Lisa in Love
This painting is about my gorgeous friend Lisa who recently fell in love- although it almost didn’t make it through.
Lisa is one of the most kind hearted people I know – she is an artist- ceramicist, illustrator and maker of things.
I had painted a few of my friends and it occurred to me that I wanted to paint Lisa too- so I asked her. Lisa doesn’t even like her photo being taken so a portrait was a big deal. Luckily she accepted my invitation to be painted.
We often meet for coffee on a weekend morning, so that’s where this painting is set. I’m usually just out of bed but Lisa has already done the weekly shop and few other jobs. We meet, we chat, we laugh- but this time I take photographs too. This time she’s also in love- young new love- you know the kind.
I wanted this painting to be special for lots of reasons- firstly I love her and wanted to paint her as the beautiful woman she is. Secondly, I wanted to capture this special moment in her life, as I had a sneaky feeling ‘he may be the one’- the energy of that is amazing.
Apart from capturing the person I purposely included the coffee cup and coffee shop environment. Life is so busy nowadays that real conversation, in person, away from work and other distractions is now becoming quite scared. The coffee shop, however commercial, is thus a special place.
I worked on the painting over weeks- getting the finer details of her face and laugh line- I thought it was one of my best. I let it dry and then wrapped it up and put it away.
Lisa didn’t see the painting until my recent exhibition a couple of weeks ago even though I did it in the summer. She did approve I think – although we have yet to chat about it properly.
It would be great if the story ended there- but it doesn’t. As I was preparing for the exhibition and took out the painting- their was something slightly off- the shoulders looked too small and a little awkward. I decided to work on it some more.
This is always a very risky thing to do as you can wreck a painting. But I asked myself- am I proud to hang it on the wall? With the bugs that I could see the answer was no- so it went back on the easel for another 2 days. What I thought would be a some small adjustments grew into something bigger- as you change one thing you often have to change another. I thought I had wrecked it- but I brought it back. This second painting was a little different to the first- but not enough to warrant a renaming. Also no one else had seen it.
Sometimes I wish I would just leave things. I wrote in my studio journal that evening ‘I think I try too hard. Appreciate your art more. It’s good as it is’ So in the end this painting wasn’t just about Lisa it was about me too. I have a few things to learn: being softer and kinder to myself and my art for one. This painting almost didn’t make it through- but I am so glad it did.