Tuesday, December 07, 2010



I started this portrait of my friend Shelby's eldest, Dejda, from a photo taken when she was a little girl. The features are all off, but in the photo I like the backlighting and Dejda's expression, which I have not come near to capturing here and can't even really think of words for, so I think I'll try again, being more careful with the initial drawing.

Here's a poem I found in my inbox:

Billy Collins

All we need is fourteen lines, well, thirteen now.
and after this one just a dozen
to launch a little ship on love's storm-tossed seas,
then only ten more left like rows of beans,
How easily it goes unless you get Elizabethan
and insist the iambic bongos must be played
and rhymes positioned at the end of lines,
one for every station of the cross.
But hang on here while we make the turn
into the final six where all will be resolved,
where longing and heartache will find an end,
where Laura will tell Petrarch to put down his pen,
take off those crazy medieval tights,
blow out the lights, and come at last to bed.
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Charlene Brown said...

It's a wonderful little painting even if, as you say, it didn't quite capture the personality or expression of the subject.
That sonnet is very like letters from grandchildren in which most of what they talk about is the writing of the letter.

RH Carpenter said...

Well, you've said the features are all wrong but just looking at this as a portrait, I think it's successful - it has a haunting quality that is very touching.

RH Carpenter said...

Forgot to say - loved the poem!

Sandra Busby said...

I love the hair and those delicate skin tones. I also love the way the light catches on the chin. I have never yet tried a portrait in watercolours, only charcoal and acrylic which are far more forgiving!
I tend to avoid portraits anyway because they are so hard to get right - but my tutor once told me that the most common mistake is making the eyes to big and the shoulders too narrow. In reality, eyes are usually (apparently) not much bigger than the tip of the nose. Hmmm, I'm not sure I believe that myself. But, with that little piece of information stuck in my mind, perhaps the problem you see here is just that simple so I thought I would share it :0)

Unknown said...

This is lovely. I admire the way the outer edges blend away into the background. It's very artistically done. I like the name Dejda. How do you pronounce it?

_Frankb10 said...

Even if you say that the likeness is not good Laura, the watercolour work is superb, really lovely.

marnold said...

Love the painting, love the lighting. Love the subject and her name. Love the poem.

Reyes R Vicent said...


I've been doing a visual tour of your blog and I loved the fight to keep the portrait in your watercolors. They are full of brightness, color and inspiration and this is not easy with watercolor.
My congratulations and greetings.


A Brush with Color said...

It's a beautiful painting, Laura! I love the delicate quality of the light and the treatment of the blouse? dress? she's wearing--this is a keeper!

I'm a big Billy Collins fan, too, and this is fabulous. Keep it up!

Gillian Mowbray said...

Rhonda - this is wonderful. It really speaks to me - it needs no more added to it. Love it!

Gillian Mowbray said...

Sorry - I called you Rhonda and I know it's Laura - I'm having one of those days. xx