Laying out the colors on my palette, knowing they are going to tell a story or lift someone's spirits besides my own is a part of the joy of painting. A blank canvas gets my heart a-pumping. What ever the subject, I enjoy the challenge of pushing myself to do better than the last one. Sometimes I amaze myself with what I am capable of. Other times I wonder what happen? Where did I go wrong? It is part of the job I have. Nothing worse than leaving the studio on a downer. Once I pondered that question too much and pulled into traffic without a clear mind... Insurance premiums went up because of that failed painting. Fortunately my spirit was lifted the next day when the model arrived.
Besides models being beautiful, most are energetic, interesting people. Anna, from Hungary, brings an electric charge to the studio with her willingness to work and share her life story. Her love of all thing American makes me aware of things we take for granted. Her childhood was without a father because he was editor of a newspaper while Hungary was fighting for its freedom from Russia. She related stories of police searching their house every month for papers that might promote an uprising. Her mom was a trouble maker with her writings, according to the Russians. While I work away on my painting of Anna she told me stories of her life in Hungary and her life as an exchange student here. When Hungary gained its freedom from Russia her father was released from prison and immediately ran for parliament. He helped her get into the exchange student program. She arrived in Naperville with only a fair ability to speak English and her classmates helped her get through school.
I love her accent and her questions. When she came to pose for me she was working on getting into law school, doing a lot of studying on her own. She had two boyfriends, both lawyers. She used the one's car to drive over to pose for me. Every so often a guy would follow her up to the studio, not to ask her for a date, but to see if she was interested in selling her car. At first she did not know her boyfriends car was not an old beater, but a sought after muscle car he was restoring. I remember when she returned from a trip home she told how she was spoiled from living here in America. Sitting at her grandparents kitchen table, telling them of her life in America, she reach into a bowl of cherry tomatoes and popped a couple into her mouth. Her grandmother yelled, "Those are for dessert!" She'd forgotten how little people had in Hungary.
Over the years I've listen to a lot of stories while painting these lovely young ladies. I have been very fortunate with how I make my living.