FACE TO FACE

Published January 23, 2017 by rochellewisoff
Theodore Roosevelt portrait

Theodore Roosevelt © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Several times over the past few years, as I’ve painted “portraits” of my characters, someone has asked who I used for models. As a rule the answer is, “no one in particular.” In fact, I’ve often thought if I ever need a regular job, I could apply for one as a police sketch artist since I’ve become adept at composites: the eyes from one model coupled with a nose and mouth from another. “Oh, and that’s the perfect hairstyle.” I admit to using a few celebrity photos, although I try not to make them look like portraits. On the other hand, if it’s meant to be a portrait I’m a little more particular. 

        Google images and Pinterest are wonderful places to find vintage photos for the dress and hairstyles of the day. All great fun for the girl who used to get in trouble for daydreaming in class while drawing pictures. Of course those daydreaming episodes were practice for my future storytelling career. 😉 

        From my first chapters of PLEASE SAY KADDISH FOR ME I’ve had a mental image of Havah Cohen. 

havah-at-16

Havah at 16 © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Havah in her 20's © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Havah in her 20’s © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

Last week I had lunch with some friends. One of them brought an American history book he thought would come in handy for my research. It’s a lovely hardbound coffee table book with lots of pictures. 

He opened it to a bookmarked page and pointed to a photo of a young Russian Jewish immigrant and said, “I thought you might know this lady.” 

I suddenly felt like Karen Eiffel, (Emma Thompson) the author in the movie “Stranger than Fiction” coming face to face with Harold Crick (Will Ferrell). There she was, the girl whose voice I heard in my dreams. Do you agree? 

i-know-this-lady

 

21 comments on “FACE TO FACE

  • She’s gorgeous – those large, soulful eyes. Your girl in photo form. Really interesting to hear how you create your images. I love old photographs – I have a coffee table book of ‘Lost London’, wonderful shops and streets and dockyards that no longer exist. And of course, often curious bystanders watching the phoograph being taken. They help imagine a place and setting long gone.
    Wonderful, Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Lynn,

      it’s definitely her eyes. And yes, there are models everywhere. A couple of character studies I’ve done I’ve actually done portraits of someone in a vintage photo because they’re so close to what I imagine my characters to be. But seeing this photo was the pinnacle.
      I have a couple of coffee table books about Kansas City. So much fun to look at and imagine days gone by. Or even to see what it looked like when I was a child. A lot has changed here even since then.
      Thank you for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated as always.

      Shalom,

      Rochelle

      Liked by 1 person

  • I’ve had that moment looking through old photos, too. It’s weird! Sends shivers down your spine. I haunt the local Antique mall, scrounging through old books, postcards, materials, photos, etc. for inspirations. Sometimes a photo is so powerful that I actually purchase it, bring it home, and tuck it into my cedar box. Yep, I do understand. Sister-spirits, we are, sometimes, eh?

    Like

  • Do you know that a composite was how most of the Greek and Roman statues were created? No, the men and women of the day were not all perfect, but one might have a perfect feature, and someone else another…then voila!.. you have the statue of David.

    Liked by 1 person

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