I often paint people who are dear friends, but for Robert Lange Studios' upcoming group show, Evolution, I have drawn a subject very close to me - my father. Here are my interpretations of him in 1992 and now in 2013:
The Artist's Father, 1992, Amy Lind - Age 8 (February 6, 1992)
11" x 8.5"
The Artist's Father, 2013, Amy Lind - Age 29 (February 6, 2013)
14.5" x 14.5"
The evolution of my artistic ability so far as well as the inevitable evolution of life can be seen in the juxtaposition of two drawings I have done of my father - one when I was eight years old and one at my current age of 29.
My childhood drawing describes the form in simple terms, whereas the addition of elements such as light play a big role in my current work. My artistic journey during the 21 years in between these two drawings has gone from simple definition of form, to hyperrealistic, and then back towards a more simplified approach combining elements of both styles. At one point, I was preoccupied with fully rendering every inch of my picture plane as "accurately" and "realistically" as possible, thinking that including every precise detail was the best way to portray my subjects. However, I have since intentionally moved away from that mindset into what I feel is a more sophisticated way of depicting my subjects. One that allows for more expression, and one in which I use a variety of marks and techniques such as sharpening and softening edges to selectively focus the viewers attention. Besides, the phenomenon of visual recognition, in which our brain can fill in the gaps and immediately recognize something with just a few basic shapes, is evident in my first drawing. Specifically, the human mind is so in tune with the human figure that it is not necessary to depict every last detail.
Perhaps more fascinating than the maturing of my drawing skills as seen through these drawings, is the apparent aging of my father. In the first drawing he was 41 years old and he is now 62. At 41, I was compelled to capture the contrasting shapes of his black hair and smooth skin. My dad still has the same overall profile, but his hairline has moved a bit further back exposing more of his forehead now. The details of his aging skin have become an area of interest. His beard has since changed from black to mostly white. In both of these drawings, however, my eye first goes to his eye. And in it you can still see his same, beautiful soul.
Hope you get a kick out of my highlighter/red pen signature in my childhood drawing! ;) Look forward to seeing you at the show opening tomorrow!