A portrait of Desmond Tutu, painted for an interfaith event in India in 2018. I tired to capture not just his faith, but his humanity, his statue as a great leader and Rights campaigner. It is also evident from anyone that has met him that he has an element of compassionate mischief to him, a love of laughter and joy. By using the angle of his glasses, raised up in happiness and a smile emerging I hope I captured this. The smile was a lot of re-working and sketching, early ideas were a smirked smile to a wide open happy smile. But the impression of a smile emerging, growing ready to share joy was the end result I settled on and hopefully captured.
There is no such thing as a ‘simple smile’, each expression of happiness is unique and infectious, each smile is one that is best shared and totally unique to that point in time. This is one of my learnings from this portrait and my brief time meeting this amazing amazing person.
Watercolour on paper, 2018.