Tag Archives: distress

Distress Call : A Portrait

Along with colleagues, I’ve been helping to soak up a stressful situation at work lately. It’s been hard – trying to look out for one another and look out for myself too. Over the weekend I ran and gave away some art, spent some lovely time with family too, yet in the background, the stress remained.

On Saturday night, still looking for a release, I opened a few tubes of paint and using only my fingers, I painted a portrait. Portraiture is alien to me, as is not using a brush, and I struggled to make an image.

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Unhappy with what I’d made, I nevertheless left the portrait to dry overnight.

On Sunday I felt no happier with the work in its original form, and I returned to it. After a few more fingerfuls of paint, here’s where I got to.

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I shared this image on Facebook and was a little surprised by the favourable responses. I had been looking to paint a distressed face – what I see is something more stern, more resolute. Although I felt a little happier with this adapted version, I was still mindful to overpaint this canvas, obliterating the distress call.

The day went on. I slowly relaxed, and as I did – I felt closer to the image on the canvas. By Sunday evening I had decided that this canvas should not be overpainted, not for now at least.

This last photo shows the canvas framed by shadow in the Monday morning sunlight. In this photo you can really see the scars in the face, which are a coincidence left behind from a previous painting onto which I painted this one.

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My distress call will remain in the studio for now. I certainly feel a lot better for having him around.

Footnote

I mentioned the distress call portrait is painted over another image. I thought you might be interested to see what lies beneath…

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Elements of this earlier work were initially inspired by a visit several years ago to the Picasso Museum in Malaga. A friend remarked, ‘the [earlier] painting had me thinking about how Picasso and others around the turn of the 20th century were inspired by African artefacts and masks. Maybe they were meant to be together…?’