Blog / 2022 / The Value of a Good Description

December 3, 2022

[video transcript]

To be clear, the person I’m painting in this video isn’t the chef who inspires me, but Lia is pretty amazing in her own right, as her site proves. Lia’s portrait along with the rest of the series it’s a part of are on display in Lambertville, New Jersey for another week!

Winifred Weiss’ studio window
17 Church Street
(at the intersection with George)
Lambertville, NJ 08530

Open: through December 12th
Hours: whenever (you can look in from the street)

acrylic painting of Lia Nielsen, created by Lambertville painter Gwenn Seemel
Gwenn Seemel
acrylic on paper
7 x 5 inches

It’s been a few years now, but I remember it vividly. I went to a community meal given by a classically trained chef. As the food was being brought out, the chef described it in some detail. She wasn’t being salesy or over the top, just explaining how she prepared the food and noting the different spices and flavors that were used. She was educating everyone at her table, while also helping us appreciate the meal more deeply. It seemed to me that I tasted things differently because of her description, and it made me want to learn how to make a similar dish at home.

This chef is my role model for how I present my work. I don’t think I’ve ever managed to inspire enjoyment or a desire to create quite as effectively or as succinctly as she did, but her technique gives me a goal and helps me remember what I’m after in the online presentation of my work, in videos like this one, as well as when I find myself presenting my art in person.

The key, for me, is not to ever try to sell anyone on anything, but to help my audience see my art and my process a little better, like by pointing out the touch I’m most pleased with in this portrait: the eyes.

I almost always I give a painting a shine about the eyes, not just because eyeballs are actually wet and reflective, but because the dot of light reads like a spark of life. In this case, I gave the dots of a purpley tint to reflect the subject’s witchy kind of wonderfulness.

This video is made with love and microdonations from my community!

acrylic artwork of a white woman with red hair
detail of Lia

Maybe this post made you think of something you want to share with me? Or perhaps you have a question about my art? I’d love to hear from you!


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