Simon comes to the studio carrying a cardboard cup of hot coffee in his hand. It is his hands that I want to work on today. There is a vulnerability that I see – ‘feel’ – less in the eyes than in the hands.
His immediate reaction to seeing how the painting has developed is encouraging. His “I like that!” is spontaneous and exclamatory rather than deriving from any sense of politeness. I ask myself how I really feel about this response. Am I pleased? Of course. Does it matter? Not so much perhaps. Does the fact that he likes the painting suggest too that he feels comfortable with it? If so, is this a good thing? Does it reflect the possibility that I have not captured the discomfort that truth in painting often evokes? The nature of portraiture here, in relation to the Doctor:Patient:Doctor project is in question. In my next post I will address the complexity of how I see this particular portrait in more detail.
Our conversation is less in depth than in the first sitting. I need to focus. I am aware of taking more time, of slowing down in order to fully understand the difference between the physical nuances – the ‘identity’ and significance of Simon’s hands and the manner in which I use ‘constructive anatomy’ to draw hands in general. I draw in graphite in my sketchbook . I then ‘place’ the hands in charcoal on the canvas. I will brush in the first layers of paint later on. I do not need Simon here for that.
(Images are work in progress)