“Portrait of Louanne Watley”
watercolor, pastel pencil, architectural pencils
I can’t recall how I first met Louanne (a Kentucky-born, fine photographer who’s lived in Chapel Hill for years and years). I THINK I may have simply telephoned her after seeing some of her marvelous, evocative photographs at one exhibiton or another (she’s had plenty of solo shows)…..and she came to a party at my old Durham house. We’ve been friends, for years, since then.
Herve’s a great fan of Louanne’s work and has wisely bought four or five of the large, Black&White pieces (all of which hang prominently in the house… I find them a great relief from my own work, which is all too busy and cluttered, I often think).
Louanne knows how to pare things down…..among her best work (I used Herve’s credit card, once when he was away on a trip, to buy one of these pieces for his birthday….wasn’t that nice of me?) are her photographs of the feet and hands of elderly nuns at some abbey/nunnery in Kentucky (Louanne is never particularly forthcoming about her sources or subjects, which I think is probably a wise move on her part). I’ve also gathered that this is a quite deliberate tactic….the woman simply doesn’t make chatter about herself or her subjects……which is a rare thing among artists. I should emphasize that, at the same time, she’s completely delightful at a dinner or a party…just don’t try to get some smarmy, self-congratulatory “Artist’s Statement” out of her quiet self, despite her having won multiple awards for her work.
To see some of Louanne’s inescably evocative work, to to: http://www.unc.edu/~lkgarbo/
As for Louanne herself? She’ll roll her eyes at my saying this, but don’t you agree that (like Vanessa Redgrave, Susan Sarandon, and Charlotte Rampling) she’s got the long-limbed, attenuated elegance of a greyhound?
This is a picture of her on my front porch back in Durham….and, yes, she DOES have beautiful arms and hands…..and quite the enigmatic smile.
And just for the record?….this is THIRD time I’ve tried to do this portrait in the past two weeks….the lady is not easy to draw (i.e., she doesn’t wear a ton of make-up, and she doesn’t affect a silly grin)