The key to a good portrait is the artist’s ability to visually communicate something of their subject’s essence through the face. This surfacing of the life and spirit of a person through the texture of skin, the light in the eye, an expression or the deepening lines, is all the more apparent and poignant as we age. Artist Beatrice Multhaupt’s wonderful portraits capture this core ‘something’ beautifully. Through her skill she is able to gift us with images of depth and faces that fascinate and ‘speak’. Here she writes a little of her approach:
‘I trained as a portraitist originally and began noticing the effects of traditional spiritual practices on people’s facial features. This got me to stop thinking in terms of beautiful/ugly and propelled my life on an altogether different path. Salvation through the insights gained while drawing portraits, if you will.’
Beatrice went on to study Reiki and many of her faces come to her during healing sessions:
‘I realized that most of the Native artefacts I so admired in museums were illustrations of the very experiences I was having practicing Reiki. Most art historians and anthropologists simply assume that each culture’s spiritual traditions are passed on (or sometime not, at which point they are labeled extinct) and that each culture has a different set of teachings. And yet , here I was, relating to any number of glass-encased artefacts on a visceral, downright physical level.
‘That’s when I returned to figurative painting, attempting, however inadequately, to give form to my own perceptions. These are not visionary paintings because there’s no way on earth that I can depict colors of other- dimensional reality, but the faces that pop up during healing sessions, although I can’t draw them from memory, resemble people I’ve seen on photographs, which I can then alter to reconstruct the original vision.’