When my husband and I went to Paris for the first time, we stayed in a hotel in the ST. Germaine section of town. The hotel was very old and the rooms were very small. Our room was about 12 by 12 feet including he marble bathroom. We had a tiny table and a tiny bed but it was wonderful.
Even though it was small it was impeccably decorated. Every square in was charming. There was even a tiny elevator that could only hold one person and no luggage. You had to clime the stairs to get to your room.
I don’t think it would have been possible for a large person to fit in this hotel.
We had a wonderful French woman who was the maid she would bring up breakfast to us to eat at our tiny tiny desk in the morning. She loaded it up with all sorts of cheese and eggs and pastries so we carried the extra in my purse to eat for lunch. She would get to the hotel at 5 thirty in the morning(right after the streets were washed down) and start the breakfast duties. On the morning we were getting ready to leave for the south of France we were sitting in the lobby when she came to work. She made me an espresso to drink while we waited for the cab. I had not asked for one, she just made me one and I gave her a kiss. She was the most wonderful thoughtful person and although she did not speak a lick of English and my French is not that great we did communicate that morning.
I was just thinking about her this morning and how much love you can transmit with just simple acts of kindness. Especially to strangers .
Sometimes in a strange country, you don’t even know how much you need kindness until you get it.


Let me tell you about something that happens when I get to do a portrait.
When I look at someones face for a long time I start to see things that I did not see at first.
You might think how much can there be to look at. A face is not very big.
How much can there be to see.
What happens when you paint though is you have to look look look at every little thing. The slight upturn in a crinkle at the corner of an eye. The slight variation in the bow of the lip from one side to the other.
We are talking subtle things here.
But these are the little things that add up into what makes the face beautiful. And unique.

A funny things happens to me when I see the actual person I have painted in person. It is shocking. It is like I never saw them before I painted them. But now there they are in the flesh and I feel like I know know know them and nobody has ever seen them like I have.
So I feel close to that person.
I see them. Once I have seen them in this way I feel like they are mine sort of. Like we have a private bond.
And this is the unusual thing that happens.
So it is an privilege to spend time with someone in this most magical time.


When people get their picture taken they usually smile. Smile for the Camera!
When I paint a portrait I look for a non smiling face. Just a relaxed face that is not trying to look PRETTY.
I don’t know why we always have to look so pretty.
The face that I love the best is one that is looking right at me as though they are listening to me tell them something interesting,
I love a contemplative look.
I love to see the shape of your natural mouth and your eyes not all scrunched up in a giant smile.
Even if I am painting a baby I want to see just the whole face unadulterated.
Just you and nothing else added.
My husband is an expert at taking a picture that is the look I want. He knows me and what I am looking for. He can take a pure picture.
Most people have a hard time doing that. They pose and try and look in a fashionable sense but that is not what I want.
I just want to see you.
Your simple face is the most beautiful thing to me.
Every face is a beautiful thing to explore when you are a painter.
Two eyes a mouth and a nose. simple elegance.

A Portrait

I was thinking that there is something radically different about a painting of you than a photograph of you. A photograph captures a second in time. A painting captures the entire essence of you and is very timeless. Even a baby portrait will have all the face that is ever going to be there till the end of your life already visible.
At first I thought baby portraits were not going to be like that but they are like any other portrait.
I am painting a 4 month old baby. First glance well there is a baby but if you look a little bit deeper you can see what her Mom looks like and her Dad and what she will look like all grown up. It is all there.
No portrait is frivolous. They are important statements of your facts. This is your face that you have been given and what you do with that face is up to you.
I think about this too when I am painting someone. All the life that they will live.
I am not looking at how pretty they are but how wonderful just have a unique identity in that face. Each face is wonderful. Each one.
Look and See.

The importance of Importance

Most of our lives are caught up with little things that are really not important.
If you were traveling in the desert and were so thirsty for water and there were only a few drops left in the canteen. you would cherish those drops more than gold.
The thing about life is we don’t know how many drops we have left.
Our canteen might be half full or it might be running on fumes. You don’t know until it is too late. Then those last few drops are really really important and it makes you think how important the other drops were too but we just did not think about it.
To live is such a way as imagining that there are just a few left will revolutionize your life.
Don’t leave anything unsaid. And don’t say anything that is not what you would want to have your last words to be.
Words are the way we express our drops of life and therefore are ultimately important.
To help myself remember this (and I do forget it the second I stop writing this)
I am going to make a visual reminder. Artists are naturally visual so that works for me but you might be more inclined to use some other sense. I
am going to think of a teardrop diamond because that is what we have to work with in this life. each drop is a diamond so precious it should make you cry.

error: Please do not copy.