Dreamer, graphite on paper, 9x12

Dreamer, graphite on paper, 9×12

In spite of a meandering back to the landscape the last few months, my fascination with portraits continues. In May, I signed up for an online portrait drawing class with Larry Seiler. Larry is a generous teacher and his thorough critiques make for a valuable learning experience.

I did various drawings from selfies and eyes, noses and mouths from random photographs for the early modules. (see below)

However, looking for a face for the final project, I ended up wandering through a gallery of photographs from over a century ago. I was intrigued by the face of a young Crow man named “Dreamer”.

He had this calm expression and an elegance that seemed to cover a mild discomfort. I was inescapably drawn to him. It took a couple of attempts moving through the differences from the standard facial measurements that formed the basis for the class. Even though his features appeared simple and clean, they proved to be a challenge with subtle imbalances and that barely masked feeling that I was determined to capture.

He was magnetic. I was in awe of him. I hope I did him justice here.

Random eyes, noses and mouths. Click to enlarge

Random eyes, noses and mouths. Click to enlarge

It’s funny how we want to create a story around images of the past. I know little about the Crow people except that they had little regard for Europeans, so I wonder what put this man in front of a camera? I can imagine if I were the photographer or his assistant looking at this beautiful, strange man, I would know that the feeling of his presence was much too large for any frame of glass.