Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jean Sullivan "Steve and Henry"

I painted this as a Christmas present for my husband's and my cousin, Steve.  I had taken a drawing class last summer and got interested in portraiture, but had done nothing with it for 
months.  We exchange names in our extended family of relatives and friends and I made a deal with the person who made the slips so that I would get Steve's name.  I had taken a photo of Steve and Henry, which I liked quite a bit and thought would make a good painting.  then, when I started on the painting I began to lose confidence.   I spent days sketching and trying to get a good likeness.  I almost gave up, and told myself I could just get Steve a book or CD or something if the painting didn't work out.  Finally, I deliberately told Margaret, Steve's wife, what I was doing.  I knew once I told her, I wouldn't be so likely to bag it.  The painting took about three weeks to finish.  It was during the snow storms just before and after Christmas.  Paul, my husband was home on vacation and told me to just concentrate on the painting; he'd take care of everything else.  He came out to my studio daily and gave me lots of encouragement.  At some point I decided it was going to be okay.  It wasn't until after New Year's day that I finally convinced myself to take the painting off the easel and frame it.  The tears on Steve's eyes when he saw the painting told me all I needed to know.  It was a real turning point for me.  It was the first time I felt I had been able to translate a strong emotion into my art. It gave me the motivation to keep exploring and challenging ,myself.  And it taught me that I had a lot to learn about color.
Jean Sullivan
Age: 68
"Steve and Henry"
Soft Pastel 14" x 20"
December 2008-January 2009