I’m working on my last hat portrait. It’s about half way done so this is a progress “report” if you will.
That is my last hat portrait that has a person in it. It’s not the last for all time. It’s just until I can find another good image to paint. Until such time I am going to paint the hats without people in them.
This hat portrait is of a Dutch friend who lives in Sweden. I’m calling it “The Woodsman” and he is that. It’s a rather difficult subject because of all the little details in the clothing/hat and lesser so in the background. I’ve had to decide what to keep and what not to keep. The face I got right away.
“If you want to identify me, ask me not where I live, or what I like to eat, or how I comb my hair, but ask me what I am living for, in detail, ask me what I think is keeping me from living fully for the thing I want to live for.”
― Thomas Merton
When I “finish”a painting it’s always an arbitrary point in time. Truthfully, I could always keep working on a painting. But if I let the work speak to me it always says at some where along the line, “Stop here. I’m good.” Of course, then I step back and think “well, I could keep going on that corner” or some such thing. When I look at this felt hat painting I have that thought. But then I have a second thought. It’s “what did I set out to accomplish?” With this one I wanted to give everything to the face, hat and hand. And I did. And it came out the way I wanted it to. I think about the great portrait painters like John Singer Sargent. He felt comfortable with slapping on the paint in great swirls and gestures everywhere except in one chosen area. If Mr. Singer feels comfortable doing that, well, so do I.