Fun Fact Friday graphic - Etruscans were one of the first civilizations to use True Portraiture (capturing the image and character of a specific person instead of generic figures).
About Artist,  Fun Fact Friday

Fun Fact Friday: The Etruscans and Portraits

I’m still talking about the Etruscans (they are my favorite ancient civilization after all).  And this might just be the thing I find most interesting about them!

The Etruscans broke away from the generic style of drawing portraits used by the Egyptians and Greeks and began portraying individualized detail of their subjects.  Here’s an article that shows some examples of Etruscan tomb paintings. 

Since a good share of my current supporters haven’t been on my lifelong art journey through the last few decades, this seems like a great time to mention that I’ve been known to draw a portrait or two over the years.  

In all seriousness, a lot of my very early work was portraits.  When I was a kid I was dragged to all kinds of sporting events.  After getting completely bored, I would start to draw the things I saw around me.  Usually this meant drawing the people I saw in the stands or the players.  Later in high school I would draw pencil sketches from photos of friends (or their daughter in this instance.  Apologies for the low quality pictures, cameras were not what they are today back in 2001.)  

Jess by Laura Jaen Smith. Pencil portrait of girl.
Jess, #2 pencil, 2001
Little Laura by Laura Jaen Smith. Self-portrait pencil drawing 4 years old.
Little Laura (me at 4ish), #2 pencil, 2001

Much later as an adult, I was lucky in that my employer offered free college courses on any subject to the employees.  After taking all the available classes related to my job that I hadn’t already taken, I started taking a couple art courses.  One of them was a portrait class where I learned how to draw from live models using pastels.

George by Laura Jaen Smith. Charcoal pastel drawing of man in shadow cigarette and beer in hand.
George, 19x25 white conte on black pastel paper, 2013

We had a lot of fun coming up with a different character and mood for each drawing.  These two are two of my favorites to come out of that class, and also are both of the same model.  Both are part of my personal collection awaiting wall space to be properly displayed (they’re both quite large).

Mad Scientist by Laura Jaen Smith. Red and green pastel drawing of scientist with skull in hand beakers with liquid.
Mad Scientist, 19x25 pastel on black pastel paper, 2013
Portrait of Woman by Laura Jaen Smith. Colored pencil drawing in purple and yellow.
Young Woman, 11x14 colored pencil, 2013

Another drawing I did just for fun using only one yellow and one purple colored pencil based on a woman I saw in a magazine.  I had a lot of fun with the shadows and highlights and enjoyed the challenge of using only two pencils.

I hope you enjoyed dipping into some of my past portraits as well as learning something interesting about my favorite ancient civilization!

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