What if I Encountered a Guerrilla Artist?

Surfing blogs has made me cognizant of the many talented people there are in this world.

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.

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.
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:

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.

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…
Ms. Martin’s approach made me think-—what would my sketch look like if I wandered into a coffee shop while she was creating?

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.


Rowe said...

I've just been over to check out Lavanna's blog. Inspiring, to say the least. I would love to do a painting of someone one day. I'm not an artist, but still would love to do this as a project, a personal challenge. Since my daughter was born, she is the one I would love to paint. Thanks for the recommendation of this talented artist, SlamD.

ooglebloops said...

Thanks for the link! I would hate to see how someone interpreted me in a quiet moment in public!! I love to people watch- wish I could paint like that!!

Iva said...

wow so very talented!! I love it too when I come across amazing work! Thank you for sharing! Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Erin said...

I'd be honored if someone found an image of me going about my life to be art worthy. Amazing.

Meadowlark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meadowlark said...

Incredible. Thanks for sharing.

Ann T. said...

Dear Slamdunk,
I think I would be painted with glasses stuck on the top of my head and me looking for them in my backpack.

One cool thing your post says is that it shows how art is about making decisions, fast, which color which order where, and
people-reading skills.

It is not for the faint of heart or unmotivated among us!

Go Lavanna! Thanks, Slamdunk!
Most inspiring.
Ann T.

Rachel said...

Awesome post and what a great reflection. I have always found others fascinating - why do they do what they do - what is their story - how incredible it would be to paint others as she does. Thanks for sharing.


Natalie said...

Great post! I wish I could say she'd depict "a loving mom thoroughly enjoying the time she has with her children" because that's who I feel that I am.

I also know that I usually have a concentrated look on my face with a slightly furrowed brow as I'm multi-tasking in my head while multi-tasking with my children.

Hopefully she'd capture the few moments I actually let my kids see what they mean to me!

I too love to people watch.

Selma said...

What an incredible talent. There really are some brilliant people out there. Now I'm going back to read more of your blog!

LadyFi said...

Thanks for the link... very creative and inspiring!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Perhaps encountered in a coffee shop, I'd be rather boring. Staring into my computer, my fingers moving to the rhythm of my thoughts - when they arrive. Long pauses while the thoughts come and go.

Interesting idea. I'll check out her blog.

MONICA-LnP said...

great link,I wish I could paint like that.
I probably would be captured laughing,showing what a big mouth I have!

BobKat said...

Yes... many talented people out there - finding their voice, myself included. I'm preparing myself for the second coming... what the WWW is going to bring to humanity. I'm both very scared, and very excited. The question is... can I do it myself? Can I survive and prosper?

Seeing a post such as this one Slam Dunk gives me a lot of hope. The image Ms. Martin provided is awesome... thank-you!

Pia said...

although i don't leave comments often, i do visit your blog every now and then. i just don't know what to say sometimes, like now.

God bless you and your family always.

Shirley Buxton said...

Hey, thanks for visiting my site and for the comment.

Thank you too for the link here; I'm definitely going over for a visit.

Be blessed always.

jodeeluna said...

This post touched me. I envy the self-discovery of this artist. Your insightful reflections along with the quote inspired me to keep moving forward. Thank you for your encouraging comment as well. It came at just the right time! My husband is a guerilla photographer. He persuades me to venture out and photograph interesting subjects. I love this kind of soul! JoDee

 ALH said...

Lavanna's blog is great! Thanks for highlighting it in your post. I feel she described what I do, always observing, trying not to be noticed. Except of course, my observations come out in words instead of paintings. If she were to ever capture me, I know it would be with pen hovering over a piece of paper, eyes distantly watching the crowd, brow furrowed as I think through what I want to say that day. Her work is beautiful, can't wait to follow her blog. Thanks again!

Sultana said...

Amazingly talented.

Sapna said...

This is an inspiring post. I absolutely agree- browsing blogs has made me realize how many talented people there are in this world and what we are capable of doing. Thank you so much for the recommendation. I really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

Well... that's very interessting but honestly i have a hard time figuring it... wonder how others think about this..