I can only describe as a mix of happiness and longing. One of these, the primary ones are certain faces. Some people I know have a face that I can't stop looking at. My wife is one, my son is another. Mostly women's faces or when I was younger, those of girls I knew. I was very lucky when in my twenties that the women I was involved in were those whose faces I loved. I'm very lucky that I will get to spend the rest of my life looking at Julie's and will Get to see Gabriel's change as he grows up. 

As far back as I can remember I was falling in love with one girl or another. I just wanted to look at them, it brought that feeling in my chest of happiness and longing. I would be completely distracted and just want to stare at them and feel my feelings. This hasn't really changes much since becoming an adult. The thing that has changed though is an understanding that I wasn't really falling in love, I was becoming infatuated. More specifically I was infatuated with their faces and something in them that showed what kind of person they were. I've come to realize more recently that it is the faces of the kindest people I know and it is this kindness that I love. These are the faces I want to paint. Most of my work had nothing to do with people's faces or beauty bit with social issues or human behavior but this is one aspect of my work that I am interested in now. 

A few times in my life I have seen people with this quality and asked to paint or photograph them. Sometimes people have agreed and let me capture their face and other times they've said no. I'm sure in my persistence in trying to get them to let me paint them that I have come across as crazy. In these times I think of other painters and poets who have pursued people and written about them. Most notably, Pablo Neruda's poetry seems rife with longing and admiration for beauty seen but unknown.

I can't be the only person that has this feeling. I've seen movies where someone is so smitten that they act in all sorts of irrational ways. "Love Actually" is one that comes to mind. It's full of characters expressing love and admiration even knowing it is not reciprocated. 

I wrote recently that everyone is crazy. I think the above comes close to describing my own personal craziness. Or maybe it is just an acknowledgement of my truth.  Or, my Achille' heel. 

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