Pearl’s grandson commissioned this portrait of her. It was fitting that Pearl should be one of my first commissioned subjects since, at the time of our interview and photo-session, she was living at the Robison Jewish Health Center, a retirement home where I volunteered in high school.
It was there that I learned to draw people. Every Wednesday afternoon of my teenage years, I would roll out a cart of watercolor supplies and round up the usual suspects. While the residents painted coloring book images of flowers, I drew the residents. I learned the structure of the human face by following their wrinkles, and I learned a lot about the world by listening to their stories. It was also at the Robison Jewish Health Center that I met David Kohnstamm who became a subject for my 2005 series Private Masks, and then commissioned me to do his wife’s portrait.