Monday, July 1, 2013


 “I didn’t even have a name for her, shade or human, 
but I didn’t need one to know her.”

-- Shannon A. Thompson, Minutes Before Sunset

Face (detail), acrylic paint and marker on paper 7-1-13

"I discovered about 150 dots is the minimum number of dots 
to make a specific recognizable person.
You can make something that looks like a head, with fewer dots,
 but you won't be able to give much information about who it is."
-- Chuck Close

Face, acrylic paint and marker on paper 7-1-13

 “Who are you?"
"No one of consequence."
"I must know."
"Get used to disappointment.”

-- William Goldman, The Princess Bride

"Who is that supposed to be?"

I seriously hate that question.

As a kid, when I'd draw or paint a face, and someone asked "Who is that supposed to be?" I always felt a little deflated. Even when it was just an innocent question, it felt like an insult. Like judgment. Like the subtext of the question was really something like, "I can't tell who it is, so I don't think it's very good."

Because very often, it wasn't supposed to be anyone in particular. Not a specific someone. Nobody recognizable.  It wasn't even meant to be good. Or bad. Or anything.

Often, it was just a face. Just an exercise.  A sketch. Just me playing with lines and planes and angles and shading and medium and space and whatever.

When I go to a museum and look at the paintings of unnamed people, I don't automatically ask "Who is that supposed to be?" I don't really need to know who the model was in order to appreciate and enjoy the work. And even when I do know who it is, it doesn't always matter. Knowing "who" doesn't add to or detract from my experience with the piece. In fact, anonymity helps me enter into the work.


Today's face isn't supposed to be anybody.

It isn't supposed to be good, or bad, or anything.

It's just supposed to be.