Thursday, September 11, 2014

Little Oscar, At the Edge of the Wild

Now that this large portrait of a small boy is finally finished, it is time to tell its story.

Seven years ago, my grandson, Oscar, was visiting here in Maine. Not quite two years old, and very active, he was for a short while on this particular day, agreeable to sitting for some photographs. I was taking the photos for the purpose of drawing a portrait, and was happy with the assortment I got, especially the ones where he was sitting on the big rock in my back yard. There was something about the images that kept calling me back to look at them again and again.

When I say "again and again", I really mean it. This what happened, repeatedly, over several years:
1. I would see the images in my file of reference photos.
2. I would be compelled to begin the portrait project.
3. I would think about the dimensions necessary to convey the feeling I wanted to evoke. 4. I would decide to begin it at a later date.

O.K. I am leaving out some important stuff in that description. What really was happening was this:
1. I would see the images and immediately be hit (hard!) in the gut with... what? Love? Longing? Whatever it was, it was powerful.
2. I would be excited, with butterflies in my stomach, to get started.
3. I would be afraid and nauseous, doubting my ability to actually accomplish what my mind's eye and my heart  could see so clearly.
4. I would relieve all of the aforementioned symptoms by keeping the project in the "later" category.

I had almost decided that too much time had passed, and it would be silly to do a portrait of a toddler when Oscar is really such a big guy now. I told myself that I had missed my chance to complete it in a timely fashion, as if there was a statute of limitations on such things. Little debates on the matter were happening in obscure back corners of my brain. It finally hit me that I needed to do this.

So, last February, I ordered my 24 x 36 inch Pastelbord, and took the plunge. Seven months later, Little Oscar, At the Edge of the Wild, is complete. During the process, I experienced many bouts of gut-wrenching love, longing, butterflies, and nausea, among other maladies. I'm sure there will be remnants of all of these as the work is exhibited for the first time, next Tuesday at the opening reception of my show in Portsmouth.

(24x36", colored pencil on Pastelbord, acrylic varnish)

1 comment:

CrimsonLeaves said...

Liz, you did an amazing job on this portrait. I thought it was a photograph quite honestly. He is a gorgeous little guy too.