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Focusing not on the face said Stuart

I’ve done quite a few drawings of local writer Stuart Haywood over the nine years since I first met him in 2008. And I love the fact that he was incredibly nervous when he first walked through my door with the intention of being drawn naked for the first time in his life, but I gave him the confidence to find it a positive experience to sit for me, and he has since found even more confidence to have other artwork done by me, in a similar vein, and have naturist holidays, partake in naked bike rides, and even go on Radio Derby to extol the joy of being naked.

I think all this is even more astonishing in that he came to this new way of life, late in life.

A couple of weeks ago he contacted me to say that he had a new idea for a drawing he wanted me to do of him. He felt that if a person is hiding their face it makes the picture less interesting, and although he wanted the face in the drawing to be recognizably him, he wanted his genitals to be the star of the show in the picture. Which gave me an intriguing challenge to do, since normally when you look at a picture, the face is the focal point.

We discussed ideas for poses, and came up with one that be both felt would be ideal for the drawing he had in mind.

I went along to his house last week to take the photos, had a cup of tea and chat with him and his wife, and Stuart and I picked the best photo that we both felt would be the best for me to work from. He told me afterwards that he had never considered having such a pose for our ten year association but he didn’t want to wait (thinking of ill health and not knowing what the future held now he’s getting older).  He said that when he first came to me in 2008 he would not have dared to that pose whereas now he is more comfortable with it, as its and increase in confidence and he was looking forward to seeing the final result.

I completed the drawing for him as quickly as I could whilst I had the momentum of fresh ideas of the creating of it, and was delighted to be able to deliver it to him yesterday. He quickly looked at it, then put it away, which surprised me, I had thought he would spend more time viewing it, but I know he likes to view the artwork I do for him, over a period of time, and each viewing seems to increase how pleased he is with it.

The first email came a few hours later:

“I have inspected the drawing again closely and I think it is magnificent. Just the right angle and closeness. I requested an explicit portrait and I certainly got one. Delighted as I am, I have no doubt I will love it even more in two or three days when I am more used to it. This will certainly be my favourite Adshead work. IT IS WONDERFUL” 

Then later on another email from him said:

“I love the previous two you did. However this latest has totally exceeded my expectations. It is just as I wished it to be and it is wonderfully executed. A million thanks you clever thing.”  

When I thanked him for his kind comments and positive feedback, I got another email saying:

I hope I am not boring you by droning on about the latest drawing. I think it is a masterpiece! Every element I desired is there. I was concerned that if your viewpoint was too close to the focal point it may overpower the rest of the picture. I think that it is pitched perfectly. Close enough for detail but room for the background. Great stuff.”

When I thanked him again for the great feedback regarding the new drawing, and said that I am absolutely delighted it has exceeded his expectations. I added that I always hope for that response of course, and aim to do the very best I can for him every time I do any artwork for him so getting such positive feedback like this has made my day! His response was:

“I did not send the email to make your day. It was because you richly deserve it.”

So, here is the drawing, and I purposely drew it that his face is slightly out of focus, and the settee he is lying on is only hinted at, because the star of the show and focal point is the genital area. The diagonal lines of his legs leads into it, as do the strength of tone and detail in that area. Although his face is the next part you look at in the picture, it adds to the drawing but doesn’t detract from this most masculine of poses. It was a challenge to change the obvious focal point, but I think I’ve captured the image very well, and am very pleased with it. Stuart is delighted, so when the client is happy, so am I!