Portrait of Robin – A Study in Faces
Posted on 22 May 2010
Portrait of Robin. Pencil on paper. A very beautiful young woman I have had the pleasure to meet. The interesting thing about this pic aside from the subject is what happened when I went in to clean up the photograph made from my phone. Notice the subtle colors and texture of the paper. Serendipitous Photoshopage to be sure.
This is my third “serious” drawing in a month. I have always been drawn to faces. Woman’s faces to be honest. There was always a reason for that. I usually end up drawing women I find amazingly beautiful and of course girl crushes. The magical essence of a women has captivated me my entire life. SO I draw what I like and love.
What better form of self expression than to draw your dreams. In art school I took a couple years of figure drawing. The body is easy. Hands and feet are always hard to capture without mangling the perception. Faces are in fact the hardest thing to draw. And yes I am going to tell you why.
Our brains are essentially very powerful facial recognition systems. When it comes to subtle, yet significant details no computer can match what the human brain can see in the human face. Our face is the most significant part of our identity between Homo Sapiens. Expressions change in very subtle to very dramatic ways. My computer (brain) is tuned to picking out the softer curves and subtle beauty in women. To this day I am never fully satisfied with what I have drawn. I can immediately see the mistakes when the subject or a picture is available to do a comparison.
Eyes too high or too low in the skull. Lips to hard edged. Nose wrong shape. The list of FAIL goes on. But what is more important is that it is not necessarily the intent to make a perfect copy of the subject. So yes her eyes may be a 32nth of an inch to far apart. Our brains will see this almost immediately if we are familiar with the subject. The work of art is flawed in the very first stroke of the pencil.
Or is it?
As an artist my intent is to capture the beauty of the person or subject. While some artists pride themselves on their amazing technical ability to capture a near photographic duplication of their subject. Realists. I am more than happy to make subtle and often accidental changes. This is interpretation. Sometimes it pays to enhance a feature. I love the eyes so I always make them bigger than reality.
When I complete a drawing to my own satisfaction I have put to paper my own vision of the world passed through my eyes, post processed by my brain and executed by my own hands. Every point of interaction is a point of failure or a point of immeasurable success in creating a work of art that is uniquely mine and mine alone.