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an artist's blog

Bettina again, now in living color

How I enjoyed painting this most familiar face. Painting her almost felt like reliving a memory—or more accurately, a thousand memories, glimpses subconsciously catalogued and brought to life. There is a lot a portrait cannot capture—a person's voice, their smell, the way their hair fluoresces in the evening sun or the cool of their skin fresh from the ocean—but for those who know the subject, a static rendering can evoke deep, wordless things. Looking at a painting of a loved one is so different from looking at a stranger; in the first is history, the second, speculation. Many of the things learned by painting the familiar come less like revelation and more like remembrance. It's a fun trick of the mind to contemplate.

Oil on linen, 2017.

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