Every portrait has its own difficult side which helps me to learn and grow as an artist when I overcome the challenge.
This is a portrait of my friend Pangaea. I found this photo on her facebook page in order to use it as reference for a portrait I wanted to make as a birthday present. I wanted to surprise my friend and as usually couldn’t ask her about good quality photo to reference.
Pangaea is a yoga teacher and a writer. When she published her book Twitch, she used the same photo, but with a different camera angle. I wanted to bring her memories back about this moment in her life and picked a similar picture from the same photo album.
As an artist I get inspired by a number of things every day. I loved this particular photo, because Pangaea looked mysterious and beautiful. I like her hair too, very creative combination of colors. It looked unique and expressive. But there were two major problems with my reference: the photo was very small with few details and it was cropped and cut off part of her head, showing only her face and few strands of hair.
I had to be come with my own interpretation of hair mass, to be able to complete the rest from my imagination. This is why there isn’t total resemblance to the original photo. Besides, I never liked to copy a photo without adding my vision and my interpretation of the personality. To tell the truth, people don’t always understand why I don’t like to make it absolutely identical. But I want to add a little bit of myself during the creative process.
So after some trials with hair strands and adding colours to her outfit (Pangaea was wearing a black dress with open shoulders and I didn’t want to create the impression that she was wearing nothing,) besides the red and burgundy colour of her hair looks very good with contrasting light blue and green in the background. I didn’t do the metal necklace well, I got the result, which more or less looks like the original picture, but doesn’t look like metal. I found it was due to the limitation of my pastel colours though sometimes the bad dancer blames his feet for his own clumsiness, and I blame media (ha-ha).
When the moment came to show my work, I have to confess I had butterflies in my stomach. I showed my work to Pangaea. I held my breath for a second and then exhaled when I saw her smiling. She has a big heart and liked the portrait even with all its imperfections. She put it above her fireplace – the central spot in the room and made my heart sing with success.