Yesterday I met June Mendoza at a party. I had the opportunity to talk to her for 10 minutes before she moved on to speak to our host. She had a narrow escape as I would have kept going for longer. But I guess she saw that coming!!
I must admit that I knew June was going to be there as I had seen the guest list. She had also painted the portrait shown here which I had seen many times, of our host 50 years ago on the occasion of her 40th birthday. Now my lovely mother-in-law is ninety (well not quite, not until 11th Nov).
June has painted many famous faces. She works mainly in oils and has not used digital. If others work from photographs she is of the view that the exercise is pointless “May as well stick to the photo”. She takes a lot of care choosing the right clothes for the portrait even going through their wardrobes beforehand – including Princess Diana’s. “Taking note of their expressions and body language to bring out their character” is important.
We discussed Stephen Farthing’s assertion that the difference between drawn art and computer art is “truth” (see my earlier blog). I was seeking reassurance that my intended digitally inspired works were truthful. June said that what you see and observe is “truth”, and “if the subject moves, stop”. She advised me to spend 3 weeks in a cafe observing and drawing the character’s I saw there.
And then she was off. I was left reassured that as long as I observed well and drew from life, that my work could be truthful.
That at least works for my first two projects.
Not sure that it does for the others, unless I take my scans into the studio and draw over them from the model in front of me in the same position. Will I ever get to that level of proficiency with the graphics tablet and pen? To even attempt that I would also have to get a very expensive Wacom Cintiq Companion 2, which allows you to work independently from your main computer. Sadly I cannot afford one!