THE PEOPLE I LIVE WITH

TIBETAN BOY, INK ON SILK, BY TRACEY PAYNE

'Master Chief' by Jack Mason

From the series 'All Women' by Deborah da Silva

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A close friend tells me portraiture creeps her out. Having the faces of strangers looming down upon her from her walls feels spooky.

Looking at what happens in my place, it occurred to me this week that, wherever I look in my house, there are people looking at me.

This peopling of my place happened by default, not by design – and I love them all in different ways. I count myself really lucky, since most of these have slid into my life via friends and family, quite often as gifts.

The youngest artist is my 13-year-old son Jesse, who did the scrawly ink pen messy hair boy. I wish I could draw like this, fast, wild and unconcerned about outcome. Jesse’s portrait took five minutes from start to finish, while waiting for dinner in a restaurant.

The massive tech man spray stencil is by my son Jack. This 3-metre high piece is a depiction of an iconic gaming character, the strong, silent, Sean Connery-like ‘Master Chief’. Jack’s John Lennon portrait has a penetrating presence, in the way it captures the dreamy-eyed but solid essence of Lennon.

Lennon has a similar effect on me as Tracy Payne’s Tibetan boy, who looks wise and grounded beyond his years. This portrait, done on silk and bought at Tracy’s Christmas sale in 2010, has found its way onto my mantlepiece. I love it there.

I feel drawn to the dark, vulnerable eglomise girl in the silver frame, a surprise pressie from my friend Janet Fryer. Janet is a fine artist who does art on mirror and masterful realism in oils, while running Berg Studios, where she produces artisan paint techniques for unique interiors, eglomise (etching on mirror) and gesso.

The Matisse woman with the aquiline nose has a similar aura, although less vulnerable.  Arabella Caccia did the sleeping bust in glossy dark chocolate glaze, with such peace and restfulness of expression, and my friend Pippa Hetherington took the  stylish photograph of the Kenyan woman with the sky-high hair do. My other great photographer friend, Deborah da Silva, did the layered shot of the blue girl in the city, as part of her exhibition series “All Women”.

Such lovely people, such great friends.

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