Raising sons is not done by formula. Any one who has had more than one can tell you that they're not all the same. Growing up in a family of four sons, then having four of my own gives me more than enough experience to affirm this truth. But as a parent, you want them to launch out with a solid foundation but with enough individualism to set their own course, find a purpose for their life, and become that kind of person that this world needs.
Despite the rather gloomy outlook for the future presented these days in the media, I believe there is always a life of adventure and fulfillment possible for a young person who knows where they came from and where they are going. Jordan was my model for this painting and was ready to launch out on his own, with a strong foundation behind and a limitless horizon before him. This tree is a beautiful fixture over looking the Blue Ridge Mountains which formed a fitting backdrop with a setting sun providing the lighting.
...the initial poses, often at the direction of the artist, are stiff or uncomfortable and it takes a while for the model to relax.
I used a 24 x 36 inch piece of gessoed masonite panel and picked a pose which expresses confidence, vision, strength, and youthful vigor. The simple composition does not allow the viewer to get caught up in the details, but focus on the subject and look at him while not having to feel uncomfortable with his gaze, since it is pointed off canvas. As Jordan relaxed and determined his posture, I snapped reference images that later gave me great choices for a final. This seems to be an important part of posing a model because the initial poses, often at the direction of the artist, are stiff or uncomfortable and it takes a while for the model to relax. Once they have relaxed though, the artist should be alert for that opportunity to capture the gesture or body position that speaks to the model's character and personality.
I think this painting is successful because it communicates. I also think the viewer can watch the subject, the model, and understand what he might be feeling and empathize with him. Isn't that what we, as artists aim for? We want our viewers to be drawn into the painting in a personal way.