Faces at coffee shops
Today we're living in a Coffee Shop Generation. Each place reflects a microcosm of its neighborhood. Lately, I've been compelled to get a pencil back in my hand after spending the last 17 years with a brush in it. I grew up drawing and used to do portraits at a theme park in northwestern Illinois while in high school and college. The need to get a likeness proved to be a trial by fire, like the Beatles in Hamburg. My style fell somewhere between classical and caricature. Finding the art of tight photorealistic portraiture boring, I needed to push a person's particularities to get more of a feeling for the person.
But what do I know? I'm voyeuristically staring these "models" down from a nearby table or even across the room. I know nothing of their soul. The great painter John Singer Sargent who came to loathe doing portraits for hire, spoke on this. He seemed to be answering someone's comment that his results seemed to reveal the subject's true self, "I do not judge." he said, "I only chronicle."