A few weeks ago a friend asked me if I wanted to edit an Art Book for a painter. Of course I did! The artist – the Dutch painter Iris Frederix – had put together a book of her paintings over the past decade. She had written a description for every painting. I read and edited her book and we skyped several times. Iris’ paintings are beautiful, but there was something in the process of creating a painting that impressed me even more.
Iris loves painting portraits. In her book she describes the process of taking pictures, making sketches and meeting her ‘sitters’ before she starts painting. She prefers to meet the people she paints in person to get to know them and to be able to really connect with them. She describes this as impersonal love. Iris doesn’t fall in love with the people she paints, but she does develop a certain kind of love for them.
Impersonal love. I immediately fell in love with that combination of words. It’s being truly interested in the other and getting to know someone. For Iris it’s about being able to create an image of someone that doesn’t only reflect the person, but his emotions, his soul. Iris says it ‘just happens’ during the process and is important for the quality of her work.
It sounds beautiful right? I guess it’s about a goal that you greatly value and are deeply committed to. This is how sharing your life with others should be. You set aside your daily stuff, you focus and listen and the world around you will stop turning for a while. Or well, that’s how I imagine it would be. How often are you working, but thinking of random things at the same time; you might be hungry, shouldn’t forget to run some errands and did you forget to lock the door?
I guess it’s about focus, about fulfilling an assignment or job or an arts and craft project with your children in the best possible way. It’s about setting aside yourself and truly focus on the other aiming for the best result. The goal can be attention, simply having a great time, or painting the best painting ever. We should all try falling impersonal love for a while and forget about the world around us! I certainly will.
This is Monte Carlo, not a portrait indeed, but beautiful!