Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Day's Work


I worked all day in my kitchen on this portrait from a photograph of my cousin Keith as a young man. I have never met him - he is my second cousin and lives in New Jersey. We have corresponded through Facebook.

I set up my laptop with the digital photo of Keith to look at and work from.



I was listening to a mix of music and Radiohead's Lucky came on with the line, pull me out of the plane crash, pull me out of the lake. I had to write some of it.

Keith was in a bad car accident in 2001 and is now paralyzed from the chest down. He is in his late 40's and is wheelchair bound. This picture of him as a beautiful young art student at Cooper Union in the 80's is so moving. It just slays me.








I want to do a full length portrait. I thought I'd see how it feels to work from a photograph and decided to just do a study of the head as a warm up.

I must admit that I cried alot while working on this...

17 comments:

Kara said...

Absolutely breathtaking.

KaHolly said...

I just love seeing the work in progress like that. How unfortunate-his accident and all. Will you send him the portrait when it is complete? ~karen

Kristan said...

Moved me to tears. Thank you Martha for "getting it".... you are so blessed. I found a giggle too... loved the Breyers ice cream break! :)

Kristan said...

By the way...I have another photograph from the same day I suppose...standing similar and wearing a tank top- with a mischievous smirk on his face. I'll try to dig it out for you.

Susan Beauchemin said...

Nice job! How did it feel doing an entire portrait from a photo?
word verification--fludg--did it feel like you were fludging it?

Don Gray said...

Photos are so poignant, aren't they: that frozen moment...ever-moving, ever-changing life crystallized into an eternal instant, reminding us that nothing--including us--stays the same.

Fascinating to watch the stages in development of this drawing.

Deborah Ross said...

Thanks for showing us your process, it's a very moving portrait. I'm you biggest fan, Martha!

Yes, life can change in a second...I, too, am paralyzed, but I try not to let it reduce my creative output. I wonder what Keith has done with art, can you tell us?

Brad Gailey said...

Why is it that we write more about how we make our art and not how our art affects us. Our art is an intersection of the psyche and the physical. Making the marks and the planning, laying-out, the changes as it evolves creates new (paradigms) neural pathways that mentally and physically change us. As artists, with each piece we make, we evolve. How has your art changed you?

Brad

Martha Miller said...

Thankyou, Kara!

Martha Miller said...

Hi Karen

I am creating work for a one woman show in September, and will probably include this portrait along with more new work. I may eventually give this portrait to Keith - or at least a print of it, if he would like that. I plan to do more drawings of him from some other photos...

Martha Miller said...

Hi Kristan

Thanks for dropping in! I do understand how hard it is to see a loved one go through something this traumatic. Moves me to tears, too. Just to set the record straight, I was using the ice cream container to hold paint water! :*) And I would love to see more pics of Keith! xox

Martha Miller said...

HI Sue!

It was fun! No fludging!

Martha Miller said...

Thanks, Don!!!

Martha Miller said...

Hi Deborah

Wow, I had no idea that you are paralyzed! Have you been paralyzed for long? Have you always been an artist?? I have seen a few of Keith's old drawings on-line - I don't know if he is currently creating any art....

Martha Miller said...

Hi Brad

That's a big question and a good one! I will have to ponder that for awhile! That would be a good question to ask on your blog! Hmmmm, How has my art changed me. Thinking...

Dean Grey said...

Gorgeous portrait, Martha! (I adore the photo too!)

Very touching to read and see all of this. You are a wonderful woman.

Were you eating ice cream while creating this piece? LOL

-Dean

Martha Miller said...

Hi Dean!

Thankyou!!!
Yes, isn't that a gorgeous photo? So iconic! No, I was not eating ice cream - I was using the container to wash out my brushes! (Not that I don't eat ice cream!!!)
xox