Finding your mark
Most of the members of our portrait group have by now had the pleasure of sitting as model for the afternoon. For those yet to have the pleasure here’s a taste of what it’s like.
Firstly, take a seat, then choose a position that’s (a) comfortable and (b) is liked by the artists opposite you, after all the idea is for them to paint a brilliant portrait of you and they’ll need all the help they can get.
So all you have to do is keep still for three hours … easy peasy!
Well not quite – three hours is quite a while so think of the time in instalments with tea breaks in between. Firstly, to help you keep still, find a place to focus on so you can keep your head in the same position.
I found this mark on the wall opposite which was at eye level and just the right distance to focus on. Then it’s a question of keeping in the same position for as long as you can – in my case I can hold it for about 45 minutes (on a good day) but anything up to half an hour is really OK. A professional model could probably go for an hour or more but of course it depends how difficult the pose is.
So what to do while you’re watching that mark on the wall?
Well, the brain wanders all over the place so I find it quite a good time to organise things in my mind that I have to sort out and maybe create things for the future. Sometimes the same thoughts just go round and round and round. If that’s going to drive you mad, try taking a download of some music, an audio play to listen to through earphones - or maybe bring along a radio for everyone to hear.
Surprisingly, the time goes by quicker than you might expect. And of course it’s fascinating to see the end results with a variety of visual interpretations of your face and personality. Some you may like, others may not be what you anticipated - but all of them completely absorbing.
If you fancy having your portrait painted, do let us know – we’re always on the lookout for a new subject. And you may enjoy a few hours of quiet contemplation watching that odd mark on the wall.
By John Washington, sitter for the day at the October portrait workshop