Works in Progress

Finished Portrait: Kalervo

portrait of Kalervo

The final sitting was on Sunday. I put my brushes down after a couple of hours in conversation and observation, and invited Kalervo to inspect the portrait. He looked like he had to steel himself before walking around the side of the easel. He took a minute to take it all in, and then commented on the fact that he had a bit of a stern look. We discussed this for a while, my mother and husband included (the baby just grinned, he didn't throw in his normal commentary on my work "Babababa! Rrrrrrrrrrr!"). Rather than be concerned about the stern look, Kalervo was satisfied that I had captured the expression other people usually associate with his character.


Kalervo portrait after sitting 5

Last Sunday I had my mother over to babysit while Kalervo sat for his portrait. What really happened was that my husband watched the baby while my mother had a spirited conversation with Kalervo in the studio and I painted. I had to play a game of musical chairs with them to get the arrangement and Kalervo's line of sight just so. As the baby chose not to sleep the night before I suffered some serious eye-and-brain fatigue during the session, so I didn't get a good look in. There will be one more sitting this coming Sunday, and maybe Kalervo will dare to peek at the painting at the end of it.

A note on his shirt - he wore it to the first sitting (and all subsequent sittings have been in some sort of black t-shirt), and I was intrigued by the witty tag line from the Finnish Red Cross (Punainen Risti): "GIVERIGHTNOW". "Veri" is the Finnish word for blood, and I think it's a pretty clever combination of English-Finnish, plus eye-catching. It also speaks about Kalervo, as he has been a steadfast blood donor all his life and is committed to the cause.

And after sitting number 4...

Kalervo Portrait ongoing work

Kalervo's looking a little more solid now, less ethereal. It was another lovely morning session, and it went smoothly despite a little ball-of-energy baby tearing around the studio every chance he got (darnit, that kid was supposed to nap for 2 hours, not 50 min!). My mother was over to watch, er, I mean corral the baby while I painted. She's an indefatigable conversationalist when she's allowed to get going. After the introductions were over I was pleasantly surprised to find myself in the spectator role for this conversation sporting event, and I was able to concentrate on the painting. I say surprised, but I think I should give kudos to my subconscious for fixing this up.

We've agreed on another sitting on Sunday, and I will arrange for my mother to come over under the pretense of babysitting, but I will sit her in the studio to chat with Kalervo.