John Fairley



Working from life is by far the most satisfactory method of portraiture. Photographs may be a detailed snapshot of the moment but fail to provide the personality of the sitter. More than this, they constrain the picture so that it is difficult to move away from the image as the camera saw it. Painting from life allows interaction with the sitter at the instant of applying paint to canvas and the portrait becomes alive. Never the less, there are many occasions when it is just not possible to paint from life so photographic references become invaluable as was the case with the Nepali girl, Niringen Domina Gale. Satako, on the other hand was painted from life.