This piece is a bit larger than I’ve been working on lately. It is 18 x 24 inches. You see here the underdrawing directly on the panel, and then the underpainting. I really enjoyed doing this painting except for one thing. It seems when I have been an actor playing a part for a long time, I begin to become that person. If you spend hours a day in rehearsal and then hours at night on the stage, you are spending more time as someone else than you do you playing yourself. The two become conflated, and both take on characteristics of the other.

I’ve noticed, and it has been pointed out to me as well, that while I am painting I smile. I’m happy at doing the painting, so when the sitter looks at me, they sympathetically smile too. I tend to mimic in my face the emotion that I see in the sitter. Animators working for Disney or Pixar use this to great advantage all the time. They videotape themselves doing the action or facial gestures they are trying to animate, or they view themselves in a mirror. As I drew this lion, I could feel my face scrunch up and my teeth baring themselves.

So really, everyone around us is a mirror. If I show peace and love, compassion and contentment, these will be reflected back to me. In like stead, if I project disgust, apathy, hatred and fear, these too will come back to me. This is not to say that we are “giving to get”, but rather from a willingness to be compassion, love, contentment, and peace. We are to be lambs amongst…lambs who think they are lions.