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My First Artistic Love

From the time I first realized that I had this magical ability to create art my favorite thing to do was to draw portraits. I’m very interested in faces, and in-spite of our youth obsessed culture I’ve always really liked the older faces better. There is something very appealing to me about the lines that age has created. When I was a little girl sitting in church I would examine the faces of the people on the return walk from receiving Communion. Based on what I saw I would decide if I thought the person was mean or nice. My Dad was pretty strict about behavior in Mass, we weren’t supposed to look around, we were supposed to look pious and stare straight ahead. At one point the three of us older girls had red winter coats with large attached hoods. In those days girls were required to cover the heads during the service, but with the red coats we could turn our heads inside without my Dad noticing. I don’t think there is anything more thrilling to a kid than thinking that they are putting something over on their parents. We were quite amused by ourselves.

I began to draw portraits in March of 1974. You may think its strange that I not only know exactly when, but also exactly who. It was Mia Farrow, she was dressed as Daisy Buchanan from the Great Gatsby. A few years ago when “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” had its first million dollar winner I was beyond excited. The final question, the one that would make the contestant a millionaire, was “Who graced the cover of the first People Magazine?” I knew the answer, it was the portrait of Mia Farrow that I drew. When I wanted to get into the art program in high school I used that portrait as an example of what my ability was. My parents wouldn’t let me take art. Heading into my junior year I had decided to take matters into my own hands. The teacher saw that portrait amongst other things and let me skip the first year of art. Later for my Art 3 senior project I drew a couple of portraits of the guys in the band Chicago. Although it was an all girl high school, it wasn’t the girls who went crazy for the portraits, it was the teachers. I think I actually gave the portrait of Robert Lamb to one of them. For years I drew from magazines, I loved the beautiful faces of the models. Later I began to make money drawing portraits of the children of people I worked with. I really don’t do enough drawing anymore, and particularly portraits. Tonight when I wasn’t sure what project I wanted to do I decided to return to my first artistic love, the portrait. This is Mia. She is the incredibly cute daughter of a friend. I’m not quite finished, I started a little late this evening, but I think I have a good head start. Of course with a subject this adorable it would be hard to go wrong.

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