Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Fun of Portrait-Painting (Part 3)

This painting “In Thee” took me nine hours to finish. The model, Wayne, came to my house for three Saturdays, each time posing for three hours. My concept was to have him portrayed in a rich man image, so I attempted to make him presentable by wearing a long-sleeved shirt, an expensive-looking watch, the tie that I wore at my wedding, and holding a bottle of wine. Wayne was then asked to sit on the sofa, with a golden-frame painting as backdrop…
The whole process of preparing a ‘glamour’ setting required some imagination, as I came from a humble family background: my father used to be a taxi-driver, later became a Chinese typesetter (which is now considered an outdated profession when computer came about), whilst my mum was a secretary, with two elder and one younger brothers. We managed to get by with whatever we had then…
On the contrary, this painting actually portrays a seemingly successful man resting on the sofa after work, browsing through bills and letters, and ignoring the tract entitled “In Thee”. The wine in his hand hints of pleasure, or rather an outlet of drowning sorrows or problems. Everyone faces struggles and challenges in life, and many choose to deal with them in their own ways. The tract suggests of dealing in God’s way, where all answers concerning life are found “In Thee”, and where His yoke is easy, His burden is light...
When this work was made, Wayne (my brother-in-Christ) had just started working. Upon its completion, he commented that the tummy area which I had painted looked quite flat, though I thought otherwise… Nevertheless, this work is very important to me, because I think it has a lot of “God’s touches” which I simply cannot grow tired of looking. For example: the facial expression, the colours and brushstrokes, the treatment on the hand holding the letter, the overall composition – all amazed me, and I thought if not for God, I would not have done it so beautifully, thank God! It gives me great pleasure and enjoyment to look at this painting, which is now hanging in my living room…

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