Portrait of a Lady

“Every time I paint a portrait I lose a friend”

-John Singer Sargent

Funny quote there from Mr. Sargent. I think we all know what he’s implying about the nature of portraiture, artists and sitters, honesty, and, well, delicate egos. Christine Beck, however, can rest assured that I shall happily remain her friend after this portrait she painted of me over the summer. In fact, I think I’m officially her best friend! I was posing for John Wellington’s class at the New York Academy of Art, and while all of John’s students did a marvelous job during the eight sessions, Christine created a work of great sensitivity and depth.

This was a standing pose and not nude. But Chris wisely followed her artistic instincts and decided to paint just my portrait. Portraiture inhabits its own exclusive category of art, as it should, since portrait painting brings it’s own set of unique challenges. Based on the above quote, John Singer Sargent understood those challenges well, and apparently suffered the consequences! Poor guy.

Maybe it’s because I’m a professional art model, or just reasonably secure as a person, but I have rarely seen portraits of myself that I’ve found offensive or insulting. In my entire career, I can recall maybe two or three that were, let’s say seriously unflattering. (I’m not including the ones that were just badly painted because that would be unfair.) But I can see how a non-model person, especially a vain one, would have sensitivity issues with artists’ renderings of them.

By the way, I didn’t choose this post title to be a smartass. I am a lady. No, really I am. I am, I swear! Yeah, that’s right. Everyone stop laughing!! I iz a lay-deee, dammit!!! 😆

So let’s celebrate the wonders of portrait painting, and contradict the great John Singer Sargent. Here I am by Christine Beck. Thanks Chris!

9 thoughts on “Portrait of a Lady

  1. doug from Canada says:

    Hi Claudia, you’re looking good as always, it would be impossible to paint you in any other light. Forever golden.

  2. DaveL says:

    Beautiful portrait of a beautiful lady…

  3. You know, I really love this! It’s stylized, but I think it’s stylized just right to mix some parts you, and some parts type, in a really expressive and personal painting. Thanks for posting it – and congrats on inspiring so much exciting work!!!

  4. ray says:

    I think this is a beautiful portrait of you in it’s own right..Young , Golden and thru a sensitive artiist.

  5. Stephen says:

    This is so beautiful Claudia – thanks for your encouraging observations about portraiture. I have not done many but each one seems to have caused some pain. For me, I know it is a skill thing, but for JSS this just was not an issue and your post resolves this nicely.
    For me, your lady-ness is beyond doubt – only you bring so much more… (o:

  6. At first I felt this was too stylized, but upon careful reflection I have to strongly disagree with my self and side with Daniel M’s; “…I think it’s stylized just right to mix… a really expressive and personal painting.”

    • artmodel says:

      Daniel, Ray, Stephen, and Jim,

      Thanks all of you for your comments! It was a pleasure reading your thoughts on Christine’s portrait. I was proud to post it and share it with my readers.


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