Portrait of Samantha

Medium: Charcoal and white pastel on paper

Size: 70 x 50 cm

Date: 1989

I find drawing portraits a fascinating process and my favourite medium is charcoal plus pastels. Charcoal suits my sightly impatient nature and the ability to smudge and shade with such a soft material I find physically and stylistically gratifying. A portrait drawn from life gives a very different outcome from one drawn from a photograph. A photo is an instant of frozen time, whereas a drawing from a live sitter allows the person to settle into the pose and daydream away. The face is therefore more relaxed and often looks more unguarded – the mask slips and a glimpse of the real emerges. The finished picture can be a surprise to the sitter as they may never have seen themselves in this way before. Not everyone finds this a comfortable experience.

The sitter in this drawing was a young woman I knew when I lived in North Wales. She was a friend for a time, but like so many people I knew before the advent of ‘social media’, we lost touch and I don’t know what subsequently happened in her life.