Art That Remembers


. . . a vexing activity at times. Unfortunately, the older I get, the more vexing it becomes.

Alain de Botton and John Armstrong in their book, Art as Therapy, name remembering as one of the seven functions of art.  It helps us “hold on to things we love when they are gone.” They clarify this even further when they point out what in particular we want to remember. Not form as much as personality and essence.

The work of the portrait artist, our great dilemma, is how to best communicate the person. What to include, what to lose? What to exaggerate in order to pull out a necessary quality?

There always comes a moment, the most supremely delightful moment when somehow, slipping around the canvas in a gloppy pile of pigment, where I sigh in relief, “Ah . . . there you are.” I have in my bumbling ineptitude, stumble upon their vital essence.