Sunday, January 15, 2012

#50 Ritchie- One Hundred Alla Prima Portraits of American Teenagers


(What do you think teenagers are really concerned about today?)  "Self-image.  Today's media puts so much importance on what teenagers should be we all try to live up to a manufactured image". (Advice for other teens) "If you don't change yourself you have no right to complain".

Ritchie did a great job posing, but I struggled with this painting. More importantly, I learned a hard lesson about myself.  Unfortunately, I said something clumsy and insensitive and made him feel bad.  I took a picture of him near the end of the session, and I couldn't figure out the right setting for the camera and complained out loud that I couldn't get a good picture.  His demeanor changed visibly after that, and when I asked him if he was okay, he said he didn't want to pose any more, and he was upset.  It turns out he thought I meant that I couldn't get a good picture because of the way he looked. I realized how insensitive I had been, and  apologized to him and explained that it wasn't him (he is a very nice looking young man), but it took a few minutes of us talking for him to not feel upset.  I can't blame him, that could have made anyone feel bad!  Here is a thoughtful statement from an email one of the painters working along with me sent me the following day, "It's one of those moments when I am acutely aware that these young people are walking a tight-rope between childhood and adulthood, and that as poised and graceful as they may be one moment, they still may need a steadying voice ... to help them regain their balance the next, lest they tumble..." 


  1. I really love the color shifts in the shadows! Often times we don't realize the power of words. I find it courageous of you to share this story and am glad that it was talked out and resolved.

  2. Thanks, Amy. I didn't used to be able to reveal myself so much, but its actually a great relief not to have to hide mistakes.