"What strange illusion it is to suppose that beauty is good." ~Leo Tolstoy.

mixed media portrait - A strange kind of beautiful

"A strange kind of beautiful", mixed media in Strathmore Toned Tan sketchbook.

Titles might sometimes express the idea of the portrait. But suitable titles are not easy to find, especially when there is no background as in many of my portraits, and the story behind the painting is only in my head.

Each painting is a different experience.

I like to see the painting evolve especially when it is in itw ugly stage as the previous post shows. Really, a painting is just so many layers of change and I get to know the person emerging on paper or on canvas.  Each painting is a discovery of some kind.

Often, I try to imagine the subject’s thoughts as the portrait develops.

Could it be she is going to post a selfie? Does she need to pose in a special way to get positive feedback? Is she about to do something her parents would disapprove of? She looks innocent enough…but maybe that is the whole point?

How can I relate all that in a few words?

I think she might be a good girl, or maybe not. She may just be deceiving me with her lovely eyes. Behind the loveliness are strange, perhaps evil thoughts. Maybe she he is not at all what she appears to be.

Tolstoy is not alone in thinking that we deceive ourselves in assuming that what is beautiful is necessarily good.  Many other writers have expressed similar feelings.

“You are terrifying and strange and beautiful, something not everyone knows how to love.” – Warsan Shire.

“Strangeness is a necessary ingredient in beauty.” – Charles Beaudelaire.

“It is the addition of strangeness to beauty that constitutes the romantic character in art.” – Walter Hagen.

I leave the final word to Virginia Woolf.

“For the eye has this strange property: it rests only on beauty. “

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