Faces Lined with Love
By Amber Yun, Layout Editor
They say that all it takes to fall in love is to look into someone’s eyes for four minutes straight.
I’m not much of a romantic, but I’ve tried Dr. Aran’s fast track to love on a few different occasions. Whether it was to satiate my cynical curiosity or actually in the naive hopes of a love miracle, I won’t tell. It was certainly thrilling, but I must warn you, it was short of any fireworks explosion that accompanies any good description of “love”.
Nevertheless, I found something deeply intimate about the experience. Looking at someone’s face to discover that their eyes meet yours, so direct, no words, all breath, and holding yourself to meet that gaze. It makes you think that we don’t go around looking at people like that enough. We all deserve that kind of sunlight every once in a while.
Portraits are like that in a sense. You have to look at a face for at least 20 minutes of intense curiosity and learn all of its curves and shadows. If you don’t learn to love something about your subject’s face, well, it becomes a bad picture and becomes a terrible 20 minutes.
If you were a rabbit, and my portraits were of horses, abstraction would be welcomed, but to a human who can differentiate a Matt Damon from a Mark Wahlberg, a human portrait involves so much more sensitivity to the body. It’s an art that I am still learning to perfect, but it’s the imperfections that keep me drawing them, because when I draw people, I see things only someone who has lived with their body for 15 years sees. All the small freckles and the birthmarks and the uneven teeth and subtleties that drive a person mad looking in the bathroom mirror but allows you to feel like you’ve known them all your life.
And this is what drawing portraits have taught me through necessity: to find a little bit of delight or beauty in every face. Perhaps four minutes of silent staring isn’t just love voodoo. Perhaps love is always possible, it just requires the patience, understanding, and seeing that is the basis for any good drawing and any good love story.