For several years I’ve explored the human portrait. Depicting different qualities in each subject, my intent has been to show each person’s uniqueness. At the same time I am attempting an observation beyond physical likeness or identity. Rather than a literal depiction of a person, my intention is to focus on a particular psychological state, a mood, or an emotional presence that has the power to captivate. I have found in the mezzotint medium, an almost-perfect medium to document these distinct subtleties in expression. I intentionally push this medium towards the either the lightest or darkest halftone ranges to further emphasize the vagaries of a person’s mood, which are often somewhat universal when carefully revealed.
In this portrait, I’m depicting the face of a woman I encountered in Myanmar. Her facial make-up is common among women (and also young men). Grinding the root of the Thanaka tree with water makes the yellowish golden paste used for the facial markings (which protects against the sun). The paste is applied to the face with a flat brush.
The Necklace Seller, 2018
11.75 x 10.5 in.