From time to time, I encounter a writer and/or artist whose site goes beyond simply impressing me.
I Stare at People is one such amazing blog.
"Guerrilla artist" and blogger Lavanna Martin describes her work like this:
I am an artist that has left the studio. I paint people from life. Most of the time,my subjects do not know that they are being painted. I travel light, and usually by bike.Not only does she produce covert live oil sketches of subjects at coffee shops, she also offers the reader some of the results of her keen observation skills with a short write-up that accompanies each work of art:
I stare at people. I trace them with my finger in under the table.
It took a long time for me to actually put the years of engraphing to the test. There was always an excuse: “I don’t have a good, portable easel; I don’t want to get caught; I can’t relax enough if people are watching…”.
Slowly, I whittled away at the excuses. I got the good easel, and I went to Epoch Coffeehouse, which is close to my house.
It was easy; I was in my element.
All those years of wondering what to do with myself melted away. I had found my addiction, if not my calling. On that first day, I did about 9 paintings and was no longer fearful of painting in public.
He was reading the paper, and chatting with two girls at Epoch Coffee. He had his folded hands resting on his forehead for just a few moments – long enough for me to get the gesture.Ms. Martin’s approach made me think-—what would my sketch look like if I wandered into a coffee shop while she was creating?
He seemed to be filled with the youthful optimism that everything will work itself out for the best. But for a moment, with his head in his hands, he exhibited what my niece terms, “The Dark Years of the 20’s”.
I loved his scrawny figure, the nice authentic Panama, and the way that he interacted with his friends…
I hope that she would describe me as “attentive and patient, as he actively listened to an acquaintance’s story.”
In contrast, with my current life as kiddo-juggling dad, Lavanna's image would likely reflect a disheveled and red-eyed father, fending off his three-year-old twins while trying to place an order.
What qualities do you think Lavanna would capture if she sketched you?
Note: Ms. Martin graciously allowed me to use the image above for this post.