Community Remains Oil Portrait Number 27
2-hour oil sketch or custom painting oil portrait hand painted from life
BFA thesis original oil paintings project Community Remains in partial requirement for a BFA in Drawing and Painting for Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) and Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC).Read Tali’s 2020 drawing and painting thesis Community Remains here.
I’ve always loved growing things. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t nursing some houseplant Back to life or working in the garden. This professor helped open up the science behind my beloved hobby. She called her lectures stories, and they were! She managed to weave in the history of the universe, anthropology, biology, the history of food, economic impact of important crops, right along with local flora and the geologic history of Oregon in just two short semesters! I’m just in awe every time I see her face and am reminded of all the stuff she managed to cram into my mind! I might not remember all the details and names, but I remember the experience, and important concepts she drilled into us every Thursday evening in her three-hour class.
Getting an accurate likeness of her was a far more challenging experience. Have you ever met someone who doesn’t look like their photographs? Who’s depth of soul and experience can’t be contained in a flatness of a picture? I had this problem painting most of my professors, and several of the students as well. When you see people alive, there are so many facets to them, and one still image doesn’t always capture what it feels like to be in their presence. While a painting or drawing from life represents a longer slice of time that a photograph, the painter still has similar challenges as a photographer in achieving a life-like likeness. The challenge is amplified if the sitter doesn’t like photographs of themselves. While human eyes see differently than a camera, there are certainly similarities between them and the pressure on the painter can be profound. Unlike the photographer, we don’t get to try more that a dozen times for a perfect capture.
Not only did I feel a lot of pressure to do justice to my professor, but she was nervous as well. It’s not always easy to be looked at so intently. My 8 by 8 ft. studio left us cramped, and students walking around couldn’t help but stop bye when they heard this beloved professor was in the building (like most teachers at OCAC, she wasn’t part of our teach-out program at PNCA, so we hadn’t seen her in almost a year). Despite the difficulties, pressures and distractions, I distinctly remember that I could not stop smiling painting this beautiful woman. I had to work on the painting a little longer the next day, relying on memory, and I believe I managed to somehow imbue her image with a little more of her essence than any of the photographs I had taken during our session together. That’s the beauty of painting, even if an artist misses an absolute likeness, something of the experience of being present with their sitter is usually captured in the paint. ~Tali