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361) Get our portrait drawn 11 Jan 2013

Our progress shots just came in from friend, Laura Heany, last night. Even in their half-realized stages, I’m in awe of her craft. Over the years and through operating Labspace Studio, John and I have met and worked with so many talented artists. But to help us achieve this particular to-do, we knew exactly who we’d be calling first.

Not only does Laura have a supreme technical ability, she has an almost unearthly way of capturing her subjects, of peeling away their layers to reveal a deeper, more mysterious essence about them, one that can’t be revealed in pixels alone. I find this fascinating.

I’m also intrigued by anyone who can achieve such extreme focus and care in their work. These are the people I often admire. The people who thrive in silence and stillness and who are comfortable in the act of being alone; I think they’re a rare breed these days.

Laura, if you’re reading, I wonder what it feels like to stare at someone’s face so intensely? Is there a process you go through, perhaps beyond the technical, that allows you to bring your subjects to life? (Feel free to comment below. I’d love to know.)

*We’ll be posting Laura’s finished drawings on Sunday (the very last day of our 365 project!). Come back and check them out. You can also view more of Laura’s work over on her website.

Update: Finals are up! And they’re magnificent.

2 Responses

    Flora says:

    My friend, artist Barbara Muir lives in Toronto and paints gorgeous portraits of people. She draws too and did a lovely drawing of Oprah via Skype and was on the show a couple of years ago.
    Barbara’s website is:

    Great blog and wonderful idea!

    Laura Heaney says:

    These are great questions, I had to take a minute before I knew how to respond to them… I think this answer will address both of your questions simultaneously.

    I’ve tutored a little bit here and there over the years, so I understand how intimidating drawing faces can be. You want your drawing to look like a photograph of that person. I think the main thing people get hung up on when drawing is their approach, they start drawing with their minds rather than with their eyes. What I mean by that, is as we grow we’re taught that a sun is a round ball with lines coming out of it, or that a bird flying in the sky is an M. The same can be said for facial features. People can get so hung up on how they think their subject’s nose should look, or how an eye is shaped, that they forget to actually look at the person/photo in front of them and draw those individual’s unique features.

    For myself, I’ve learned to tune out all of my “learned information” so when I’m drawing someone all I see is their shapes, shadows and contrasts. It’s almost like my mind can get lost in its left side, which for me is a very calm place, so I loose track of time and space while I’m drawing and the next thing I know I’ve just spent 8 hours working. I think when you can become that invested and lost in your subject, something, as you said, “beyond the pixels” appears; I’m happy to attribute it to the human touch.

    Thanks again Laura and John for including me in this project. I’m honoured that you thought of me to draw your portraits… now I just have to finish them.