Resonance In Portraiture

Baby Blue, watercolor, 2005



I sometimes get asked why I don't paint portraits any more. In fact, many of my art friends whom I befriended recently don't even know that that's what I used to do. So I made a little journey down the memory lane and revisited my past portraiture work.


Anticipation, watercolor, 2008

Brazilian Boy, watercolor, 2007


The reason why I switched to landscapes was demand and prolificity. I thrive in a situation where ideas are flooding and paintings happily fall off the brush. That's what happens when I paint landscapes. Portraiture, for me, is a whole different story. I would describe the process as one of profound aloneness.

I get a similar feeling from looking at still images of people, or at brushmarks on paintings of masters. Traces of someone's presence. The idea of an individual standing against the grand - eternity, humankind, universe. Resonance with something absent, that we know is or was alive and dear.

Resonance is one of the intriguing mysteries of science. Nikola Tesla is a national hero where I come from, and his experiments with resonance are still considered futuristic and inexplicable. I think of the process of portraiture as of releasing life from materials. In  my mind, the image picks up a lifeline resonance from the artist's ability to accurately strike the right cord.

It is a unique feeling that I get from seeing a pale face emerge from the paper, layer by layer, trying to say something to me. I don't paint eyes until the very end - I don't think I could bear their stare.

There is always a sense of love, sorrow, and betrayal in a finished portrait. As if I have enticed the image, but failed to fulfill some promise.



Timeless Beauty, watercolor, 2004

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