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Inspiring other Artist

Chuck Close Style Portrait of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, Sultan of Oman

By: Amanda Lovett

World renowned for his innovative conceptual portraiture, Chuck Close, has always inspired me as an artist.

He inspires me because no matter what challenges life brings to him, whether it be a learning disabilities, face blindness or being quadriplegic, he feels that everyone needs to feel special. I wanted to also teach others, as I was taught through his words, that when the absolute worst thing happens to you that you will get past it and you will be happy again. Also, when you’re overwhelmed by the size of a problem to break it down into many bite sized pieces.

He has found a way to pursue his passion and dreams and his accuracy when painting portraits is outstanding. This is the reason why I wanted to bring to light his drive for art, to the students at the The American International School of Muscat (TAISM) Middle School. I chose to teach the kids how to paint a portrait of the Sultan Qaboos of Oman, because of his love for the people of Oman and his great leadership and compassion for the country which led the country to flourish. I co taught this course along side of teacher and art enthusiast, Melody Soderberg, to present a mini course that was comprised of more than five students who were intrigued and inspired by art.

For the mini course, we started with the history of Chuck Close, from a CBS clip. Next, I taught the students how to break up the big problem of, "how do we paint the portrait of the Sultan?" into many bite size pieces. For that, I showed them how to grid of a canvas and portrait into sections generally using the one inch equals one foot rule or scaling it down as needed. After breaking apart the be puzzle we then discussed how to look for abstract shapes in an image that has been digitally enlarged. Sometimes it's all about imagination and other times you need to keep focused on the larger image or bigger problem to make sure that you are staying on task.

These students were up for the challenge. They started with feelings of uncertainty, but ended with a feeling of accomplishment. It truly inspired me to watch them take on the such a large project and excel thru completion. This painting is now on display at TAISM in the Middle School Library Commons area.

I am forever grateful having had the chance to help inspire other young artists and students.