Portrait of an emotion

Avenue Road school for the arts. Martha Johnson’s teaching.

It was a terrible night to be out rain on slush, and a thunderstorm brewing. So only a few came out to paint and draw.

Martha had a dream of something very interesting to bring to the class.  The students all waited while she told me in secret what she wanted.  Four poses for portrait gesture, five minutes each being joyful happy.  This was interesting because for me it is difficult to hold a smiling pose that doesn’t hurt after a while and also feel false. So to bring the energy into the pose and make it true was a challenge.

Then she asked me to do four poses with grief and sadness in mind. This was easier for me to hold and to keep the energy required to keep the pose true. She also asked me to make each one progressively more intense.

Like actors do I called upon my own experience to bring validity to the emotion. This was so successful that I was almost moved to tears.

The last pose was the most intense and one student found it very difficult to draw. She just wanted to come over and hug me and comfort me through what ever I was feeling.

The work that came from this was absolutely wonderful.

A very enlightened and interesting night for me.