Jolie Guillebeau


Archive for March, 2011

Fifty-seventh face.

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Today I used the last of my tube of Viridian Green paint. You might not think this is a big deal, but that tube of paint has a story.

In 2001, I started taking art lessons. As I worked my way into painting, several people kept telling me that I should take classes from Jack Dempsey, who was a legend in the local art community.

The problem was that he was retired and only teaching a few times each year, and his classes filled very quickly. But one evening, I got lucky. I was at a jam session watching a few jazz musicians , when I saw Jack sitting across the room at a table by himself.

I worked up the courage to speak to him, and walked over. He was polite, but told me he’d need to see my drawings before he’d let me take one of his classes. I’d just come from art class, so I convinced him to wait while I ran out to the car and grabbed my best work.

He unrolled my drawing of Wynton Marsalis, and grinned. Then he reached across the table, extended his hand and said, “I think you and I are going to get along just fine. I’ll send you the supply list tomorrow. Buy exactly what I have listed– no more and no less.”

The supply list included a tube of Grumbacher Viridian Green. I’ve used the same tube for the past ten years and thought of Jack everytime I squeezed it on to my palette.

So today, as I finish this tube, I thought it was only right to paint Jack’s face as I remember him. And of course, the background is green.

I’m teaching a few classes in the Portland area this spring and I’d love to see you there. Or if they don’t fit your schedule, I’m always teaching private lessons, too!

First, I’ll be teaching two classes at 100th Monkey Studios in April. One for Adults on Saturdays, and one for kids on Thursday afternoons. Go find more details here.

And then beginning April 20, I’ll be teaching at Portland Parks and Recreation on Wednesday evenings. Register here.

Fifty-sixth face.

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Yesterday, I was sitting at my easel, struggling a bit with the face I was working on. Something just wasn’t right. Photos are tricky, and often the thing that makes a photo good, is the very thing that makes it frustrating for a painter.

So I was feeling really frustrated, when Libby the cat jumped in my lap and looked up at me with an indignant stare. I was apparently not giving her enough attention. So I decided to switch gears and paint from life today.

I knew she wouldn’t stay in my lap long, so I moved pretty quickly with the brush, and I finished just as she decided she was ready to jump down.

Fifty-fifth face.

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Erin wrote me after reading my post about recognizing your worth, and said, “I’ve been wanting to send in a photo, but I was too afraid. And I couldn’t find a good one, because I hate my smile. But I like what you said today. It really resonated with me. So I’m sticking my neck out and sending a pic– even though it’s gross.”

Erin, your beauty comes through. Thanks for being brave. It was so wonderful to paint your face.

And I dare you to smile in your next photo.

Fifty-fourth face.

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Meet Trilly. Isn’t that a great name?

Trilly is a beautiful black cat with green eyes. She lives with the other Jolie. And my favorite part of this picture is that Trilly has parked herself right on top of the crafty supplies. It’s as if she knows what matters.

Crafting matters.

Fifty-third face.

Friday, March 25th, 2011

This is Stephanie. She already owns one of my paintings, and her friend Misti sent her photo over with this message.

“This is my bestie Stephanie. We’ve been friends for more than 10 years. This past July she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. It has been a rough few months and we still have a ways to go. The day this picture was taken was a good day. We had just celebrated her birthday.

I always thought the window to her soul was her beautiful voice, but as it turns out, it really is her eyes. And this expression says it all. ‘I am strong. I am a fighter. I will beat this!’ That look of resolve warms my heart.”

I broke a few rules with this painting. I deliberately left it a bit unfinished. I felt like it was a way to say that Stephanie isn’t finished yet. That’s she’s going to keep going. I can see it.

Fifty-second face.

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

This is the second face to go with this story. Michael is a long time reader, and he sent over pictures of his daughters.

He took the photos as they were watching one of my video tutorials, which makes me really happy. Even better is the photo of them holding the paintings that they made after watching me paint. It totally made my day. I love painting, but I really love inspiring other people to paint even more.

I love this picture. E was so interested in the painting that she didn’t even look up as her dad took the photo. It’s humbling and marvelous and totally makes my day.

Though it made her face a bit harder to paint. It was worth the work, of course.

Fifty-first face.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

I love the story that came with today’s photo. Michael is a long time reader, and he sent over pictures of his daughters.

He took the photos as they were watching one of my video tutorials, which makes me really happy. Even better is the photo of them holding the paintings that they made after watching me paint. It totally made my day. I love painting, but I really love inspiring other people to paint even more.

So to bring it full circle, I thought I’d paint them as they looked while watching me paint. :)

Fiftieth Face.

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

More than two months ago, I started this project completely expecting to fail. Or at least produce one hundred terrible paintings, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep going if they were terrible.

Up to that point, the only face I’d willingly painted was my own, and it was awkward at best. Earlier, I’d been told by a teacher that I should stick to still life, and that my paintings of people were “icky.”

Honestly, I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to embark on this very public quest to paint 100 faces. But since one of my truths is that I’ve never regretted being brave, I felt like I had to try.

Yesterday, as I was setting up to paint, I saw that my friendJen Lee sent something marvelous out in to the world, and it reminded me of her words:

If I appear to be brave, it is because I have been well-loved.

I’m feeling well-loved today (because of you!). So I decided to be brave and attempt another self-portrait.

Forty-ninth face.

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Meet Atty, who lives with Jolie. No, a different Jolie. Jolie lives here in Portland and she’s a kindred spirit. We’ve bonded over our craftiness, our quest for a good happy hour, and of course, our names.

And our love of cats.

Forty-eighth face.

Friday, March 18th, 2011

Wow, the conversation yesterday was amazing. I got some really terrific insights from you guys about acknowledging our own worth. I’m going to process it a bit more, and come back to you with more thoughts, but today I want to end the week on a high note.

Avery is the perfect end to this week. Her Aunt Lorraine sent her photo to me, and I fell in love. Look at those eyes. How could you not fall in love with those eyes?

Isn’t she beautiful?
(Don’t forget– so are you.) Happy Weekend.