Portraits + Landscapes

Portraits + Landscapes

Portraits are to daily faces
As an evening west
To a fine, pedantic sunshine
In a satin vest.
Emily Dickinson

Hm. Well. These two portraits may not be quite what Emily had in mind. But I get what she means. When we put our creative impressions on something– on anything– we start to see it in new ways, and hopefully our audience does too. If we can absorb our focus there, trying to reflect something we can’t really express, we tend to leave bits of ourselves there too– in the words, in the melody, on the canvas.

In each picture is a whole lifetime imprisoned, a whole lifetime of fears, doubts, hopes, and joys. Whither is this lifetime tending?
Vasily Kandinsky

Regardless of what the final piece turns into, the process of recording and interpreting what we see, observe, feel or imagine– it transcends the ordinary. We unravel something we aren’t sure of. Hopefully, along the way, we stop trying to check the box or solve the problem (whatever that thing was that drove us into this). We grow more comfortable with the blurry act of simply making something out of nothing.

I haven’t scribbled out all that many portraits in my life, but every time I do, I feel a strange sense of connection with what I’m seeing. I almost believe I can connect with and pay homage to that whole extraordinary being I’m observing. I almost feel I’m recording the entire imperfect, impermanent life before me, which is at the same time oddly mine too. A life full of what all our lives are made of: sadness and struggles and joys and beauty.

Almost… not quite.

But it’s the effort that gets me out of my everyday, out of my apathy, out of myself. And that’s the kind of adventure that makes life worth living, even if I never leave my desk.

So on this overcast day in late January, I send you wishes for your own creative adventures. I wish for you the opportunity to look at something close by and look hard, really study it. That problem or idea you’re pondering, that view out your window, that stranger’s face. Then do all you can to try to express it. The transformation– of both you and it– will be worth it.

12 Responses

  1. This is so true! I think to see through the eyes of the artist is to see the whole world in a new and more profound way. Thank you for your wonderful insights, and for your delightful amazing portraits! Your blog is such a gift.

  2. I find this short reflection of your as equally beautiful as your portraits. You are as gifted a writer as you are an artist. Thank yo so much for these eloquent words and – which in such a short space gets at so much about the reality of life, existence, being human, etcetera as well as what is really worth putting our best efforts into… You continue to amaze me – at your many talents. What strikes me most about the above portraits are the expressions on their faces, and their eyes. Truly extraordinary – where you went with those. Who are the portraits of? Thank you, again, for sharing your wisdom and beauty with us, Sarah… They convey, in some ways, what the process of writing does for me too – at least less newsy/journalistic types of writing, when I attempt those…

    1. Thanks so much! These are a compilation of people, plus a little made up. I appreciate your comments and support. I hope you are writing something fun!

  3. So great, Sarah. Fantastic. You really captured the human element in these portraits. The first thing I thought is “What are they thinking?” And I think that’s the same question I ask myself about the creatives I’ve met like you! Your mind is such a wonderful landscape; I look forward to exploring more of it through your sketches!! You’ve even inspired me to take up drawing again. For that, I’m extremely grateful.

    1. Hi Song! Thanks so much for taking a look and for your kind comment! I hope you and yours are doing well and that you are making your beautiful art. Would love to catch up sometime.

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