Saturday, March 3, 2007

Faith in Shadows

Faith in Shadows, Oil on Canvas, 36x48, Summer 2006
The title is a play on words a bit. The subject’s name is Faith. The fact that her name is Faith means a lot to me, and probably at this point in her life, she may be still growing in to her name and what it means to her or to others. Her name truly defines her to me. On this particular day, she showed up to class wearing an afro wig. It was a day where my class would be painting self-portraits from life. She explained that she wears it to school once in a while just because. In essence, this is how she approaches most things. I admire that and hope she never loses that. The lighting set-up for the class that day was casting a really big shadow behind her, where she herself was somewhat engulfed in darkness, but her persona was casting far beyond her own reach. She has a strength about her so much so that, though she may choose to remain in the shadows as an onlooker, a light exudes from her effortlessly.

Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.--St. Augustine

Solo Jester

Solo Jester, Oil on Canvas, 36x48, Summer 2006
This portrait is of a student named Evan when he was 11 or 12. On the first day I met him, he was entering my class and did not know anyone. Most of the other students had known each other from previous classes or at school. He was new to the group. He was witty and shy. There was a costume rack in the corner of the classroom from which he picked up a jester hat and put it on his head. He caped himself in a red gown and sat, tilting his head down, provoking a solemn look on his face. He is now about 4 years older and still taking classes from me, also having now entered public school instead of being home schooled. He is the same witty character, but is nowhere near as shy. His take on the world is different from most…or perhaps uncomfortably similar to others’, and he wears It on his sleeve. He expresses his outlook openly and frankly, and his wit has the same frankness. It’s something that gets lost as life goes on, when we get told that there are ways to be and not to be. Perhaps no one wants to truly admit that they can relate to a sad solo jester, because then we would be admitting that we are stifling ourselves and have succumbed to being something we were told we should be instead of someone we had aspired to be all on our own. And at 11, this kid already seemed to know the game.