Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Case Study #4 - Joan Playing a Keyboard

"Joan Playing a Keyboard" - 30 x 24. Oil on canvas.
I have been wanting to do an oil portrait of a woman with NF. This is not an easy task to do. Men seem more willing to help out or at least follow through with the correspondence. Several women I asked came up with all sorts of excuses:

FIRST LAY IN OF COLOR 2-22-13
30 x 24
oil on canvas
"I am not interesting enough..LOL"
"I am not feeling well today"
"I don't have a nice camera"
"I'm just really busy right now with school and work"
"I don't think I would be an interesting subject"

It only takes a few inquiries to realize that women are the masters of not being able to say "no" so they creatively stall hoping to avoid the conversation.

UPDATED...(not finished). 3-31-13
30 x 24
oil on canvas

Or maybe they would like to have it done, but they are so busy raising a family, having a career that the idea of getting someone to take pictures of themselves doing what they enjoy doing is not a priority. Or it could be that they would be too embarrassed to ask a friend to take pictures because then they would have to say "This lady in Omaha wants to paint my portrait" and who knows if they are nervous about how friends and family might react.

So, it was time to get a little more creative. And then it struck me. I am asking the wrong people. Why not ask the spouse instead? A supportive spouse is the best arsenal for an artist painting portraits. So, I contacted Larry and told him I wanted to paint his wife playing her keyboard.

I have painted both Larry and Joan Hollis. They both have NF1. I painted Larry first and then painted his wife later. They both fund raised this past year to help raise awareness for NF. In fact, I donated money to their campaign as well. It is also rather interesting to meet a husband and wife who both have NF. At least they both intimately know what their partner is going through instead of just trying to guess at it.

Joan Hollis
Larry Hollis
Larry took tons of photos. Then he retook photos based on my suggestions. Then he retook them again because the resolution wasn't clear enough for me to really see Joan's face. In short, Larry had the patience of Job with me while I kept emailing him back saying "different light, don't have her look at the camera, can you do this again?" He was so willing to help and never complained when I told him his pictures weren't quite what I was after. Art directing a photo shoot via FB messages is not an easy task by an stretch.

Finally, I got some really good images. And, I am happy to say I finally am getting a woman involved in these oil portraits. Now, let's hope she likes it!