1 of 100 Faces
Teresa Lori Sanders
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Lori and I met as babies in Ponca City Oklahoma. We lived 2 doors apart on North Elm Street in Ponca City, Oklahoma. Earlene, the hair dresser, lived in the pink house between us. She always had blue fingernails from putting bluing in old ladies’ hair. That was a thing back in the mid-1900s. Later we would learn that LuCinda Stumbaugh Daniel lived behind me across the alley, but I’ll discuss that more in LuCinda’s write-up. My family moved to New Orleans in 1970, and Lori stayed in Ponca through college. We reconnected by mail in the late 80s when my kiddos were very small, and finally got together in 2006 when I got hired to do an aggressive dog project with a dog in Kansas City, not far from where Lori still lives.
About the Project
I follow an artist named Jane French on Instagram. I’d seen her on the SkyArts Portrait Artist of the Year program from the UK, where she was a contestant. In 2022 she started a 100 Heads Portrait Challenge that she promoted on Instagram, and I was intrigued not only by her amazing work, but by the process. Very early in 2023 I decided to do my own portrait challenge, which I call my 100 Faces Portrait Challenge. As of this writing I have completed 56 portraits and the learning process is astonishing.
I started the project with a portrait of Lori Sanders. She was my very first friend as a baby, and we remain close today. Her portrait includes elements I know she has liked in other portraits I’ve done, specifically the abstract stenciled background, which was also included in my portrait, Hannah, the Ballerina, but to a lesser degree. My specific plan for the project was to paint each portrait the way I felt like painting it. Since these are not commissioned, they don’t have to meet a client’s requirements, they need to meet my own whims. My plan from early on was to follow my heart and my skills, and to find out what kept me interested, and what excites me about my work. I can honestly say that at 57 Faces into the project, faces keep me fascinated. What’s not to love about the human face and all its intricate differences, both subtle and dramatic?
I am doing my best to keep my reference photo models within 2 degrees of separation. Most of them are people I know either in person or online, primarily Facebook. Several were referred by people I know. A couple were referred by friends of friends, and got down to the 3rd degree of separation. A couple were people whose photos I took in public, for example, the Mardi Gras Queen and the Marching Band Drummer. They were in the 2018 Zulu Parade at Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Lori sent me a photo of herself to use in the project and I started with some flair. I used cold wax and colored mica powders to create the stenciled background abstractions, and I just painted her using the painting skills I had at the time. In the intervening 5 months I have learned a lot about portraiture through my intense immersion in the process. I suspect I will come back to some of the earlier paintings and touch up some aspects of the facial details. It’s a process.